Joshua Bernbaum’s vivid glass palette
If you collect glasswork mosey on over to Vermont glass artist Joshua Bernbaum’s website or his Instagram feed and be blown away (sorry, couldn’t resist) by his amazing vessels and dazzling colors. Bernbaum’s handblown glass vessels and his abstract collection Fraunhofer Lines is currently on exhibit at the Mitchell-Giddings Art Gallery in Brattleboro, VT.
In a 2018 interview with Urban Glass, Bernbaum explained his fascination with Fraunhofer, a 19th century physicist, who had discovered an optical occurence through a telescope that used a certain type of glass. Fraunhofer went on to develop a lens that enabled telescope users to see absorption lines (thin black lines) that absorbed gasses from the atmosphere, but omitted certain colors from the color spectrum. “I was fascinated by the idea that the creation of this glass could allow people to see things that they had never seen before. I am always looking for this type of inspiration,” Bernbaum said.
But it’s the relationship with color and how each shade react with one another other that captivates Bernbaum. “I am most interested in color, especially color relationships in the works I create in blown glass. Utilizing traditional glass cane (or striping) techniques in new and personalized ways is the driving force behind most of my current designs. I consider the pieces I make to be documents along the way of a (hopefully) life-long journey of both refining the necessary skills and developing the patience one needs in order to create with this captivating and mesmerizing, but highly challenging molten material.”
Bernbaum manipulates color by contrasting and juxtaposing the various hues. A purist, he creates his glass colors from scratch; a practice, he notes, that isn't common anymore. To create his palette of brilliant pigmented glass, Bernbaum uses two furnaces, one for clear glass and one for melting colors. This method allows for more experimentation that allows him to further explore what can be done with color.