Christopher R. Belleau Artist Statement:
There are many reasons why I work with glass. Though I was trained as a potter, apprenticing at age 13 to a craftsman from my home town in Wisconsin, I was eventually drawn to the more ethereal, fluid and translucent qualities of glass. But what really hooked me was the opportunity glass provides to play with color. I am the only glass blower in Rhode Island that makes colored glass from the raw ingredients on a regular basis. This allows for variations of intensity of hue, tone and depth which are not available with commercial colors. Recently, I have been experimenting with iridizing hot glass. I am captivated by the rainbow flow of colors with the variations of metallic and matt surface textures.
One of the aspects I truly enjoy about my profession is teamwork. Most of what I make requires the skill of another set of hands. I have the good fortune of working with many talented assistants. They have all brought with them unique ideas and ways of working from which I have learned and benefited.
The main focus of my work for the last 16 years has been the creation and production of glass flowers. Initially, I didn't even want to make flowers. A lot of glass blowers were doing them and they all looked pretty much the same. But the challenge of rendering these natural subjects in glass soon caught my imagination and I was on fire with ideas. I'm not attempting to make botanical specimens. Instead, I am making works of art inspired by nature. One of the tools I use to make flowers I developed for another purpose, making fish fins. I now have a line of more than 30 flower forms ranging from familiar flowers and exotics to purely fanciful. The most popular flower in my line is the iris. Though I make many flowers, each one is a unique creation requiring intense concentration and often great skill to produce.
In addition to flowers, I make many different types of vases, paperweights, perfume bottles, jewelry and other sculpture. One of my favorite things to make is glass fish. I am inspired by the infinite varieties and patterns of fish in nature. I enjoy letting my imagination run wild in their design.
I hope that the viewer finds my work to have a sense of beauty, magic, and maybe, even humor. It is a pleasure for me to share what I do. I find it all great fun and an endless challenge.