GANM member James Evanson was recently named a winner in the annual Bullseye Glass Challenge. This year’s national competition attracted 136 entries. His Cobra Reaction was the creativity winner. This is the second year in a row that Evanson won top honors in one of the four Bullseye Challenge categories.
The Bullseye Challenge theme this year was “Reactions!” and called upon the artists to make innovative use of the chemical and color reactive properties that can arise when combining specific types of Bullseye glass. Evanson’s winning kiln-formed work was meticulously constructed in a workflow that went from hand drawn sketches to computer-generated design, to more than 280 paper templates, to custom slumping forms crafted on the CNC router in his workshop, and finally into the kiln. The entire process took more than a month of intensive work.
The snake consists of five separate sections that are three-quarters of an inch thick. Four pieces were slumped on a 12-inch diameter quarter-circle form carved from vermiculite board. The standing section of the snake required a custom-made vermiculite form to create the curved arch of the back and head. In total, the snake has more than 280 pieces; 21 kiln firings were needed to achieve the final result. The pattern was created twice so that it could be viewed from both sides. The end result is a creative tour de force in terms of engineering as well as art, and expresses not only the chemically reactive properties of the glass but also the very dynamic, reactive nature of the cobra.
Reactive Cloud and French Vanilla Bullseye glasses alternate in Cobra Reaction to form the diamond pattern. Running the length of the snake is a strip of Reactive Ice Clear to represent a see-through vein. Silver Foil and Turquoise Blue frit was applied to create a reaction. The triangles are Pimento Red reacting to Silver Foil and are trimmed with Turquoise Blue sheet. The perimeter is Slate Gray to coordinate with the Silver Foil color. The snake’s edges and face are fused with a top layer of 3 mm Tekta. This allowed the glass to be ground and polished without disturbing the chemical reaction.
Evanson brings to his glass art craft skills acquired as an architect and furniture maker, combined with a creative aesthetic that is both playful and practical. After attending Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, Evanson detoured to a degree in architecture from the Pratt Institute (NY) and a career as an architect. Two decades later, he and his wife Lisa opened a custom furniture studio and showroom in New York. Their furniture was the choice of high-end designers who served renowned clients from the entertainment and political worlds.
“Glass artist” is effectively Evanson’s third career, and one he is clearly enjoying. It is the culmination of his highly creative life, and enables him to deploy his wide ranging skills in graphic design, silkscreen, graphics, and materials processes such as woodworking, metalworking, and kiln forming.
For more information about James Evanson, and a gallery of his glass sculptures, glass lights, functional art, and “good old stuff” in a variety of media, see his website at www.jamesevanson.com.