I have been creating hand blown glass vessels with the Murrini technique for over a decade. The process, which involves layering molten glass colors on a steel rod and then stretching it into a long cane, is often characterized as a classic Italian concept from Murano Glass history. Its origins however predate this by thousands of years with examples common in Egyptian and other ancient Middle Eastern cultures.
The challenging nature of the technique involves geometric glass elements combined into a larger fused matrix that is blown into a larger organic vessel form. I get much of my inspiration from nature looking at images of cellular structures and other patterns that occur organically. Within this I can glean some color concepts for the work. Historical observations, such as imagery derived from traditional rug making societies, also play a direct part in my thought process. My recent work involves more detailed sections as well as the use of symbols in the glass elements that are referential to imagery found in indigenous peoples artworks made from traditional media. Recognizing patterns in color, form, and intent, whether it occurs naturally or is manmade, becomes the foundation for this work. ~Jeremy Popelka
For more than thirty years Jeremy Popelka has worked as a glass artist and educator. After exploring techniques with notable glass artists such as Dale Chihuly, Marvin Lipofsky, Bertil Vallien, and Joe Phillip Meyers, Popelka has mastered the widely different techniques used in art glass including blowing, sandcasting and Murrini in his Wisconsin hot glass studio.
Popelka and his wife Stephanie Trenchard have shown work at the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum's "Glass Artists of the New North” and the Museum of Wisconsin Art acquired Popelka's impressive sculpture "Edge" for the permanent collection. Popelka’s hot glass studio was featured on the PBS program “Around the Corner” with John McGivern who received a lesson in blowing glass. Popelka was recently included in the Taos New Mexico Glass Invitational, a biennial juried exhibition featuring international artists.