Things to Do – and Think About – at SOFA | Bullseye Glass Co. | Bullseye Glass Co Things to Do – and Think About – at SOFA | Bullseye Glass Co. | Bullseye Glass Co

Things to Do – and Think About – at SOFA

Glass wants to be big.

Think about it. Ours is a medium that by its very nature overflows its edges. Its containers refuse to contain themselves. The light reflected and refracted by a glass object can spill over into surrounding space. Not unlike architecture, glass can define space.


Jessica Loughlin in Bullseye’s factory studio, caught between Ted and Tom, between horror and enthusiasm, between art and design, between a rock and a hard place…..

This defining ability of the material is probably why I am so drawn to glass objects that are about space – and why glass seems to me to so naturally speak the language of architecture.


Jessica Loughlin, “Space Between 9/05″, 2005
kilnformed and coldworked glass
16.125 x 19.25 x 2.375 inches

Space – internal and external – is at the core of Jessica Loughlin’s work. Her vessels and wall panels are undeniably atmospheric. Despite their having a decided form – sometimes circular, sometimes square, sometimes set on a table, sometimes on a wall – it is space that I experience when looking at them.

The innately architectural quality of Jess’s work is why she was among the first of our gallery artists who came to mind when we first decided to introduce the Building With Light idea at SOFA Chicago.

As she does – to an obsessive degree (sorry, Jess, you know it’s true!) – she pondered the idea of making a piece that was neither conceived nor produced as an art object, but as an element designed by her but fabricated by a team of our studio technicians and destined to function within an architectural context.  I’m not sure she’s digested the idea yet, but she approached the making of  the slab with her legendary focus.


Jess was probably somewhere over Tonga as the samples cooked in the kilns.

The team made a number of sample blocks that allowed Jess to see the options of layer, light transmission, color (yes, grey is a color) reflection within the interior glass body, bubble pattern, opal vs clear proportion, surface treatment and various other solutions that she could – and did – imagine in the design phase, but that she and we couldn’t risk executing without seeing actual samples.

Jess worked with the studio techs during her short Portland visit (for her recent exhibition at Bullseye Gallery) but due to the lengthy firing times, was back in Australia before she could review the samples (via emailed images)  and make her final choice. (We call this “e-design”)


No such thing as “e-lifting”, removing the slab from the kiln makes use of some of the larger studio equipment.

The completed slab – which is destined to be a counter-level surface penetrating two walls within our SOFA booth – weighs over 400 lbs and measures 96” x 24” x 2”.


Studio team: Erik, Tom, Jim and Heidi applying non-mechanical muscle.

It’s definitely spacey. Think about it.


Pre-coldwork, a little raw around the edges, but well on its way to Chicago.

Then come see it – and us – at booth #607 at SOFA Chicago.

6 Responses to Things to Do – and Think About – at SOFA

  1. Cool…but…Is the guy going after that glass slab with a FORKlift? eeeee. Or are those suction pads (whew) he’s using?

    I love the idea of glass on horizontal surfaces; BE had a pic of a red glass slab piercing a wall in one of your calendars a few years back. A desk, I think. I still dream about that one.

  2. Ted kind of looks like the mad scientist in that first picture!

  3. Lani says:

    Cynthia, no eeeee-ing needed. Those are suction cups.

    Good memory – yes some years ago our calendar featured a couple of images of glass slabs piercing the spaces of a home designed by the brilliant Marwan Al Sayed Architects. The Loughlin slab will traverse two walls rather than one and won’t “float” as the Al-Sayed ones did, but the feeling is in the same ballpark.

  4. jenn houser says:

    And how many days was thing of beauty in the kiln??? Wow.

  5. jenn houser says:

    Left a word out- typing pre-caffine, not the best idea. Still the work is lovely – Good job guys!

  6. Lani says:

    Jenn, Sorry for late reply. Jess’s slab was in the kiln for four days (including load-in and unload).

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