Christine Downs
Artist's Statement
Christine Downs in her studio

Glass is mesmerizing. Did you know it is not a solid? Scientifically it is considered a supercool liquid due to it’s unique crystalline structure. There’s no other art medium like it. The combination of color & light alone is magical. It’s depth and visual allure pulls us in, seduces & invites the sense of touch.  We want to swim in it, to feel its warmth or coolness, to look at the world through it.  When such visceral responses as these are experienced, I feel I have created a work of art.

My design inspirations are many for this incredibly diverse medium. Oriental and tribal carpets, and textile designs from around the world especially influence my work. From travels in the Pacific Northwest, Asia and South America, I’ve gained inspiration from traditional and folk crafts of indigenous peoples, spiritual and religious articles, as well as the landscape, vegetation and sense of place. 

The beauty of Oregon, the western landscape, rivers, trees, ocean & my own backyard feed my aboriginal eye & fuel my creativity on a nearly daily basis.

Rich pattern and simplicity of design is a dichotomy I strive to balance. My work often entails cosmic, geometric, zoomorphic & vegetal symbols such as spirals, mandalas, leaves, and other universal symbols and elements of sacred geometry.

Using a variety of techniques, I add visual texture & richness to my works. Combining sheets of glass with glass powders and granules called frit, I often create patterns or images in the glass, removing glass granules as I draw.  This “scraffito” technique’s results sometimes resemble monotype printmaking or wild gestural drawing. Recently I’ve been using glass powder mixed in a gelatinous medium to actually draw lines or “paint” with a palette knife as one would with acrylic paint. Another technique I employ is imbedding designs created by copper sheet or wire between two sheets of glass. The mass of the metal between the two sheets of glass introduces another element to the design: bubbles!  Only partially controllable, bubbles add an airy lightness to many of my works.

My pieces are typically fired at least three times.  I sometimes fire a piece, cut it up & re-fire the cut-up elements into a new design.  I’m always experimenting, in partnership with the glass for inspiration, and permission for what it will allow me to do. As they emerge still warm from the kiln, I sometimes embrace these beloved  “artifacts” to my heart.  My work is dear to me.

Most of my one of a kind glass art objects are usable. I make utilitarian pieces so art will be part of everyday life. I believe art feeds the soul. I make tiles for home installation, plates, bowls & platters, tabletops, jewelry, pet reliquary shrines, framed mirrors and art pieces, window hangings, glass-handled letter openers & ornaments for the Christmas tree.

Glass art has certainly mesmerized me & fed my soul.  I saw a bumper sticker that said, ”ART SAVES LIVES.” Could be.