Michael Mikula is always looking up - examining the built environment for its patterns, forms and details to spark his imagination. For more than two decades Michael has explored a process using multi-part graphite molds as a tool for introducing imagery into blown glass. He calls the resulting body of work which highlights the visual effects of positive and negative form “Architechtonic Blown Glass”.
With a jazz-like sense of improvisation, Michael composes graphite molds from a large and growing library of interchangeable hand cut components. No two compositions are ever alike. After Michael prepares his unique mold compositions, he starts each blown form by capping the blow pipe with colored glass. He then “gathers” successively thicker layers of molten clear glass from the furnace until he has enough to fill the mold.
Standing above the mold, Michael drops the glass, still attached to the blow pipe, into the mold and puffs more air through the blow pipe into the molten glass. He then quickly removes the hardening glass form from the pipe, placing it into the annealing oven for a timed cooling process.
Michael says, "Think of a Louise Nevelson sculpture to imagine what a mold looks like as molten glass fills the form - taking it's shape in reverse. My use of color is purposefully understated to focus attention on form and how the imagery and light is captured and reflected through the glass. My goal is that each piece be a well designed and crafted object with integrity and lasting value".
Michael also continues to make a series of related functional and sculptural blown glass vessels. These were the genesis of his current sculptures and use the same graphite mold elements.