Helen Rudy’s fused glass panels are made of multiple layers of opaque and transparent colored glass that are hand cut from sheets, the glass is composed and assembled then melted or fused in a special glass kiln. By sandwiching and building up layers of colors the glass through melting creates depth and intensity of color.
The glass pieces are either placed on top of each other, or hand cut thin strips are laid on their edge like dominoes and placed in such a way to create a clean, crisp and colorful dimensional design. In some instances the glass is fired a second time to create a shape of form. This is known as slumping or draping. When glass is heated and soaked at a certain temperature it becomes soft like taffy and with gravity and a prayer the glass will start to move downwards into or over the shape it is on. With careful placement of glass it is possible to deliberately distort the glass or maintain the crisp lines of the glass design. Many glasses contain sulfur or copper, when places next to each other they react and can create defined lines and interesting elements into the glass design.
“I’m very interested in composition of color placement, the collaborative and opposition effect colors have on each other. I particularly enjoy experimenting with opaque and transparent glass and how the glass can be manipulated to distort or define the design. Each design is created with the thought of how light will impact or affect the final finished piece. It is amazing how colors will look as if they are about to jump off a piece simply because of how it is placed within a composition”
Another characteristic element in Helen’s work is the use of thin strips of glass that are layered in such a way as to create a three dimensional design. The thickness of the glass and the strips of color create a pattern that moves and changes as light hits the glass. Or, as a viewer, as you move pass a piece of work the picture changes displaying different qualities in translucency and color saturation, very fascinating! By combining strips and sandwiching glass it is possible to create a design within a design. When this happens Helen feels “it is like a hidden drawer that is suddenly found”
Helen luckily has many kilns. One small kiln is perfect for creating test samples and color ideas. Often, however a nice mistake happens. This can result in a new composition being created and introduced as elements in a design.
Helen’s studio is based at her home in Denver, Colorado. She works on all the pieces from spending hours cutting the glass to donning an apron and getting wet while polishing the edge of a table top. One element of my work I leave to a third party and that is the photography. I can thank Paul McGowan, owner of PS Audio, (www.psaudio.com) a long time friend who has all the skills needed to professionally photograph my work. Without Paul I would not have a website and photos.
The Helen Rudy Gallery: