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Capturing the Glory of Nature in Glass

Text by Susan Tully, ASID, WELL AP

ASID NY Metro member, Abby Modell, is an is an award-winning glass artist whose work captures color, fluidity, and strength. She specializes in "wow" pieces that make a statement of either color or unexpected design. Many pieces are embellished with her original technique of adding textural and reflective elements through a process called DiamondDust™. Inspired by elements of the earth’s natural rock formations, Abby says that "adding fire-polished glass, Swarovski crystals, mirror, dichroic, and faceted glass assemblages allows me to merge depth and reflection onto each object."

The natural swirling formations of the stars and infinite reflections of the night sky" inspired Abby’s current "Galaxy Collection," which she says draws on the "natural beauty of the earth’s rock crystals as imagined in the celestial night sky. I strive to transform glass, crystals, and luminous mirror finishes into an expression of my contemporary vision." Some pieces in this collection of wall installations feature swirls or ombres of glass and crystals in a variety of color palettes, while the more geometric "Starburst" pieces draw upon supernovas and vibrant star formations.

A separate piece, "Landscape in Rainbow," creates a visual journey of clear, luscious colors. Abby says that this installation "intertwines negative and positive space with floating waves of glass… Spheres of glass in patterns and clusters seem effortlessly suspended in place." This piece is currently available from the Wit Gallery in Lenox, Massachusetts, and can be seen at the Canyon Ranch there.

One of her most memorable projects was an elaborate, glimmering glass chandelier for Bloomingdale’s Holiday Windows in New York City in 2016. Abby subsequently created a collection of LED sculptural lamps. More recent pieces incorporate stainless steel, as she continues to expand her palette and her techniques.

Glass is a very challenging medium, since the solid yet fragile pieces are created through constant motion while the material is hot and fluid. Abby says, "I welcome the journey each piece brings me on during its creation. Flexibility in design and being open minded is key. That process of not always knowing how everything will turn out is part of the fun and challenge of each studio session." She guides each step of the process to ensure that the finished piece realizes her vision, and notes that "understanding the exacting process helps me to appreciate each work of art and its ultimate beauty."

As you might expect for an artist so inspired by nature, Abby emphasizes the sustainability of her medium and her studio practice. Her studio is zero-waste certified. Glass is recyclable, and Abby’s applied glass uses recycled materials.

Abby’s work has been featured in numerous designer showhouses and fine art fairs, corporate and private collections, galleries, hotels, select exhibits, and museums. She works with designers on commissioned projects, and some of her pieces are available through Lorin Marsh at the 200 Lex Design Center.


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