Josh Simpson Contemporary Glass

Simpson-Besett Collaborative Planet
Simpson-Besett Collaborative Planet

Tektites

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I began making Tektite glass (from the Greek tektos, meaning "molten") years ago, when a friend did a spectrographic analysis of a type of meteorite composed of glass, known scientifically as tektite.

Tektite meteor glass is a combination of silica and a melange of metallic oxides that are abundant in the universe. It's profoundly different from the smooth, voluptuous crystal I usually work with. It's rough, dark, bubbly, and was never meant to be blown. By combining the right proportions of raw materials, I was able to re-create meteorite glass in my studio, and I started to make my own Tektites. Many glass factories talk about how they make "perfect crystal" - colorless sterile glass without bubbles, striations or other technical flaws. For me, Tektites are perfect crystal, they were made in heaven, eons before humans existed. Tektites and New Mexico glass are totally different, but to me, they're all part of the same continuum. When I make a platter, the New Mexico glass becomes a painting of the sky, while Tektite glass looks more like something that has hurtled into our world from above. Crystal glass is the ultimate malleable medium, Tektite glass has an uncooperative mind of its own. One minute it's liquid, a moment later it's stone. I can guide it but ultimately it becomes its own creation.

"In developing the Tektites, Simpson returned to his earlier formulas for iridescent glass, finding a new purpose for techniques he had used for his Tiffany-style wares. The Tektites may be favorably compared with the Lava glassware made by Louis Comfort Tiffany, a series of small vessels with rough, dark, partially iridescent exteriors and interiors. Unlike Tiffany, however, whose inspiration was archaeological, Simpson's impulse was extraterrestrial."

- Constantina Oldknow, from Josh Simpson: New Work, New Worlds