Greenland: An Inside Look at Nature's Abstraction

An article about the melting ice caps of Greenland in National Geographic moved me to create sculptures to both mimic and honor the frozen monoliths as they melt away.

As a child my dad would gift me a subscription to National Geographic every year for the holidays and I just loved reading them. Much of my work is influenced by the photos I would see there.

One of my favorite articles was about the melting polar ice caps in Greenland. The coloration of the photos profoundly touched me, and I began to think about how I could re-create the colors and textures through glass.

I was especially drawn to a photo of a meltwater carved canyon that was 150 deep, that had black splotches of cryoconite made from debris of distant deserts, fires, coal plants, and diesel engines mingled with ice, meltwater and snow.


This inspired me to develop a technique to blow shards into the glass, similar to how I create lagoon. Then I take a glass “pencil” like drawing utensil that George heats up and I wrap it over and over again around each the shards, to create the texture of the National Geographic photo.

Painting around the shards reminds me of a lamp that I had when I was a child in the living room of my home. It had a layer of white glass under 70’s style art glass with painted lead-like lines on it to make it look like stained glass, even though it wasn’t.

I loved to sit underneath the lamp and stare at it, taking in the array and textures of the colors and studying the way the lines were drawn on the glass.

Each time I do this I’m instantly transported back to my childhood, and my fond memories of the lamp.

Then I dust on a tiny bit of black glass to represent the cryoconite and back it with sheets and sheet of silver foil to create a mirror effect.


I do all of the coloration externally on the surface of the glass, leaving the front to be a window-like diorama of clear glass, drawing the viewer into its inner world so that you get pulled into the the inner parts of the piece, where my focus was to capture the essence of water flowing. 

Stay tuned for a process video of me making Greenland!