The site of this installation is in a small alcove intended for sitting on pillows, listening to music, and relaxing. Using that intention as the starting point of my design process, I envisioned lying in the grass looking up at the sky on a bright, sunny day. I imagined the morphing, moving forms and patterns of wispy clouds on blue sky. The piece started taking shape as I pictured panes of glass floating above the viewer, eliciting a dreamy feeling.
I needed to express the ephemeral materials of sky and clouds through weighty glass and rigid metal. Through experimentation in the hot shop, I was able to preserve some of the movement and organic nature of molten glass, which related to the natural phenomena that were the focus of this piece. Once I’d designed the glass components, I brought in Josh St. John who suggested hand-cutting steel ceiling plates that would mimic the outline of the glass plates. His organic metal design established another connection to the inspiration of the sculpture.
Once we had the glass parts and ceiling plates in hand, resolving how to connect the two in a way that felt truly weightless and floating was the final challenge that required several iterations to resolve. Our first version had pivoting, curvy metal arms that held the glass much like a precious stone setting for a ring. Although the curving form of the arms was attractive, it was too dominant and overpowered the glass. We decided to drill four small holes into each glass plate to reduce the visibility of the hanging mechanism. This was closer but still had a heavy, inflexible feel that wasn’t quite right. I decided to work with the manufacturer of special metal parts for the suspension of the piece as the final collaborator. Their ingenuity helped bring us to the finished, successful design.