Marvin Lipofsky has been one of the stalwarts of the American studio glass movement, both as an artist and a teacher. He has demonstrated a willingness to explore the unusual in terms of surface and coloring, and he has often incorporated local traditions, colors, techniques, and materials in his work on visits to particular places.
The example seen here began at the Crystalex Hantich factory in Novy Bor, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic), where the basic form was created with the assistance of resident glassmaster Petr Novotny. Invited to Czechoslovakia by well-known glass artists Stanislav Libensky and Jaroslava Brychtova, Lipofsky set about to give the works he would create there some of the distinctive character of the region. He searched the premises of the factory and its site for various pieces of wood and metal and used them as either part of the mold or to alter the molten glass as the blower was forming it. More than twenty of the rough pieces of glass were shipped back to Lipofsky's California studio, where he worked on them over the next three years, using various subtractive processes - cutting, grinding, sandblasting, and acid polishing. Though similar to other works in the series, each piece from the project is a unique sculptural form.
The work we see here displays a sensual quality that takes full advantage of the fluid, changeable glass medium and demonstrates the wide variety of innovative techniques Lipofsky brings to his work. The appearance of the exterior, roughened and muted by the sandblasting and acid polishing, contrasts with the sheen of the interior, much like the shell of a sea creature. In fact, the organic look of the piece suggests a spontaneity that belies the careful alterations the artist undertook after the piece was blown.