Slightly misshapen bowls stand on drunken stems ready to wobble off the table the moment your back is turned. Gaily decorated with squiggles and spirals, petroglyphic or post-modern art marks, the goblets look like they've been carousing and invite you to join them, to fill them with wine, preferably champagne although vintage isn't necessary. |
Flow Goblets with their lyrical branches blown in the breeze, forever captured in time also invite you to fill their bowls with some luscious liquid, to join in the celebration they've already begun.
Two Scorpions, engaged in a dangerous embrace or is it a dance? support a capacious bowl that when filled could be lethal or just delightfully intoxicating.
These are just some of the goblets created by Arizona artist Bandhu Scott Dunham. They reveal a playful and whimsical sensibility but also a darker side.
His Kali Yoni Goblet with its red female organ is both alluring and threatening.
Kali is the Hindu Goddess who personifies both creation and destruction. Dunham says that his "work expresses my sense of the human condition. Innocence and Woundedness are recurring themes." For woundedness, I would suggest vulnerability, and he has chosen the perfect material to express this: glass.
Dunham is a lampworker. Heating rods of borosilicate glass, commercially known as Pyrex®, over a torch, he pulls and stretches them into wavering tendrils of the Flow Goblets. When hot enough to almost turn liquid, he compresses the glass to make the menacing bumps of Kali Yoni.
Using tiny threads of colored glass, he "draws" on his Petroglyphic Goblets, leaving a mark as luscious as melted crayon. His goblets delight the eye and hand when they are picked up and used as they are intended to be, as well as tickling the user's fancy or prickling his or her conscience.
Lampworking or Flameworking is an ancient technique and has been used throughout the centuries to make everything from multi-colored beads to the delicate and fanciful dragonstem goblets that characterize the Golden Age of Venetian glass. Galileo in the 17th century designed scientific instruments made by lampworking or, as it is sometimes known, scientific glass blowing. In the early 20th century, lampworking was used to create the tubes to contain the luminous gases of neon signs. With the advent of the Studio Glass Movement in 1962, artists for the first time in glass's 5,000-year history used the material to express themselves artistically. By the late 1970s, the aesthetic potential of lampworking began to be explored.
Dunham became interested in scientific glass blowing when studying chemical engineering at Princeton in the mid-1970s.
Soon he was under the influence of the alchemy of glass and flame.
In 1980, he moved to Prescott, Arizona to open Salusa Glassworks, where he produces a line of goblets that are available in galleries and fine craft shops around the country. He is also available to do commission work, creating memorable goblets to celebrate special occasions as well as his own sculpture, which encourages viewers to use their minds, a reversal of function.
|-||Karen S. Chambers, |
New York, September 1996
Salusa Glassworks |
PO Box 2354, Prescott AZ 86302
Phone: (520) 445-5445
Fax: (520) 445-5445 Email