Ron Van Der Vlugt
Born in Rotorua New Zealand, the heart of the volcanic plateau and having spent most of my life here, the area was very familiar and taken somewhat for granted. As I got older however, I came to appreciate the extraordinary environment and could see the fascination the area held for people from all over the world.
As my glass blowing technique developed, I wanted to capture the physical aspects of colour and design of the geothermal landscape, and express something of the immense untapped energy of this environment in glass. After all, Obsidian (naturally occurring glass) is the result of thermal activity and it seemed obvious to me that the medium of hot glass lended itself perfectly to expressing the textures and colour of geothermal activity.
This led to a period of experimentation and research into a technique developed hundreds of years ago, aimed at producing a ‘crackle’ effect on the exterior of a glass vessels. This technique involves plunging blown glass at about 800 degrees celsius into cold water. The resulting abrupt release of energy and thermal shock of the sudden change of temperature produces the external crackling texture revealing the underlying transparency that is best revealed by displaying the work in natural sunlight or with artificial lighting.