Mary Shaffer began her career as a painter, an ambition she’d had since the age of nine. A busy job and two young children prevented her from painting very often, however, and she spent several years thinking about what she wanted to do and jotting down her ideas. Her work in glass began in the early 1970s when she developed the technique of midair slumping. This involves placing sheets of plate glass on a structural form in a kiln, until the heat causes the glass to bend and sag. Shaffer’s powerful sculptures combine twisted wire or rigid blocks of metal with flowing layers of clear glass.