Sculpture features ‘depth and distortion’

Jun. 20, 2013 @ 05:14 PM

Chapel Hill glass artist Leigh Hayes uses the phrase “depth and distortion” to explain what fascinates him about working with glass. He points out how light changes the color patterns as one moves about the room and views “Rings of Fire,” his first sculpture.
Hayes will unveil “Rings of Fire” today at Liberty Arts, where the sculpture will be on view beginning at 7:30 for today only. The sculpture sits on a table that Hayes and Liberty Arts member Elijah Leed built at the Liberty studio. Seven multicolored hand-blown plates sit upright in perfect verticals in precisely chiseled grooves.
The inspiration for this work came serendipitously. A photographer was shooting some of Hayes’ glass work to advertise his art. They were packing up Hayes’ art, and to help him pack more quickly, the photographer staged several platters upright. “I saw this, and I stared at it,” Hayes said. “It had the epitome of everything I have ever loved in glass, depth and distortion,” he said.
He wanted to display the colors in a different way, and the idea for a sculpture was born. “Rings of Fire” uses LED lighting to create the color effects, which Hayes compared to a kaleidoscope.
The plates sit in small grooves, which had to be made precise so that the platters would sit vertically, Hayes said. If the platters leaned, they would break. To get the precise cut, Hayes used a ShopBot, a machine made by a Durham company. The ShopBot uses digital technology to make precise cuts in wood, plastic and other materials.
He praised the help Liberty Arts gave him in fabricating “Rings of Fire.” “They call themselves artists, but they are also talented craftspeople,” Hayes said.