Experience Optical Phantasm in Glass Art

Scott Pernicka’s Optical Phantasm Glass Art

In glass art, Scott Pernicka has created a unique display of contemporary, cutting edge, magical spheres that draw you into a new dimension and inspires a sense of wonder.

Pernicka takes Borosilicate glass from a solid to a gas form by heating the glass to 3000 degrees Fahrenheit, and then mixes his choice of rich metals for color. Using physics, he transforms the metals into several optical ranges, creating a never-ending optical phantasm that descends with a scintillating design of fulgid colors of the rainbow.

Gaze into the “galaxy” with your secret telescope into Pernicka’s favorite sphere, “Comets and Planets”. The comets are created from chunks of gold and silver. The planets are round opal gemstones and the stars are pieces of gold, silver and crushed opal. Dive into the ocean with Pernicka’s sphere “Ocean Seascape”, a convolution of colors of the sea.

The “Dichroic Swirl” sphere, Pernicka's signature piece and most popular in sales, took seven years to design and catapulted his business and himself into an award-winning and respected glass artist. He designed the “Dichroic Swirl” by folding crystalized metals in half and then spread them in different directions, as the hot glass swirled into a vortex. He also creates a variety of mesmerizing custom jewelry that  can be worn as a pendant or necklace.

Picture by Sarah Pezdek

Pernicka started playing with glass over twenty years ago. His mother was an integral staple in his art education, involving him in craft projects, like ceramics and leather working.   Born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico, he was captivated by the stunningly vivid, starry night skies, which later influenced his signature Pernicka spheres.

In college, Pernicka took up sculpting and painting, but struggled to afford his tuition and art supplies, so he was forced to drop out. Three years later, he turned to glass blowing. So why glass? “Glass is the third most collectible thing in the world. I like the way the glass plays with light; its translucent color. I then started studying the optical quality of glass and how it bends light,” he said. And his glass art career was born.

Initially, Pernicka did not expect that living off his glass art would be attainable, fearing he would fail as an artist. He is still astonished at how successful the last five years have been for his business.

“The art is very cave-man,” Pernicka said, “man using fire and tool…instinctual behavior. What I’m creating is contemporary sophisticated art that uses physics to get the most out of the material.”

Each Pernicka glass art sphere is handmade and takes between one and twelve hours to create and twenty years of experience. “Every moment I must be at my best -- each time I sell my best piece, it's like starting all over,” he said. His next challenge is to make a twelve-inch sphere. His newer works will incorporate LED lights and how they play with the glass.

Pernicka sells his creations worldwide and will exhibit his blown glass works at the prestigious Coconut Grove Arts Festival in Florida, taking place this February 18-20, 2017. He also plans to travel to London to introduce his artwork. He works from his studio in Upstate New York. A proud father of three, his children are his everything. He declared them, “The best thing I ever made!”

To see more of Scott Pernicka’s “magical spheres,” check out his website.