Bloomington glass blower shows work at CAC exhibit
Area residents pile discarded glass bottles around the Mack Glass sign at Jason Mack's warehouse studio in Bloomington.
This kind of collaboration is exactly what the sculptor wants from his fans.
Probably best-known in Bloomington-Normal for the shimmering glass Christmas tree he makes each year for the community, Mack, 28, likes to create his work with an audience watching. "Half the piece is people being there during the process and contributing, either by watching or by bringing in bottles," Mack said.
Mack works in post-consumer glass. As a cash-strapped sculptor recently-graduated from art school at Illinois State University, he decided to work in recycled glass because it was free. Using less expensive material gives him more opportunity for experimentation and allows him to work big.
What Mack didn't anticipate was how much time he would spend learning how to make the material work for him. Information on expansion and contraction that help an artist work in hot glass are readily available with new glass, not so when pulling beer bottles out of the recycle bin.
"It took me about a year of experimenting to get to the point where I could make the glass do what I wanted," Mack said. "Now I can make it flow like water or thick like molasses, depending on what kind of work I'm doing."
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