Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Vitrix Art Glass at Smith Galleries

Thomas Kelly making a
Heechee Probe.
When one looks at a finished piece of wheel-thrown pottery or hand-blown glass, it is difficult to believe that both of them essentially began as a blob of raw material. In the case of pottery, one watches the potter slap a ball of clay on the potters wheel, start the wheel spinning, and start pressing on the clay. After it is centered, the potter starts pulling, pushing, adding water, and with various moves shapes the blob into a vessel. In most cases you have an idea of the finished product when it comes off the wheel, although there are many changes it has yet to go through before it is a completed piece of art.
Heechee Glass Sculpture

In the case of glass, one watches a glassblower gather a glob of a molten liquid on the end of a pipe and with the aid of a few tools, begin to turn it and shape the glob into a form that as it spins becomes recognizable as the object it will become. And in the case of glass, one can most often see the finished colors as well.

Celestial Geode Sculpture
They make it look so easy! That’s part of the fascination of watching both the potter and the glassblower at work. Their skill and artistry is such that you think, “Well, I could do that!”  Talking with any professional potter or glassblower will soon dispel you of that idea. They will tell you that it takes years to hone your skills until you feel qualified to offer your work to the public for purchase.

Thomas Kelly is the owner of Vitrix Hot Glass Studio. Tom
Scalloped Bowl
learned the art of glassblowing under the tutelage of Alex Brand and Thomas Buechner who had two distinctive styles. As his skill grew, so did his aesthetic sensitivity continue to develop until he was ready to take over the Vitrix studio when Buechner was ready to move on.  Watching a video of Thomas Kelly making one of his Heechees is like watching a magician at work. The way he manipulates the liquid glass, adjusting the shape, adding pieces and color, is intriguing. Speaking about his work Tom says, “Hot glass challenges me constantly. I don’t think I really control the molten glass, I just influence it.”

I think you’ll agree that his influence over the glass produces exquisite results. Creative shapes,
Vertical Heechee Sculpture
vibrant color, and consistent artistry combine to give his glass lasting beauty and value.

Smith Galleries is located in suite J11 (second level) of the Village at Wexford at 1000 William Hilton Parkway on Hilton Head Island, SC. Gallery hours are 10 - 6 Monday through Saturday. 800.272.3870

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