Rene Culler takes a painterly approach to glassblowing, selecting and combining colors to create objects that suggest a mood. With her "Smoke" series in ecru and turquoise, the soft surface quality of the glass is enticing to the touch like a worn, semiprecious stone. Visually, the combination of transparent and translucent light-reactive glasses resembles fire-born igneous stone.
Culler's process involves smoke and steam as she shapes the glass using wet paper or blocks. First, she fuses glass colors and rolls them up using the traditional Murano pastorelli technique. The actual glassblowing takes place after much preparation in cutting, fusing, rolling the plate, and making cups from which to work. After a surface cleaning, the cup is picked up and the design is distorted with a tool to create the "smoke" effect. The smoky bubble is gathered over with clear glass and then blown into the desired form. Great care must be taken during blowing as each color responds differently to the heat. Upon cooling, the surface of the object is sandblasted and resin-waxed. There are no shortcuts to create these special works of glass.
Culler has blown glass for more than twenty years, and delights in her recent work. Her work has appeared in many collections and publications, including "500 Glass Objects," published by Lark Books.