Glassblower Bryan Randa shares his craft
Inside the newly expanded studio behind his Pocasset home – the carefree sounds of The Beach Boys juxtaposing the intensity of the flames blazing from a torch – Randa demonstrates, with an ease that is seemingly second nature, the lampworking process, which he employs to make his popular small-scale pieces. “I have to focus on keeping this base warm – that’s the biggest thing. If that cracks, it’s pretty much over,” he noted as he sculpted a piece featuring a sea horse. But how exactly does Randa know the base is warm enough not to crack? “Experience, I suppose,” he says. “It’s knowing how long you have with your internal clock. There’s an internal timer that you get when you’re making glass – you get a window of what you can get away with – and you get used to it. The crazier it gets – the more stuff, the bigger it is – the harder it is to control that timer and be in tune with it.”
What’s striking about Randa’s work, especially his sea creatures, is the life-like detail achieved – how every piece appears to be in motion, full of spirit. “That’s my main goal with glass – that when you look at it, it makes you move with it,” Randa says. In addition to his nautical-themed creations, Randa also has a series of contemporary, vibrant vases and bowls that feature tiny figural men positioned on them in various scenes. “A lot of glassblowers are conceptual… I’m not really like that,” he says, explaining, “I’m more factual with what the piece is and what it’s doing,” though he recognizes that subjective interpretations will naturally occur anyway. Take, for instance, his bowl design that includes two figurines reaching out to each other – their action is literal, but the viewer could imagine a conversation between the male figures.
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