About the Artist

Marian Fieldson
Marian Fieldson

Itís hard to avoid lava on the Big Island of Hawaii. Fields of lava go on for miles; cascades, gullies, crevasses and hills of black swirls and waves poured out and frozen in fantastic arabesques. Volcanoes dominate the land; even the air is thick with haze from the constant eruptions still flowing out of the caldera. Glass artist Marian Fieldson creates some unusual glass pieces inspired by this liquid land. Actual molds of lava are made and transported back to her studio. There she fills them with shards, powders and threads of special glass. The many layers are heated in a kiln until they become liquid themselves and fuse together into a thick new sheet. The flat sheet is trimmed and polished and given a brushing of real gold highlights. This new piece is then slowly reheated and allowed to drape into a gently curved mold. After this last step, itís documented and signed by the artist and sent out to galleries and collectors.

Marian had a vision of the kind of piece she wanted to make in 1989 when she moved to Hawaii and settled out in the Puna rainforest. The land her house is sitting on is only a few miles from the volcano. Lava outcroppings just steps from the door made great models for trial and error castings. The first successful plates were well received in local galleries and now she has expanded to collectors worldwide. Still working from a home studio, she is enthusiastic about creating more of these striking art glass pieces.

Fused Glass

Marian has been working with glass for 20 years starting in the California foothills and now at her home on the slope of Mauna Loa in the Puna District. First interested in lampworking because it seemed to be a manageable way for one person to work with hot glass, she began to educate herself by purchasing a scientific glass blowing kit from a catalog in 1981. " That was certainly the hard way," she acknowledges. "Teachers were just not available or willing to take a beginner. It's very difficult to learn on your own."

Looking for customers in Sacramento, she met Donna Milliron who introduced her to fusing. She suggested attending Pilchuck School to learn about glass, they had the first lampworking class that year concurrent with a fusing class.

From that beginning, Marian moved to Hawaii in 1989 and began selling glass from a kiosk at the local mall where she produced many original pieces for gifts. Returning to fusing glass this last year, she was inspired by the active lava flows that characterize the Puna district of the Big Island. "I am fascinated by the liquid effect of the molten lava and it's affinity with glass. I want to capture the feeling of the Earth on fire and the undualating cooling surfaces. I'm just getting started with exploring the world of glass art. I just had a chance to try furnace glassblowing and I enjoy experimenting with new techniques. Glass is intriguing and beautiful. I am grateful to have the opportunity to make gifts others can give with aloha to remember the grandeur of Hawaii."