Infinity Art Glass
Now available at My American Crafts, Infinity Art Glass, the glass studio by Scott Hartley. Scott is a master glassblower. His pieces are some of the most unique glass sculptures in the industry that take a tremendous amount of strength to create. Each piece is hand made and given a lot of attention to detail. Watch this great documentary explaining everything you need to know about this great artist.
Where Infinity Art Glass Began
For Scott Hartley it started in Church. A Sunday Bulletin placed in his hands. The texture of the paper, and the folded sheets. The shadows made by the curve in the paper. They all created sparks of designs in his mind. Scott had art in his blood passed down from his parents.
He grew up experimenting with different forms of art. Graphite Pencil, then Two-Dimensional Art. This was a great outlet. Art would always play a huge role in his life.
Graduating as Valedictorian he attended college. A small liberal arts school that had an amazing science department. His goals were to play basketball, get a degree in biology, and go to Medical school. However, he found out that biology was not what he loved. He also realized that what matters is the impact you have on others. So he became a High School Biology teacher.
Life was great. He married his high school sweetheart. Started a wonderful family. And as a teacher was making a difference in the lives of children. Though something was missing, something important in his life was not there. It was Art.
Glass is science and it is art, the perfect combination. It is hard work, huge physical demands. It is mentally demanding and not always safe. Glass Art is the perfect thing for Scott to do. So with the blessing and the help of friends and family Scott quit teaching and escaped into Art, and thus Infinity Art Glass was born.
The Rest of the Journey for Infinity Art Glass
So Scott and Gwen Hartley began the search for a home for Scott’s Glass. They found a “Needs some love and care” building in Benton, Kansas. The building was owned by a woodworker just 10 minutes outside of Wichita.
The space was perfect for what they would need for a Gallery. And for a Hot Shop and for a Cold Shop so the Glass Art could be melted, made, and polished. The Hartley team loved the history of the building which was once a Blacksmith's shop.
Hard work and moving a lot of saw dust. It was after all a woodworking shop. Then renovations to bring in the furnaces and tools of glass. Now it is 2004 and the Glass Studio began to take shape.
Then after 14 years Scott, true to his form of Art and Family, did another renovation. This one restored the Gallery closer to the original building style. The ceilings were raised to expose original wood beams. Then two years later in 2020 he updated the Furnace Hot shop.
How Infinity Art Glass is Made
It is amazing that glass comes from three basic parts. Sand, Ash, and Lime, that is all. The Sand is Silica. The Ash is Soda Ash, and Lime is Calcium Carbonate. Combine these three elements. Add color oxides of mineral or metal or sulfides. Put in a furnace between 1300 and 2500 degrees and you have glass.
1. It starts with Heat
The only way to get the heat needed to melt glass is with Natural Gas. and at up to 2500 degrees the glass needs to melt for 24 hours before creating with it.
Steve mixes all his own blends to create the glass he wants. Natural Gas is expensive so that is another important element. The Glass Furnaces run 7 days a week all year long all day every day. This way the glass remains the same texture. This creates a great starting place for what comes next.
2. Gathering the Molten Glass with a Blowpipe
Scott uses a Blowpipe to get gathers of molten glass from the furnace. A blowpipe is a hollow steel pipe up to 6 feet long. The bigger the pipe the bigger the piece of glass. For really large glass art Scott must get many layers of molten glass.
3. Shaping the Glass
Now using wood blocks he will shape the glass. Blowing air into the pipe Scott will expand the glass. Wet newspapers, special shaping molds and a steel table will also help shape the form. Brute strength, swinging the glass, gravity and lots of skill are all part of the art.
4. Constant heating, cooling, and reheating
All these techniques are applied while keeping the glass almost red hot. He uses a reheating chamber that can be as hot as 2700 degrees. When the creation is done the glass artist breaks it off the pipe. Precise marks and skill are needed to do this safely for the artist and the glass.
5. Annealing Oven for Gradual Cooling
The glass is then put in an Annealing Oven. That is an oven that slowly cools the glass to room temperature. This can take 2 to 4 days. That cooling keeps the glass from stress and cracking. The last steps are cutting and grinding if needed. Polishing and cleaning next. Then Scott signs each piece he has created.
Scott Hartley Glass Master of Infinity Art Glass
Now you can find Infinity Art Glass at My American Crafts, in Homes, Museums, and Galleries across the United States. Scott's glass has found its way to collectors across the world. You can visit Benton and watch demonstrations of glass. Now we can all share in the infinite creativity of Scott Hartley’s timeless Glass Art.