Alison Berger: How to Capture Light

People / Products / October 19, 2016

Alison Berger started out young, catching lightning bugs and slipping them into mason jars.

By the time she was 15, she was blowing glass.

Now she’s creating site-specific works of art and craftsmanship designed to capture light in the landscape – at different times of day, in changing seasons.

Her medium is light and her material is glass, and with them she creates light fixtures, functional objects, furnishings, and large-scale sculptures.

“I’m drawn to the music of working with a material so alive and on fire,” she says. “You have to be at your best, with different illuminations that I liken to the notes of piano – lights that are like sound.”

Her firm, Alison Berger Glassworks, specializes in products like her Camera Obscura, designed to fit in front of a landscape, with moveable lenses to arrive at a focal point – and transition from day to night easily.

“It’s about contemplation, glowing quietly to bring a different rhythm into your day, the same way you notice the sun coming in from window and hitting on a wall to create a different vibration,” she says. “In the last few moments of the day – the most beautiful – everything lights up an feels like it’s on fire, with amber light across the landscape.”

Her work captures different hours of the clock and different minutes of the season, using space as a canvas for different times of day. It’s about how peaceful and relaxing someone’s life can be, enveloped inside a space that she’s frozen momentarily in time.

“The pieces I make cast specific times of day when light passes through in a certain way,” she says. “These are innovative glass techniques on the cutting edge of metal fabrication, that push the parameters of what the pieces can do.”

She did her graduate work at Columbia, and was an undergraduate at the Rhode Island School of Design. Her work’s in the permanent collection at the Corning Museum of Glass, and has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art. And now she has a new book of her work out, from Rizzoli.

It features a foreword by Holly Hunt, in whose showroom her work can also be found.

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Mike Welton

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