Artist Spotlight

 

   

 

"The first time I picked up a piece of glass, ground it and then polished it, I was hooked. What I didn't know is that it would become a life long passion, or should I say obsession."  - Vaz Zastera
 

I apprenticed as a precision glass machinist (master optician) for 10 years and have been working with cold glass for the past 22 years. When I’m not in the studio creating glass sculptures, I work in the high-tech industry fabricating ultra-high precision optical components for research and development, telecommunications, lasers, aerospace, and the medical industry.

 

My glass art career began by experimenting with small optical components that didn't meet spec, and creating optical glass jewelry from them. 

 

The pictures that I had taken of my jewelry reminded me of buildings. Driving downtown I came across a new 40-story building with an all glass exterior. Shivers ran up and down my spine. It came to me that day that I would create scaled sculptures of similar form and design and I began to explore creating larger models of architecturally influenced sculptures, buildings in glass.  I didn’t go to art school because I lived in one for 20 years.  My teacher was an architect, painter, musician, artist, sculptor, my teacher was my father.  This experience has brought me to realize my passion for my obsession. 

 

This is a first of its kind instrument for Boston University and NASA. It is called a "Monolithic Achromatic Nulling Interference Coronagraph" (MANIC). It will be used in a telescope system to block (null) out suns when observing exoplanets (planets orbiting a star other than our Sun). It is all optically contacted.  

 

 

 

I am continuously exploring and developing new techniques to create theses unique works of art.  I’m highly influenced by the  precision optics techniques and have incorporated many of these advanced cold workings into my art.  Recently I have been collaborating with Jiri Harcuba on optically contacting his masterful engravings inside 2 or more pieces of glass.   This “black art” is centuries old and modern day use is in precision optics however it has not been utilized in the glass art world.  It is a process by which two surfaces are adhered together at room temperature through molecular attraction, without the use of adhesives.  The perfectly flat and polished surfaces are cleaned to an exceptionally high degree, then the two surfaces are brought together and literally bond to each other on a molecular level, becoming one.  I will be in Montreal in May as well as in Louisville in June to give a lecture/ demo on this process

 


 

 

Optical contacting technique was used to assemble 'Dove'.
Eight dove prisms are optically contacted to a big right angle prism

   

 

Many of my studio tools and equipment have been adapted from their scientific use.  I combine the advanced cold working processes used in precision optics with the traditional techniques used in art glass.  One of my new favorite tools is the Rociprolap.  When I transitioned to large sculptures it was brutal to grind and polish the large flat surfaces.  I wish I had half a dozen of them, one for each level of grit and two for polishing.  I also love the new polyurethane cerium filled LP polishing pads.  They polish the glass out so fast and clean.  A real time saver and a joy to work with.

 

 

Due to the care and precision required to create one of these large pieces it can take anywhere from 3 months to a year to complete and involves hundreds of steps.  It is a very labour intensive meticulous process however the stunning optical effects of the reflected and refracted light makes the time spent on each piece seem insignificant once the sculpture is complete.