The Magic of Color

Stephen Powell's Art

We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark: the real tragedy of life is when adults are afraid of the light. -Plato (427-347 B.C.)

On a recent trip to Chicago, I attended SOFA (Sculpture, Objects & Functional Art Exposition).

This annual event showcases some of the premier glass artists in the country.

There were two artists that grabbed my attention with their use of color and light: Stephen Powell, who I have admired for years, and Stephen Knapp, a new artist to me.

How Stephen Knapp Makes Color Dance

Stephan Knapp's blown glass artKnapp uses light and reflection to make colors that appear to dance. He does this by making various shaped glass sandwiches with clear glass and thin slices of color filaments that are hung perpendicular to the wall.

He shines spotlights through the sandwiches creating colored shadows of different shapes.  His light-paintings make visible the light that surrounds us and transforms it into something physical yet transient.

Stephen Powell’s Breathtaking Sculptures

Powell’s sculptures are based on his extensive work with color. He first wraps various colors around a clear glass rod, stretches it out, and cuts it into small round pieces called murini.

These are laid out on a metal plate which is heated. He then heats a clear glass cylinder which is attached to a blowpipe and rolls over the 2,500 murinis and attaches them to the glass bubble. He then gathers more clear glass and blows the bubble out stretching the murine and making them appear three-dimensional. The effect is a breathtaking and delightful.

Color is Delightful at Any Age

“Color delights us from cradle to grave, it grooves some optical pleasure zone that seems almost beyond language, and it is everywhere celebrated in the almost irrepressibly vivacious glass sculpture of Stephen Powell.”

I refer to these two glass artists whose work combines color and light, providing a luminosity that cannot be duplicated with any other medium.

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