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Art at 2000 Degrees

Art at 2000 Degrees

Art at 2000 Degrees

"Working in glass, this amazing material, frozen at room temperature, flowing like honey at 2000° F, remains my passion. So important for the modern world, so beautiful for the artistic world, its luster will never dull, its vivid color will never fade." Tecumseh resident Christopher Doan has enjoyed the hobby of lampworking since he was a young man. Now that he is retired, Doan finally can share his art with the general public. Lampworking is the creation of glass work by melting glass rods and tubes using a gas-fueled torch. The softened glass is then manipulated into different shapes and objects using different tools. "It's really quite a skill," Doan said. "There's a lot to it. Lampwork doesn't have the following that furnace working has."

He discovered lampworking on television and it ignited a passion for glass. "In December of 1976, I saw a program on a Canadian television station showing a gentleman demonstrating glassblowing, a very rare event in those days," said Doan. "He had a bench torch, a large diameter glass tube he was carefully heating. Almost magically, he stretched that tube to make handles on the ends. After more careful heating, he then blew that tube into the most perfect round bubble. He then picked up a glass rod that had a coating — I later found out it contained silver — placed it in the flame and changed from a perfect bubble to a beautiful silver Christmas ornament. I was hooked, I wanted to learn glassblowing!"

With no knowledge of the lampwork artist's name, Doan was unable to track him down. Shortly after his introduction to lampworking, he met artist Greg Moore. "Greg and I became friends and he gave me my start in the glassblowing world," Doan said. "I have had a small glass shop in my basement or garage ever since."

Whenever the opportunity presented itself, Doan was ready to learn more about the art of lampwork. "In the early ‘90s, I saw glassblowing classes were offered at the University of Michigan. The classes were taught by Harald Eberhart, the scientific glassblower at the University," said Doan. "The classes were an enormous help to me. At my class, I discovered an amazing coincidence. Harald Eberhart, my instructor, was the son of the gentleman I saw on television all those years ago! I eventualy got to meet Harald's father, Wolfgang Eberhart. I was again privileged to see him work, but this time, in person!"

Before his recent retirement, Doan's creations were just shared with family and friends. He is looking forward to getting his glass creations out in the community now that he can devote more time to lampworking. Currently, Doan is working on Christmas ornaments for the holidays, all his own designs.

From what he has seen online, Doan's work is unlike much of lampwork glass that is available. "I do quite a variety," he said. "Most of my ideas are unique to me. When I look online, I don't see people producing ornaments like mine."

His journey in glass continues, and Doan is even more passionate about the art than he was in 1976. "My quest for that perfect bubble continues today," he said. "Working in glass, this amazing material, frozen at room temperature, flowing like honey at 2000° F, remains my passion. So important for the modern world, so beautiful for the artistic world, its luster will never dull, its vivid color will never fade."

For more information on Doan's art, email him at swisschris07@gmail.com


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