We interviewed celebrated glass artist Demetra Theofanous about her portfolio and techniques.
ABI: How would you describe your body of work and your inspiration?
DT: My signature is a technique I developed for weaving glass, which allows me to create large scale sculptures by melting glass in the flame at a table top torch. I later took a class at the Studio at the Corning Museum of Glass to learn pate de verre, a very detailed form of glass casting. I utilize pate de verre to create hyper-realistic leaves, which I combine with my flameworked sculpture.
I am drawn to the colors and textures of the natural world not only for their aesthetic, but their emotional qualities. Technique merges with narratives in my work, to express metaphorical bridges between nature and human beings, drawing from my life and others around me.
Inspired by the storytelling tradition of woven tapestry and basketry, I see myself as weaving with glass to connect the viewer with the story of the natural world.
ABI: You are very involved with art community. How has this changed you as an artist and a teacher?
DT: It has taught me to work with a wide range of age groups and personality types, working toward a common goal. I have developed a particularly strong connection to working with kids. The enthusiasm for art in our community is there, but finding a way to connect with it can sometimes be a challenge, particularly when funding is necessary. I want to do more to bring art into our schools, and expose students to career paths that may differ from the traditional avenues we are taught.
ABI: Your signature style work is acclaimed and is widely collected. What direction do you see going forward with your art?
DT: Weaving with glass and incorporating natural elements is a signature of my work that will likely continue. I have always been drawn to color as an emotive element, and will continue to explore ways I can bring emotion into my work. Decay is also a theme that will persist. Combining pate de verre, a form of cast glass, with flameworked glass is another area I continue to work on.
My new basketry series, is an abstraction of earlier themes in my work. I utilize containment as a metaphor for the human experience, exploring the tensions that arise as we navigate through life.
I am spending more time than ever experimenting in the studio, and the learning curve is steep. I am excited about the new possibilities I see in my work, and look forward to seeing my new ideas unfold.