Virginia Covalt

Glass Artist


The art of kiln-formed glass is more than 3000 years old, pre-dating that of blown glass. I enjoy this ancient craft for its primitive qualities: textures, air bubbles, and other artifacts of this less-refined process. To make a deep bowl I first fuse a round blank. After I’ve machined the edge, the blank is fired multiple times in a series of step-down molds, (slumping), making it narrower/deeper until the final shape is achieved. I enjoy the simple forms obtained by this method.


Like others, I’ve always found glass fascinating. For me it is the color and contrary attributes of a material that’s both solid and transparent at the same time. I work mostly with translucent glass because I like the way the colors glow. Fusing simple scraps together for a jewel-like chime or bowl creates a microcosm of color… As if the glass has captured light, or is a vessel for color.


As with glass, I find endless pleasure in patterns of nature: fractured granite, veins of marble, wood grain, mossy old stone walls, flowing cloud formations, ice, frost, or autumn leaf. Even the man-made sheen of rain soaked streets, a weathered board, or flake of paint; rust, patina… nature urbanized. Minute details of growth and decay, subtle colors, textures, random patterns.


Labor intensive, no two bowls are alike; designs are partly random, partly guided. After the multiple firings, sandblasting and finishing of rims, they retain a primitiveness not usually found in blown glass. I like the texture of mold separator, and ‘champagne bubbles’ trapped in the glass; these things appeal to me. When I shape and sand the rim of a particularly thick bowl, I love the way bubbles are revealed on the surface. Little pockmarks telling the tale of its making. Inside I see glassy moraine, fault lines, flowing structure, layers; like geologic processes inside stone and earth. Colorful eons.