“. . . two small pieces which came to light in Rome a few years ago display a skill that is truly amazing; neither of them is quite an inch long, or a third of an inch broad. One of them exhibits on a dark, variegated ground a bird, resembling a duck, of different and very lively colors, but painted more after the Chinese manner. The outline is firm and sharp; the colors are beautiful and pure, and of very brilliant effect, because the artist has introduced, as the places required it, sometimes translucent, and sometimes opaque glass. The most delicate pencil of the miniature-painter could not have expressed more accurately the circle of the eyeball, and the visibly overlapping feathers on the breast and wings. The fragment is broken off just back of the commencement of the wings. But this piece excites the greatest astonishment in the spectator, when, on looking at the other side of it, he sees the very same bird, without being able to detect any difference in the minutest particular. Hence, we must conclude that the figure of the bird extends through the whole thickness of the glass."

Winckelmann, Johann Joachim. History of Ancient Art (1764).
Trans. by Alexander Gode. NY: Frederick Unger
Publishing Co., 1968, pg. 47-48.

The ancient glass fragment (dating from the 1st century B.C./1st century A.D.) described by Winkelmann in 1764 was from a section sliced off a rectangular bar that carried throughout its length the image of a bird so that each slice taken from the bar or cane displayed the same image. It is speculated that the image would have been created in one of two ways. Either by a "cold" method of arranging pre-made colored rods or threads of glass vertically so that they created an intricate design which would then be bundled together, held with wire, heated, fused and drawn out into a length of bar or cane. Or in a second "hot" method, where gathers of molten glass of different colors would be tooled and shaped and combined into the intended design and then stretched to length.

In the middle of the nineteenth century, the Venetian lampworker, Giacomo Frarnchini used a variation of the "hot" method to create extraordinary, intricate portraits of leading political figures of his day. Franchini made component parts consisting of various elements of the imagery that he was creating using the "hot" method. After these individual component parts were stretched to length and thereby reduced in scale, they were reheated and assembled together in the flame of a gas torch. Additional gathers of molten glass were added and shaped to complete the design which was then stretched and miniaturized further resulting in a cane that, when cooled and sliced, revealed the portrait image throughout its length.

The techniques that I use in all of my work with mosaic glass are combinations of the three variations described above. My work involves the extensive preparation of component parts that are made using the flame of an oxygen and propane fueled torch as my heat source. Not all of these component parts are then fused together in the flame, though most are. Not all of these component parts are stretched into cane, thought some are. Very, very few of these component parts are used in more than a single image. The one constant element that exists in all of my work with mosaic glass is the concept of an image being made up of and contained within the glass itself. By creating the design (in my work, most often portraiture) inside the glass rather than placing it on the surface, as with painting or enameling on glass, the imagery takes on the fluid characteristics of the molten glass from which it is made. Through the use of this mosaic glass technique I am able to translate into visual form the imagery that fascinates me. And it is the imagery that is my focus - with technique as my tool.