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Milkweed Arts

02/17-21 All That Glitters is Not Gold: Magical Metals and Reactions in Glass, with Nikki O'Neill

02/17-21 All That Glitters is Not Gold: Magical Metals and Reactions in Glass, with Nikki O'Neill

Regular price $895.00 USD
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February 17-21, 2023, 9a-4p daily.

Nikki O'Neill, Guest Instructor.

Welcome to the fun, creative possibilities of fusing with reactive glass!  In this workshop we will explore the unique beauty and versatility of imagery achieved while fusing with Bullseye reactive glasses and diverse metallic elements. The visual reactions between glasses as they melt and fuse together are incredibly varied and exciting.  This workshop offers a thorough understanding of the basic theory and chemistries of fusing with reactive glasses.

 

In addition, we will expand the reactive glass palette by fusing with native forms of materials that are found in reactive glasses, that make these visual reactions possible. We will work with silver, tin, gold, sulfur, brass, mica, iron, and copper in forms that will include foil, wire, powders, and liquids.  During extensive sample making you will find new ways to combine glass, reactive glasses, and raw metallic materials to create unique artistic effects and unusual color imagery. Finally, we will make larger projects of your own design that showcase the reactions you find most beautiful and interesting.  

ABOUT THE ARTIST

It is no surprise that Nikki O’Neill’s exquisite glass sculptures are inspired by the often-hidden organic world around us. After all, she looked through her first microscope when she was just seven years old. 

Nikki’s life has always been about exploration and delightful discoveries.  As the eldest of six children in a military family, she spent her childhood exploring diverse environments. From Colorado mountain streams to Alabama swamps to centuries-old rural European villages, she was enchanted by the secret habitats and small, often overlooked creatures she discovered: lichens and insects, algae, sea anemones, and microbes to name a few.  

After obtaining her PhD in biology, Nikki’s career path led her to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Beltsville, MD, where, as a research scientist, she tackled many interesting projects, including identifying a fungus about to destroy the White House lawn, discovering species of fungi which wipe out opium poppy plants and identifying a disease threatening the U.S. sugarcane industry.

For the past 35 years, you could say, she has had two overlapping passions: science and art. Nikki has brought all her research and experimenting skills to bear in exploring new, innovative techniques in the creation of glass sculpture. For example, she combined lab-based chemicals with recycled glass, heat, and gravity to create her Synthesis series. “It is so wonderfully energizing to creatively combine science and art to make nature-inspired pieces in the studio,” she said of her experiences in glass and science. 

Nikki now focuses on making glass art full time. Her vessel forms Mycota series sculptural marine habitats Synthesis series and delicate coral Reef Forms are inspired by a deep love of nature’s creatures and mysterious habitats. To the delight of colleagues, she maintains a professionally equipped glass studio that is set up in her repurposed glass greenhouse.  “It is my hope that my work will increase awareness of the incredible beauty and intricacy of nature’s life forms, and our responsibility to prevent and repair the devastating effects of humanity on ocean life”.  Nikki’s work is collected nationally, exhibited all over the county and can be seen on her website www.nikkioneillglass.com.

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