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Visiting Artist Workshop Series: Chris Ahalt

Recently, I’ve delved into more sculptural creations in glass. I sculpt hollow animals and figures and string them up as balloons. It’s pushed my understanding of what I can accomplish outside of symmetrical vessels, not to mention a nice reprieve from making functional work.

During this educational demonstration Chris will show his sculpting techniques while creating one of his signature animal balloons.

Sculpted in meticulous detail and bright colors, Chris' animal balloon series depicts strong animals made fragile by delicately balancing, or floating above wire. Chris has created numerous animals from hollow glass including both African and Asian elephants, black and white rhinos, giraffes, hippos, sharks, and whales just to name a few. Hours of intensive work result in deceptively simple animal balloons. They are then sandblasted for a frosted finish, strung up on copper wire with hand-forged ridges emulating real ribbon, and tethered to small weights. The flexibility of the wire enhances the illusion of real balloons slightly swaying back and forth.