I am so jealous of artful people. They see things differently from the rest of us. They take a hunk of wood or metal or glass and see something in it that escapes the less discerning eye. They employ creativity with a true talent for bringing something to life from within themselves and their media.
The creator of stacked glass art sees many things in a piece of glass. He sees palm trees and pine trees, cacti and pineapples, angelfish and zebras. He mixes the colors of the glass to enhance some pieces while he says others are better rendered in small, clear panes.
Stacked glass art was founded almost 30 years ago in Mesa, Arizona, when Loren Miller was studying a Saguaro cactus with his artist’s eye. From a simple idea, stacking glass pieces of various sizes atop one another, his first successful piece was created. People he knew started asking him to make cacti for them. And from there his craft grew a following. He started coming up with new ideas such as the pineapple, an angelfish and a zebra made of black and clear glass.
It is 30 years later and he now has over 100 copyrighted designs. He moved to Florida about 15 years ago, which prompted the stacked glass palm tree and the green stacked glass alligator. Celebrities such as Elton John and Aerosmith now have custom-made stacked glass pieces commissioned from Loren by the Jacksonville Memorial Arena.
It is fascinating to watch Loren in action and get familiar with the way he works in the medium of glass. Along the way, he incorporated granite and metal to enhance some of the pieces. A few examples are the palm tree fronds and leafy pineapple tops which are made of painted and polished metal sitting on top of the stacked glass trunks. Then there’s the lighthouse that sits on a granite base with rocky embellishments to give a realistic touch to the outcropping.
Loren’s latest ideas involve adding a business card holder bench to a base with any of his designs beside it. Since each piece is handcrafted, the cardholder benches can be made either horizontally or vertically to accommodate portrait-style business cards.
From there, he came up with a picture frame, also with an item beside it on a granite or glass base. By adding two small panes of glass and standing them upright and close together, you are able to slip a picture between the panes. En voilá! The stacked glass picture frame was invented. Again, being handcrafted, Loren can accommodate different sized photos. Or he suggests adding a mat to a 4 x 6 photo to make it 5 x 7 and add a nice touch to the piece. Loren was most recently inspired to create what he has dubbed the Tropical Breeze Collection. Although he admits that crossing two palm trees so that they lean in opposite directions is straying from realism, he also admits that he likes the look of the pieces in this new line.
The granite bases for some stacked glass art items, like the lighthouse, are random in shape while others are polished and smoothed to a finished rectangle. Loren also uses rectangular pieces of glass for bases that help the pieces blend with any décor in the home, office, or vacation home.
Loren can make any of the pieces of stacked glass art in various sizes as well. In this way, he can mix and match bases, colors, and designs with one or more items attached to the base. For instance, he can build two palm trees on a granite base, or one large green cactus on glass base, or two blue dolphins, which are among my favorites, on individual bases.
I feel fortunate to have befriended such a talented artist. I am always astounded when someone asks Loren for a custom-made stacked glass piece and he instantly goes about finding ways to accommodate them. Yeah, I’m jealous, but lucky to know such a gifted artist.