As an artist, I am an avid collector of visual information. The natural world is full of wonders, and I don’t have to travel far to observe its beautiful hues and patterns—they are right outside of my door. The veins of a leaf, a delicate spider web, the texture of ice or the subtle colors of the dawn sky are captivating to me. By observing these phenomena, I feel a connection to the elemental processes and animating forces of all life. When I see something that intrigues me, I begin to take it apart in my mind, considering how I might translate it into glass. Parts and details can become whole avenues of exploration unto themselves, moving the finished work far beyond the source. Art is how I explore the world and satisfy my sense of curiosity.

My work is rooted in the Venetian glass-working traditions in which I was trained; I use processes such as cane, incalmo and murrine that are familiar to any student of historical glass, but I present them in innovative and unexpected ways. For me, they are a vocabulary from which I can build something new. I often create works in series, which allows me to develop and refine sculptural forms such as the “Droplets” with variation in color and pattern. This practice is extended in the wall panels, where I find I can explore drawing and composition most directly. The freedom to move between two and three dimensions in my current work is really exciting.

The works in “Phenomena” are connected by their origins in my observations of the natural world, filtered through a lens of fantasy. While the techniques used to create them are sophisticated and complex, it is my hope that the finished pieces contain a bit of the mystery and wonder that I find in nature.

— Nancy Callan

March 2022