Marcel Braun has been creating masterful works of art for nearly 18 years. We recently had an opportunity to talk with Marcel and learn more about his story as a flame worker.
My friends Jason Lee and Chris Dawson were blowing glass in Corvallis Oregon in the late 90’s, just as the glass pipe movement was starting. Being in Corvallis, outside of the more developed but very secretive Eugene scene, really helped us to look inward and support each others visions. It was a bit of an us against them kind of mentality that really accelerated our creativity. Later on, I took classes with Brian Kerkvliet who kind of gave me the glass equivalent of the unified field theory. Much of the information I have been privileged enough to share stems from my work with Brian.
What inspires your work? Are there particular themes that stand out in your mind that you tend to focus towards?
I’m very process oriented, a glassblower’s glassblower. The real work that I do, the important stuff, is process and tooling design. There are trinkets to pay the bills, and big grand art projects like “daybreak”, but more than anything, it’s being part of a movement. We are new artists and new collectors. Not quite part of the traditional studio glass movement, more like its reflection, or red headed stepchild. We are a new paradigm. Our status is measured by what we give, not what we have.
Do you have a particular technique with your glass work that you’re known for?
Lately I have been working with an old Italian technique called reticello. Normally it is only done at the furnace, but I have recently adapted it to working at the torch.
Do you have a favorite artist that inspires your work?
Nick Labino once said, “Art is art and technology is technology. But technology comes before art: it’s the scientist that leads the way and art is always behind.”, He brought the glass furnace to the party and helped change the game by closing the gap between the factory and the artist.
How do you collaborate with other artists on a piece and do you have a certain artist that you collaborate with often?
Collaborations are spontaneous, someone will call or I will call someone and we will bounce ideas off of each other, this usually leads to a week to a month of working in the shop. The design process begins with ideas, what we want the piece to symbolize, how we want it to be interpreted by the viewer then we move to the white board where we begin drawing and erasing our designs till we come up with the piece we are envisioning. Then we map out the schedule and goal list for each day of the collaboration, gather the materials, pick a starting point and go full force. We fire up the kilns, furnaces and light the torches.
How long does it generally take to complete a project?
Generally somewhere between a day to a month, depending on the size and scope.
Where can people see some of your work?
I am actually having an opening at Goosefire Gallery in Long Beach, March 16. My work is also featured at the Dementia stores in LA, private collections, and online.