Michael Glancy’s work is aesthetic, it is scientific, and it might be considered as growing, literally by hand, from a near-molecular vision....objects slowly acquire form and texture, shaped and revealed by cutting, sandblasting, and the application of copper. New forms are then made from existing forms, and the evolution continues.

Tina Oldknow, former curator of the Corning Museum of Glass

Michael Glancy 1950–2020

Born in Detroit in 1950, Michael Glancy earned a BFA from the University of Denver in 1973 and a BFA in sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 1977. Enticed by the “smoke and fire” of glassblowing, Glancy continued his education with glass artist Dale Chihuly, earning an MFA in glass from RISD in 1980.

In 1982, while teaching at Chihuly’s Pilchuck Glass School, he discovered sandblasting and cold-working techniques. He adopted the thick, heavy glass construction of the Italian sommerso and Scandinavian graal, better suited for deep reliefs (in contrast to the Venetian method of blowing paper-thin vessels).

Glancy rarely created stand-alone objects, preferring instead to create dynamic pairings of sculpted objects and the complementary bases on which they were placed. The object and its display platform were thus conceived as forming an aesthetic whole. His signature technique was an electroforming process that creates a thin layer of metal on the glass. The artist (or his assistant) stencil-painted his creations with electrically conductive paint, attached electrodes to the object, and placed the object in a chemical bath of metallic compounds. Introducing an electrical current to the chemical bath transferred the metal plating to the painted surface of the glass, producing a clean and defined separation between the two mediums and resulting in the intricately layered texture of each piece.