In the course of creating my new Jazz in Glass Collectors Series I have met some wonderfully talented artists. One is the gifted musician, Tristan, the 17 year-old son of glass sculptor, Latchezar Boyadjiev. (www.latchezarboyadjiev.com)
The cold work—cutting, polishing, fitting stoppers etc—for the Jazz In Glass Series and Rollatinis is done at the Boyadjiev studio.
When we stopped by to pick up some finished pieces, Latch was listening to a jazz station and asked if we would like to hear his son Tristan play the Dave Brubeck song “Take Five”, the jazz number that inspired the large yellow “Take Five” piece.
It turned out that Latch is a big jazz fan, and his two sons, Tristan and Chris, are students of jazz as well as classical music. Both of his sons play the saxophone with great skill.
Here’s a video clip of Tristan’s performance. (Take a look at Latch’s extraordinary glass sculptures behind Tristan.)
Here’s a little back-story that will make you laugh: The younger son, Chris, 11 years old, listened as his brother played, but soon faded off to another room. And now, wafting up from below, was Chris playing “Take Five” on his saxophone, making the statement “I can do that!” Both of these remarkable kids were quick to answer my trite question: “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” “Practice!” (An Interesting response, as Tristan has to decide soon if he wants to accept scholarships to Julliard, NYU or the famed Berklee College of Music in Boston.)
The Gurgle Decanter—Origin of the “Take Five” Bottle
During my first full year at Blenko in 1953, a fellow Alfred University ceramic student from Germany paid us a visit. As a gift, she brought me a book with a photo of a traditional glass liquor bottle with straw-sized tubes that infused bubbles into the drink as it was poured. The caption for the photo claimed it made a little “gurgling” sound when the bubbly liquid was poured. I liked the gurgle idea, and created a design of stacked spheres that would restrict the flow of liquid as it poured out, hoping to duplicate the claimed gurgle sound. It did not, but the shape sold well, so the Gurgle Decanter took on a life of its own. The Gurgle also reminds me of those unique glass beakers and tubes seen in the laboratories of mad scientists of the 1950s science fiction shows.
That vintage Gurgle was on my mind when I created the design for the Jazz in Glass “Take Five” bottle. (The green decanter on the left in the photo above is the Gurgle decanter. I named the amber bottle in the middle the Spindle, and the blue bottle the Spool.) Great thanks to Bob Porath for the photo.
I wanted the new “Take Five” piece to be bigger, so I designed it to have five sections (four in the bottle and a fifth for the stopper.)
Finally Able to Take Five from the “Take Five”
I’m finally able to breath a great sigh of relief after months of several failed attempts trying to blow the “Take Five” design into molds that didn’t work. We almost abandoned this concept. Gathering and shaping the molten glass for this foot-and-a-half-long piece without it deforming or stretching out too thin for blowing or too thick to fit into the mold, proved to be very difficult. My vintage 1950’s Gurgle decanter has three identical sphere-like sections which blew out much easier than my Jazz In Glass “Take Five”. Note that the sections in the JIG version get wider at the bottom, making it easier for the molten glass to flow downward into the mold. The piece is now made in a very special mammoth-sized cherry mold, hand-carved by one of the very few wooden mold makers still working. The Take Five piece is made at Effetto Glassworks in Richmond, CA. Number one of the limited edition of 50 is now available. It is a brilliant cadmium yellow, cased over crystal.
It would have been so much easier if only Dave Brubeck had called his radical composition “Take Four”!
Note: Subscribe below to "Can We Talk?" to receive notification whenever I publish a new blogpost, and announcements of deals in the Gallery Store.
My posts for "Can We Talk?" are the basis for a crowd-sourced book project, and I welcome your comments and input for inclusion in the book. You will receive credit.