Ron Gladkowski has been creating in stained and leaded glass since 1969, and began making terrariums in 1974. He is self taught and learned at a time when there were few supplies available, and much of his glass was "scrounged" from the scrap bins of old, established glass studios. There were no courses available, so he learned much about the craft while sitting over coffee, with some fine glass craftsmen who came to this country early in this century. These were men who loved , and were very proud of what they did.
Working in the "Tiffany" tradition, using copper foil and solder to assemble the glass into terrariums, planters, and flower vases, he explores the relationship between man and nature. All his work is original in design, and related to plants or flowers. "The softness of the plants and flowers contrast with the angles and lines in the design, and bring balance between man's and nature's creations. There is a certain harmony... the terrariums give shelter to the plants... and the plants give life to the terrariums" is the way he sums up his creative philosophy.
He suffered a setback in 1979 when he was seriously burned over 85% of his body in a house fire. While working through recovery, his biggest fear was that he would not be able to work with glass again, but in less than six months, he made his first terrarium. Thanks to great health care and hard work, he regained his abilities, as his strength and dexterity returned, and just 15 months after his accident, he was once again exhibiting at art festivals.
He picked up where he left off, and continued to explore combining glass with plants into grand architectural structures, and truly unique sculptures. Ron seeks to bridge the chasm between craft, and sculpture, with work that combines function with form in a way that has not been attempted before; building expression and emotion into a functional work. "Originality and Innovation are the keys to my creativity, and helps me maintain my integrity", he believes.
" I see shapes in my head, and then make them in glass", was his answer to a question about where he gets his ideas from. "I let my imagination run wild, and then run after it", he continues.... "I love what I do, and consider myself very fortunate to be able to make a living this way, and try to convey that to my customers. My work is not 'static', it is alive, and requires the participation of the owner. Terrariums need just a little care, and that is enough to make an emotional connection. In a way it is 'interactive'... you give it care, and, as it thrives, you receive pleasure."
In addition to marketing his work at art fairs, and a few galleries in the eastern United States, in 1996 Ron found another means of creative expression....The Internet. This opened a new outlet for artistic expression, and design, as well as offering potential for introducing people throughout the world to his glass work. Inquiries have come from Japan, Singapore, and Italy, among other countries, but, so far, he has confined his sales to his home country. This has led to the discovery that his work is truly unique, and occupies a niche of it's own in the world, so, If you do a search on the internet, for "Terrariums", it won't be very long before you come upon his work.
Terrariums by Ron