Lot28

Our Muse | The Blaschka Duo

Jocelyn DeSisto1 Comment

Welcome to week two of the Lot28 Living Room! A huge thank you to everyone who read our post last week and welcome to those of you are just joining us now!  

Getting back into the groove of our new studio, inspiration of form and color was on our mind. Looking around at the colorfully stacked books, we pulled Sea Creatures in Glass from the shelf. 

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Back in the spring, we traveled to Boston with Formlabs for their annual User Summit. A two day event full of the latest in 3D printing, work-flows, and new friends. Growing up just an hour north of Boston I had a good idea of the best spots to visit [ or so I thought ] until someone asked if I have been to the Harvard Natural History Museum. I nodded and took the suggestion [ but had no idea what I was in for! ] 

Stepping into the first room I was totally blown away! Hundreds of anatomically correct botanical glass sculptures were perfectly laid out in cases and up the walls. Each sculpture lay delicately preserved with striking detail. Room after room was filled with sculptures ranging from botany to sea creatures [ I couldn’t believe I had never heard of this before; a match made in heaven! ] 

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Six hours later [ pronounced with dramatic Spongebob effect ] the friends I had come with had left for the airport and I had pushed back dinner with my Nan by three hours in order to spend a little more time in awe of these works. 

The glass models were created by a father- son duo Leopold Blaschka and his son, Rudolf in the mid to late 1800’s. The primary purpose of the work was for research and education though the high level of craftsmanship and artistic relevance was evident. Together they crafted thousands of meticulously detailed marine invertebrates before Harvard commissioned them to make the Glass Flowers collection. 

Their work depicts over 700 different marine species - including anemones, squids, sea stars, and [ my personal favorite ] nudibranchs. Working from Dresden, Germany the duo shipped their sculptures to various academic institutions across the world.  

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The sculptures provided an accurate 3D depiction of soft bodied and fragile elements of nature to the educational setting that would otherwise have been viewed from textbooks. The Blasckhas primarily focused on soft-bodied organism because preserving real-life specimens lost their shape and color. Harvard created a video documenting the intricate detail and preservation of the sea sculptures. 

The duo comes from a long line of glassworkers each who grew up watching and learning from their fathers. Over generations of honing their glass skilled the Blaschka duo developed a unique process for depicting the translucent qualities of their subject matter. The components were formed from both clear and color glass using a combination of lamp working and glass blowing. Other materials such a copper wire, painted paper, and oil paint were applied to depict opaque internal structures. The parts were then fused and assembled into their final complex forms. 

If your in Boston, The Harvard Natural History Museum is a must to check out! Along with Harvard, Cornell University has an extensive collection of the Blaschka work as well as a great film documenting their work and our potential to innovate our way to a sustainable future. 

As for Lot28, we packed up our painting supplies and are heading up to the island of Lot28 for the week. Make sure to check out our Instagram stories for a special look into our process and a glimpse of the Lot28 Island.

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