Monday, May 20, 2024

Amber Cowan Transforms Flameworked Vintage Glass into Lush Assemblages

Amber Cowan is a talented artist who repurposes vintage glass into stunning sculptures that are filled with intricate details and evoke a sense of nostalgia. In her exhibition titled “Alchemy of Adornment,” currently on display at the Museum of American Glass at WheatonArts, Cowan explores the rise and fall of glassware popularity. She combines antique pieces with flameworked cullet, breathing new life into forgotten objects. Through her pieces, Cowan celebrates femininity, change, and the beauty of the past. Her work showcases the immense potential of glass as a medium and has garnered much attention. If you appreciate art that transforms the ordinary into extraordinary, you won’t want to miss Cowan’s captivating creations.

Amber Cowan Transforms Flameworked Vintage Glass into Lush Assemblages

Amber Cowan is an artist who breathes new life into vintage glass through her intricate sculptures. In her exhibition titled “Alchemy of Adornment,” currently on display at the Museum of American Glass, Cowan explores the phases of popularity and decline of glassware. She transforms discarded glass objects into stunning pieces of art that evoke botanic beauty and nostalgic charm.

Amber Cowan Transforms Flameworked Vintage Glass into Lush Assemblages

This image is property of

Recycling Vintage Glass

Cowan’s work revolves around recycling vintage glass, giving it a new purpose and aesthetic value. She creates elaborate wall pieces and freestanding sculptures using glass found in thrift stores, online sales, and donated by friends and strangers. By repurposing these antique pieces, Cowan highlights the material’s potential and showcases its versatility.

Intricate Wall Pieces

One of the ways Cowan showcases her creativity is through intricate wall pieces. These sculptures combine various glass fragments to create a lush and vibrant composition. The juxtaposition of different colors, textures, and shapes adds depth and visual interest to each artwork. Cowan’s attention to detail and meticulous arrangement of glass elements result in captivating and harmonious wall pieces.

Freestanding Sculptures

In addition to wall pieces, Cowan also creates freestanding sculptures. These sculptures take on a more three-dimensional form, allowing viewers to experience the artwork from multiple angles. Through her mastery of flameworking, Cowan shapes and manipulates the glass to create intricate and delicate sculptures that capture the imagination. Each freestanding sculpture tells a unique story and invites viewers to explore the complexities of the medium.

Amber Cowan Transforms Flameworked Vintage Glass into Lush Assemblages

This image is property of

The Medium’s Legacy

Cowan draws inspiration from the legacy of vintage glassware, particularly vessels, kitsch items, and decorative objects. These once-beloved pieces of glassware were prevalent in American homes, but their popularity waned by the end of the 20th century. By incorporating these objects into her artwork, Cowan pays homage to their historical significance and breathes new life into them.

Vessels, Kitsch, and Decor

Vessels, kitsch items, and decor play essential roles in Cowan’s assemblages. She takes these everyday objects and elevates them to fantastical heights through her creative process. By transforming vessels into larger-than-life sculptures or infusing kitsch items with whimsical motifs, Cowan challenges traditional notions of functionality and aesthetics. Her artwork encourages viewers to reconsider the value and beauty of even the most ordinary glass objects.

Emphasizing Material Potential

Cowan emphasizes the vast potential of glass as a medium through her assemblages. By repurposing vintage glass, she showcases the material’s ability to be reinvented and given new life. Cowan’s artwork demonstrates the transformative power of creativity and highlights the importance of sustainability in art-making. Each piece tells a story of renewal and invites viewers to appreciate the beauty and potential of recycled materials.

Amber Cowan Transforms Flameworked Vintage Glass into Lush Assemblages

This image is property of

Cowan’s Process

Behind each of Cowan’s mesmerizing sculptures lies a meticulous process that involves careful sourcing, incorporation of antique pieces, and flameworking techniques.

Sourcing Glass

Cowan sources her glass from various avenues. She scours thrift stores, explores online sales platforms, and receives donations from friends and strangers who wish to see their glass objects given a new lease on life. This process not only allows Cowan to acquire a diverse range of glassware but also infuses each sculpture with a unique history and personal connection.

Incorporating Antique Pieces

Antique pieces form an integral part of Cowan’s work. By incorporating these artifacts into her sculptures, she invites viewers to consider the significance and cultural value of these objects. Cowan’s assemblages bring attention to the craftsmanship and design of vintage glassware, showcasing its enduring beauty.

Amber Cowan Transforms Flameworked Vintage Glass into Lush Assemblages

Flameworked Cullet

Flameworked cullet, or waste material that can be remelted, is a crucial component of Cowan’s sculptures. Through flameworking techniques, Cowan shapes and manipulates the cullet, transforming it into intricate floral and botanical elements. Flameworking allows her to add delicate details and create a sense of movement within her sculptures.

Donations from Strangers

One unique aspect of Cowan’s practice is the donations she receives from strangers. These individuals entrust Cowan with their cherished glass objects, knowing that she will incorporate them into her artwork. This act of generosity adds another layer of meaning to each sculpture, as it represents a collaboration between the artist and the wider community.

Fragments from Defunct Manufacturers

Cowan also sources glass fragments from defunct regional manufacturers. These fragments often come in unique colorways that are no longer produced, making them valuable historical artifacts. By repurposing these fragments, Cowan preserves a piece of glass manufacturing history and gives them a new narrative in her assemblages.

Amber Cowan Transforms Flameworked Vintage Glass into Lush Assemblages

Alchemy of Adornment Exhibition

Cowan’s work is currently on display at the Museum of American Glass as part of the “Alchemy of Adornment” exhibition. The exhibition explores the phases of glassware popularity and examines how these objects have transitioned from being cherished possessions to forgotten artifacts. Through her sculptures, Cowan invites viewers to reflect on the evolution of glassware and its enduring allure.

On View at the Museum of American Glass

The “Alchemy of Adornment” exhibition can be experienced at the Museum of American Glass in Millville, New Jersey. The exhibition showcases Cowan’s sculptures and provides visitors with an opportunity to immerse themselves in the stunning world of flameworked vintage glass. The exhibition runs until December 31st, ensuring ample time for art enthusiasts to explore and appreciate Cowan’s artwork.

Exploring the Phases of Glassware Popularity

One of the central themes of the “Alchemy of Adornment” exhibition is the exploration of the phases of glassware popularity. Cowan’s sculptures highlight the rise and fall of glassware trends throughout history. By examining these phases, viewers gain a deeper understanding of how cultural preferences and societal changes influence the perception and value of glass objects.

Femininity, Change, and Nostalgia

Cowan’s artwork revolves around three central themes: femininity, change, and nostalgia. Each sculpture embodies these themes, inviting viewers to reflect on their own experiences and emotions. The fantastical assemblages created by Cowan evoke a range of feelings, from whimsy to introspection, while celebrating the enduring qualities of femininity and the transformative power of change.

Fantastical Assemblages

Cowan’s sculptures transport viewers to a world of fantasy and imagination. The intricate details and vibrant colors create a sense of enchantment and wonder. Each sculpture tells a story, inviting viewers to explore their own interpretation and meaning within the artwork. Cowan’s ability to create fantastical assemblages showcases her artistic vision and storytelling prowess.

Central Themes in Cowan’s Work

Femininity, change, and nostalgia are central themes in Cowan’s work. Through her sculptures, she explores the complexities and nuances of these themes. Cowan’s art invites viewers to embrace their own femininity, embrace change, and reflect on the power of nostalgia. Her work serves as a reminder that art can be a conduit for introspection and personal growth.

Artwork Highlights

Cowan’s portfolio features a variety of stunning sculptures, each with its own unique charm and story. Some notable highlights include:

  • “Bittersweet, River and Milk”
  • “Melanie Walking Snail with Cart”
  • “Art Nude Cascade in Jade”
  • “Candelabra in Shell”
  • “Dreams of a Descendant of Sirenuse”
  • “Willie the Mouse with Tractor and Train”
  • “Cornucopia in Shell”
  • “Lamb and Dog in Sky and Milk”

Each artwork showcases Cowan’s mastery of flameworking and her ability to transform vintage glass into works that truly captivate the senses. From delicate floral motifs to whimsical creatures, Cowan’s sculptures are a testament to her creativity and vision.

Continues through December 31 in Millville, New Jersey

The “Alchemy of Adornment” exhibition will continue to be on display at the Museum of American Glass in Millville, New Jersey until December 31st. This provides both local residents and visitors with an extended opportunity to experience the enchanting world of Amber Cowan’s glass sculptures. Don’t miss out on the chance to immerse yourself in the beauty and intricacy of her artwork.

Support Independent Arts Publishing

Stories and artists like Amber Cowan matter because they contribute to the vibrancy and diversity of the art world. Independent arts publishing plays a vital role in sharing these stories and giving artists a platform to showcase their work. By becoming a Colossal Member, you can support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. Your support enables organizations like Colossal to continue sharing stories that inspire, engage, and enrich the global creative community.

In conclusion, Amber Cowan’s transformative sculptures breathe new life into vintage glass, creating lush assemblages that captivate the imagination. Through her intricate craftsmanship and creative vision, she showcases the potential of recycled materials and highlights the beauty and cultural significance of vintage glassware. The “Alchemy of Adornment” exhibition at the Museum of American Glass offers viewers a chance to explore the phases of glassware popularity and experience the fantastical world of Cowan’s sculptures. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness the alchemical transformation of vintage glass in Amber Cowan’s extraordinary artwork.