Verne Orlosk, Fused Glass Artist
Verne works from her studio/gallery space located across from the historic Palace Theatre in Manchester, NH and speaks frequently to passers by about the fine art of fused glass.
A BFA in Graphic Design from Boston University started a career in the advertising and print media industries for ten years. She pursued mural painting and developed school enrichment programs in art, while raising two daughters with her husband. A move to Ohio led her to two years of volunteering at the Toledo Museum of Art. Seventeen years as an instructor at the Currier Museum Art Center in Manchester, NH allowed her to teach the fine arts in several mediums and maintain her love of drawing. She discovered fused glass and managed the program for fourteen years.
The solitude of wandering the woods, collecting specimens while combing the beach, looking carefully at color, specific characteristics of nature, and curiosity of small relationships all contribute to her work. The variations of light that appear through a fused glass piece create moments of contemplation as part of the viewer’s art experience.
I use glass powder – known as frit. My leaf series is exclusively glass powder. There is no base piece of glass. This process differs from the more familiar ‘powder wafer’ technique. I designed my process to decrease the weight of a finished piece of glass art, as well as to broaden the use of layering color in a more controlled painterly manner.
I start by sketching an image in pencil on a piece of kiln shelf paper. I select a palette of frit colors and begin layering the glass powder to fill the shape. I typically use 10 – 15 colors, building in small amounts using the edge of an antique grapefruit spoon. A dry paintbrush can help the distribution of powder, as well as shaping and edge clean up. This blending works to create transparent areas, opaque blends, textured spaces, depth and intentional organic holes.
The controlled temperatures fuse the powder into a flat, solid glass piece averaging about 1/16” thick. A second ‘slump’ firing is done at a temperature 200 degrees lower. This is where I choose a mold to form tipped edges and shaping that creates movement in the leaves.
Display options range from wall mounts to sculptural display stands. Most of the Fall Footstep and Winters Frost Series are in specially designed shadow box frames that allow light to pass through the piece.
Our minds, hearts and souls should hold enlightening experiences to renew us. Faith and hope are also strong holds, but there is something about the truth in nature that provides a comforting space to linger. A leaf is just one colorful bounty in one life cycle. How wonderful that in New England we experience this moment that seems to be chosen just for us.