My body of work examines the relationships we have with animals and their larger presence in our world and the current environment. The result is a series of fantastical microcosms, which bring a consciousness and introspection to their decorative appeal. These glass sculptures tell and reveal a story about the fragility and preservation, within these small worlds, where the animals dwell, while presenting their role in the grander scheme of life.
We live in a time when our smallest decisions can affect our environment in unpredictable ways. As a conscientious and decisive inhabitant, I am constantly weighing my choices in my attempts to choose the lesser evil. I present a gentle mirror allowing us to examine our contradictory world. There is a curiosity, which informs my work and what maybe seen in my toy-like animals, and, most importantly, what they see when they look back at us.
Currently, my focus is directed toward elephants because of their unique role as a beloved childhood toy, a popular decorative figure in the history of glassmaking, and its survival as a perilously threatened species.
An integration of traditional Venetian glassblowing and various cold working processes, I am drawn to working with cane and murrini techniques and have a vested interest in exploring the language of line, pattern, and color. Influenced by the unconventional forms and patterning of mid-century Venetian Masters, it is the work of Napoleone Martinuzzi, Carlo Scarpa, and contemporary masters including Dick Marquis and Toots Zynsky, which are most present in my glass art.
Claire Kelly graduated from Alfred University in 1996 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. In 2004 she was granted the EnergyXchange fellowship in Burnsville, North Carolina. In 2008 she moved to Providence, Rhode Island to work with acclaimed glass artist Toots Zynsky. She has been an instructor at Penland School of Crafts, Pilchuck Glass School, the Pittsburgh Glass Center, The Studio at the Corning Museum of Glass, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, and the Centro Fundacion del Vidrio in Spain.
She has been a resident artist at the Pittsburgh Glass Center and received the Rosenberg Residency at Salem State University in Massachusetts. Recently, she was an artist-in-residence at the Studio of the Corning Museum of Glass where she created a new body of work using specialty glass from Effetre, a glass company based in Murano, Italy.
She continued her exploration and discovery with Effetre’s glass at a residency at Salem Art Works in Salem, New York in September of 2018. Claire was also selected to be a demonstrating artist at the Glass Art Society Conference in Venice, Italy in 2018 as well as a visiting resident artist at the Museum of Glass, Tacoma, Washington in the fall of 2018. Her work is on view at Duncan McClellan Gallery in St. Petersburg, Florida at the exhibition “Vibrant Perspectives.”