Self taught glass artist Jo Ludwig (Kiln Glass Art) spends most of his time creating ToBs. “ToB” is short for Thing of Beauty. Each ToB is a one-of-a-kind art glass vessel that is eye-popping and captivating inside and outside
Valley Voice: Your signature vessels are very unique, what inspires their shapes and size? Jo Ludwig: These vessels are a reaction to what is sometimes called “high art” or “conceptual art”. In its presence I am mostly flummoxed and always feel somehow hoodwinked. So in response to “high art” I wanted something not requiring a masters degree to understand; I wanted something small, with a shape that is immediately familiar and comfortable. And I wanted something that is immediately, uncomplicatedly, just beautiful.
VV: The metallic tones that come through the glass are futuristic and remind us of space – how do you achieve some of these effects?
JL: I do want to achieve that effect and make a line of Jetsons-like, Tabletop UFOs and Pocket Planets etc. The glass I use is called dichroic glass. It has a thin metallic coating on its surface. Different combinations of metals and metal oxides produce different colours. In its unworked state it looks like a mirror, except coloured. It is VERY expensive. I fuse different glasses and pieces together to make bases to fuse the dichroic glass to. The different glasses produce different effects. And it also depends on which side of the glass the dichroic coating is on. There are quite a few failures. But when they come out just right … the world is a better place.
VV: Where can we see your work?
JL: Seattle, Dallas, Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Nanaimo and Victoria. Locally, at the Cowichan Valley Fine Art Show, the Sooke Fine Arts Show and the Filberg Festival.
VV: Who is an artist you most admire?
JL:Oh boy. There are so many. Dale Chihuly is right there at the top. He has singlehandedly invigorated and re-invented glass art. He made America the glassart Mecca. Chuck Close. He is just so talented. Closer to home I admire the work of Mel Munsen, Jay Macdonell, Lisa Samphire and Jill Allan.
VV: What is your most treasured tool in the studio?
JL: The bell kiln. It fires so evenly and reliably. And the big 24 inch flat grinder. It works really well and is so smooth. And the metal lathe. But except for making jigs or other tools, or the rings for my UFO Treasure Boxes, I don’t get to play with it much.
VV: What book are you reading right now?
JL: A book of poems by Red Hawk and Alice Munro’s Dance of the Happy Shades. I never know what she is talking about, but I like reading her.