These delicate glass models of jellyfish are encased by and incorporated into glass tubes giving the appearance of study specimens. Each jellyfish is made individually using a wide range of specialist glass making skills but it is the artist’s creative ability together with this mastery of his craft that has produced these exquisite and unique creatures which have been compared to those of Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka.
Steffen Dam, precise and analytical, spent the first ten years mastering his craft; blowing, casting and grinding, practising and experimenting to achieve perfection. However, he noticed that the unwanted blemishes, the tiny air bubbles and marks, held a certain beauty which he decided to explore. Fifteen years later, these anomalies have been mastered and incorporated into his work and these glass sculptures are the result. He explained at the Rakow Commission lecture, presented as part of the Corning Museum’s Annual Seminar that his cylinders do not contain anything that lives, commenting that although the specimens are plausible, they are not of this world. Dam has created an imaginative and delightful journey into the ocean’s depths.
Although many colours can be seen in these little creatures, Steffen Dam uses only transparent glass in his workshop. Silver foil and a welding torch are practically the only tools used to produce these hues and it is his self-taught expertise, which enables him to create the enormous variety of subtle shades and draw out the long metallic tendrils from beneath the canopy of the jelly fish.
Dam’s immense creativity was recognised by the Corning Museum of Glass in New York State in the US and he was appointed to produce the 27th Rakow Commission for the Museum. A lecture by him on his work can be viewed on their website.
Permanent Collections and Installations:
The Rakow Commission at The Corning Museum of Glass, 2012
The Victoria & Albert Museum London, UK
Museum of Arts and Design Collection New York, US
Glasmuseet Ebeltoft Denmark
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg Germany
The Danish Museum of Decorative Art Copenhagen Denmark
The Anneberg Collections Nykøbing S. Denmark
The Danish Arts Foundation
The private collection of Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II
Nykredit Copenhagen Denmark
Seven Bridges Foundation, CT