Jared and Nicole Davis, A Feature in Vail Valley Magazine February 15 2022, 0 Comments
The following article about Jared and Nicole Davis's hand blown glass art is featured in Vail Valley Magazine's Winter 2022 Publication
CARVING THROUGH COLOR
UNIQUE GLASS SCULPTURE WITH A NATURAL TWIST
AT RAITMAN ART GALLERIES
by KIMBERLY NICOLETTI
So much glass art is abstract, but Jared and Nicole Davis’ pieces are distinctive. They re-envision the natural world through their one-of-a-kind pieces, which combine high-gloss shine and powdered, sandblasted glass.
Inspired by the mountains, skies, rivers, deserts and animals of Colorado and the greater Southwest region, the Davises’ glasswork captures the textures, lines and flow of nature in unexpected ways.
“Riverways,” one of their signature series, masterfully balances layers of color, texture and sandblasted reliefs with high-gloss glass. They recreate delicate curves and details of specific waterways with a special technique. After transforming glass in its red hot liquid form into a unique vessel, the Davises coat part or all of it in powdered glass. This adds captivating dimensions, making the glass resemble stone or ceramic. Then, they sandblast the powdered glass, cutting away portions of the opaque outer layer to reveal the shiny, jewel-toned transparent glass on the inside.
“Carving through the layers of color is fairly unique to us, as far as I know,” Jared says. “It’s like painting in reverse. We layer and then carve through the layers, following the path of actual rivers and accentuating real features, like trees or sandstone bluffs or valleys.”
Each piece tells the waterway’s natural story; as viewers walk around the glasswork, they discover new perspectives through various angles, colors and shapes that arise. Light reflecting and bouncing off the various aspects of the vessel delivers even more visual intrigue.
“Contemporary glass has usually been thought of as a decorative art, but I believe it can have an interesting and powerful narrative,” Nicole says.
Through their representational landscapes, the couple hopes viewers will connect the fragility of glass with the fragility of the environment.
“Even though it’s grandiose, it is a fragile landscape — especially the desert,” Jared says. “By seeing it in glass, maybe people will make that connection between the fragile material and the landscape. As a piece, it should deserve that respect, but so should the landscape that it’s inspired from.”
Animals also inform the Davises’ pieces. Their mouth-blown glass antlers and antler chandeliers bring a modern twist to traditional mountain decor.
“They’ve done a brilliant job of taking something that’s a classic Colorado subject and making it super contemporary — something people won’t tire looking at,” says Brian Raitman, co-owner of Raitman Art Galleries.
Like their “Riverways,” their antlers flow with vibrant colors that reflect nature.
Just as the Davises achieve compositional balance within juxtapositions of opaque, powdered glass and jagged lines set against soft, curving, glossy shapes, the couple has also succeeded in working together seamlessly, when others said it wasn’t possible. Working with glass is physically and mentally demanding; it’s a process that requires patience with oneself and others, as well as clear communication.
“It takes a lot of coordination. You have to know all the steps perfectly, so we talk it through — or it crashes and burns and we figure it out,” Jared says. “People who come to our studio say it’s like watching somebody dance. It’s a two-person tango. When you’re able to create something together, it makes it that much more special.”
The couple’s partnership defines their artistic approach, which they learned from top Swedish glassblowers. They spent two years in Sweden studying under Jan-Erik Ritzman and Sven Åke Carlsson, who taught glassblowing with just two
partners, as opposed to the Italian style of four or five people. Since 1998, the Davises have honed their own elegant style, which stands as a feature in art collections worldwide.
“It’s not hard to make a beautiful piece of glass once you know what you’re doing, but the trick is to also make it interesting,” Nicole says. “One of my favorite things to hear is, ‘I’ve never seen anything like that before.’ Then, I feel like I’m doing my job.”