Alberta artist James Lavoie handcrafts stunning works following in the steps of the Egyptians and Romans who created many intricate bowls by using the glass fusing method from approximately 1500 BC to 500 AD. His elegant simplicity in design and colour – Black and Amber fused glass are exceptional pieces to collect. Handwashing is recommended.
‘ Though I have worked in other media, I have never found one as fulfilling and fascinating as glass. There is something in the weight and depth of glass that has always attracted me.
I worked for many years in stained glass and learned a great deal about creating in ‘cold’ glass – how to compose with colour, texture and density. I briefly studied glass blowing and came to appreciate the speed and spontaneity of that creative process, the ability to manipulate the flow of colour and form. This was my first taste of working with ‘hot’ glass and it was exhilerating. Then I discovered glass fusing ad decided that it was the perfect marriage of hot and cold glass; I could use the methodical composition of stained glass, but fuse fire it to make a solid piece. I discovered a great potential for producing sophisticated and elegant designs that retain their simplicity.
To date my designs are very linear and geometric. Their rigidity of line takes advantage of glass’ tendency to break in straight lines. It also makes a statement in glass that is not possible with blown glass. I am fascinated by mosaics, by composition with close-fitting, almost interlocking pieces. I draw inspiration from the artwork of Escher, the architecture and furnishings of Charles Mackintosh, and the glass of Klaus Moje.
I like simplicity in design and colour. I am unmoved by work that combines too many techniques, textures and colours – pieces that are complex for complexity’s sake. I also emphasize the use of clear and translucent material. Light is the key to interesting glasswork and I believe that a piece should look like glass, not ceramic.
My technique, and the effects achieved, I believe make my work unique. The use of a particularly uniform type of glass, and an edge-to-edge method of composition let me create works with strong, clean lines in simple but distinctive designs. I also try to keep my work in a ‘reasonable’ price range – an asset for truly functional art.
I want to continue to explore a technique of ‘weaving’ with glass, and am also experimenting with the use of enamels and etching. As an art-form experiencing a rebirth, glass fusing has boundless potential for producing objects with both originality and high artistic appeal.’