by Pizzachillo and Gordon
Bruce Pizzichillo and Dari Gordon are internationally known artists who create large, colorful handblown glass vases, sculptural vessels and bowls as well as intriguing glass and mixed media sculptures.
Using glassmaking techniques that are thousands of years old, along with many of their own invention, Bruce and Dari melt glass in furnaces that are designed for work in multiple colors. They achieve a palette of distinctive colors by mixing various metallic oxide formulations containing gold, silver, cobalt and others, into the molten glass. They heat the raw materials in large ceramic pots inside a glass furnace at temperatures in excess of 2400 degrees Fahrenheit.
As the molten liquid glass achieves a working temperature, the artists gather the fluid substance onto the end of a five foot long steel pipe or rod. They blow, manipulate and shape the mass of molten glass, constantly spinning it and dipping it back into the pot for additional gathers if the piece is exceptionally large. For decoration, they apply shards, frit, bits and strings of colored glass that they have pre-made to the hot surface of the glass, and then reheat the piece to fuse the elements to the surface.
When they complete the blowing and shaping process, they remove the piece from the pipe and place it into an annealing oven, where it will cool slowly over a specific period. In general, the larger and thicker the piece, the longer the time required for it to anneal. If not properly annealed, the piece will shatter when exposed to room temperature. Finally, the artists inspect each piece to determine if it meets their standards for first quality. They then proceed with the finishing work, which can include cutting, grinding and polishing before signing the completed piece. Depending on the size and complexity of the piece, the artists may reject half the pieces they make, or more, for lacking the requisites of first quality.
Bruce studied at the University of New Mexico and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in glass from the California College of Arts & Crafts, where he studied with world-renowned glass artist Marvin Lipofsky. Bruce has worked with glass since 1976. It was not until 1984 that Bruce and Dari established the Pizzichillo/Gordon Studio in the Northern California. The collaborative pieces they design and create are signed with the studio name.