Glass is a beautiful and expressive medium. Glass is essentially melted, ground silica (quartz) – sand. Impurities or added minerals in the sand will give the glass its color. Minerals mixed with glass make light reflect (bounce) or refract (bend), changing its wavelength, which changes its color.
Before melting, artists mix ground minerals with the sand to control the color. By adding more chemicals, glass gains a deeper color, or it becomes opaque. Other minerals, like lead, remove impurities and can make the glass perfectly clear. Glass artists can mix their own glass formulas, or purchase them commercially.
Within each case in this exhibit, you’ll find a wide variety of stunning colors produced by both chemicals and minerals.
IMAGES (Top to bottom): Vernon Brejcha, Lawrence, KS. Untitled (1979), glass. 1979.9 / John C. Winter, Kinsley, KS. Untitled (1996), glass. Mulvane Art Fair Purchase Award, 1996.21 / George Thiewes, South Woodstock, VT. Untitled (1981), glass, 1982.15 / John Kuhn, Winston-Salem, NC, Bottle (1981), glass. Gift of Dr. Cotter Hirschberg, 1991.24.44. From the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library Permanent Collection.