_RJA5620 8 bit print © Russell JohnsonWhen I was a child, our house underwent a remodel and the yard was messy, full of piles of soil and mud; in short, a boy’s paradise.  A favorite pastime of the neighborhood kids was engaging in dirt-clot throwing wars on our backyard battleground.

One day, while preparing for a battle, I picked up a pile of ammunition and began to fashion it into what would be the perfect muddy weapon.  Slowly and deliberately I formed it with my bare hands until the amorphous clot of mud began to take the form of a ball.  I became obsessed, shaping for probably an hour, and eventually created a perfect sphere.

To me, this tennis ball sized object seemed much too perfect to sacrifice in battle, so I placed it in a small glass dish, and hid it inside the tool shed.  There it lived, until one spring day when I decided that I would impress my fellow combatants. Upon revealing the sphere, not a single one of my comrades believed that it was merely dirt.  They were all sure that it must be a ball coated with mud.  I pondered the options: return my treasure to the shed, or break it open and impress my friends?  At this moment, none of us knew what the outcome would be.

Looking at the broken pile of earth, splayed out on the sidewalk, I felt a sense of pride that I had created something so perfect, and a sense of loss that I ruined it.  Gazing upon what was left, clearly a broken sphere, rounded edges still intact, with the rough inside sections casting shadows, questions arose: which is more beautiful; intact or sectioned, outside or inside, shapes or shadows?  Why was I so drawn to this spherical form and now its broken remnants?

The glass sculptures that I make are an effort to re-create this experience. Openings allow the viewer to peer through the sculptures where distinct separate colored sections are fused together to become one.  Through my work ask questions about precariousness and preciousness, while also recalling my own experiences of being in relationship. The fragility of glass allows a tension to exist between viewer, sculpture and sculptor, hopefully creating a sense of concern for objects that may be considered simultaneously strong yet precarious, beautiful yet breakable.