Stephen Pon

Inspired by doubt, lyricism, symbolism and hieratic subjects, Stephen Pon thus shapes the remains of the forgotten civilizations. In his workshop, fragments of this lost world appear.  In his work, the narrative dimension and attention to detail appeal to our imagination. His sculptural forms broaden the vocabulary of glass by questioning our aesthetic beliefs and how we perceive matter.

In 1997, Stephen Pon acquired his glass skills at the Centre des métiers du verre de Montréal. Since then, he has been a member of the Conseil des Métiers d’Arts du Québec. Both in 2003 and in 2005, he has shown his work in Chicago at SOFA exhibitions. Annually, since 2002, he takes part in the Canadian Glass Show at the West End Gallery, in British Columbia. In addition, his work circulates both in Canada and in the United States via a gallery network. In 2000, he founded his workshop in Lavaltrie.

Well traveled, Pon shares an ethnological view of the world. His work examines the questions that arise in the interface between nature and culture. Pon invites us to interpret his glass sculptures inciting a reflection on non-western civilizations. His sculptural prose calls out to our senses in the form of a palimpsest to reveal what is hidden at the core of all humanity: a latent fragility.

Concerning technical processes, Pon yields to originality in the production of his sculptures. He consolidates three traditional glass-molding techniques: pate de verre, handblown glass, and sand casting. He passes thus from the most ancient glass techniques to the most contemporary ones. Pate de verre, an ancient process, is rarely used by glass artists nowadays. Assembled cold, frit, in addition with metal oxides for coloration, are placed into molds fabricated using the lost wax technique. On occasion, gold leaf is added: once fused with glass, it produces a specific effect with thin suspended particles. The firing is done in segments, with a particular attentiveness imparted to the cooling down process. In effect, the slower the process, a more oxygenated pate de verre results in a soft mat finish. After cooling for several hours, the mould is finally broken, freeing the glass piece to be polished.

Glass blowing consists in introducing air into a mass of viscous molten glass to obtain a cavity. This truly revolutionary approach to glass making requires successive steps. For the gathering, the artist retrieves a ball of molten glass, known as a gather, at the tip of a blowpipe. Then, he rolls the glass on a marver to centre it. Next, he blows into his pipe introducing air into the glass, creating a post, which can now be worked upon with different tools, wet newspaper pads, etc.

The third technique, sand casting, has been most popular over the past thirty years It provides glass with great strength. This technique consists in pouring molten glass into imprints made in sand. The wet sand held in a containment box, previously stamped with a mold, results in a negative imprint of the desired form. When the cast glass reaches about 600°C, it is removed, and placed in the kiln for annealing.

With Pon’s innovative approach of integrating various glass techniques, the artist creates transparent, translucent and colored effects that give his sculptures a unique dimension.