Rational Beauty

Amber Cowan

The sublimely talented Amber Cowan is a sculptor working primarily with glass. She received both her MFA in Glass/Ceramics from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and her BFA in 3-Dimensional Design with a concentration in Glass from Salisbury University.

Not content to follow a traditional path, today she is perfecting an original process involving flameworking, blowing, and hot-sculpting recycled, up-cycled, found and second-life glass. Her materials are typically American pressed glass from the 1940s–1980s, giving her work a vibrant sense of history with references to mid-century craftsmanship.

I’m particularly drawn to one of her recent pieces — Whole Milk Wash Basin in Colony Harvest. She created the piece by using found glass from the Lancaster Colony Corporation, a thriving American pressed glass manufacturer which operated from 1907–2002.

The Colony Harvest pattern was a quite popular line of opaque milk glass tableware produced from the 1950s–1980s. Back in the day, postwar consumers would acquire the tableware through S&H Green Stamps, a rewards and return system. Today thrift stores are inundated with the pattern, as preceding generations are replacing it with today’s modern wares.

“I reconstruct this glass and alter its original state while keeping intact the original vintage feeling,” Amber explains. “I wish to reference the history of the pressed glass industry and bring into focus the feeling of its past glory and forlorn future.”

The peaceful milky-white glass reincarnated into a complex composition definitely gives the Colony Harvest pattern new life.

hellergallery.com
ambercowan.com

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Mirror in Colony Harvest, 2012

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Whole Milk Wash Basin in Colony Harvest, 2012

“I wish to reference the history of the pressed glass industry and bring into focus the feeling of its past glory and forlorn future.”
—Amber Cowan