The Making of a Megaworld

"My motivation comes from the material itself: molten glass is such an incredibly beautiful and impossibly difficult substance to work with. I attempt to coax the glass; all it wants to do is drip on the floor. Most of my work reflects a compromise between me and the glass; the finished piece is that suspended moment in time when we agree.

I like to fill the multiple layers of my "planets" and "Megaworlds" with more information than the naked eye can see. I've always been fascinated by technology. Although I couldn't begin to build a micro-chip, some of my intricate flame and hot-worked cane "spaceships" probably have almost as many discrete elements."

--Josh Simpson

The connection between art and technology has fascinated Josh Simpson for years. The technical aspects of glass as an artistic medium frustrate as well as inspire. Early in August, thwarted by one Planet's spontaneous destruction in the last moments of its making, Josh began another series of larger Planets call Megaworlds. After many weeks of preparation, a finished Megaworld retreats into a cooling oven that will guide it from nine hundred degrees to room temperature in a month-long computer-controlled hibernation. Josh will wait anxiously for at least four weeks before viewing his creation.

On these pages, you will see a few of the many steps involved in creating a Josh Simpson Megaworld. What you will not experience is the intense heat of the studio, especially during a particularly muggy Massachusetts July, nor the immense physical exertion required to complete the task. Hopefully, you will, through this tour, learn more about glass blowing and the beauty of Josh Simpson's art.

Each Megaworld is made by gathering layer after layer of glass, working from the inside outward, adding small inclusions that have been created in the Massachusetts studio. Colors, shapes, textures, and a distinct sense of movement are suspended in each piece. Before he began his most recent Megaworld, Josh designed several new colored glass rods or "canes" to be used as detailed inclusions on different layers of this particularly large Planet. Cane is made by stretching a molten glob of glass between two blowpipes in order to create a colorful, pencil-thin length of glass. the forming of a Megaworld occurs many days after the construction of the canes. These pages will show two of the processes used to create the dozen canes made for his most recent Megaworld, and show the creation of a Megaworld.

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