Silica Valley Activities

Fred Kahl

Fred Kahl  

Fred Kahl is an artist, designer, magician, sword swallower, and inventor using technology, imagination and play to create experiences invoking magic and wonder. 

“The work I am currently developing is about light, using these glass sculptures as irregular lenses to generate refractions or ‘Lumia’ compositions, organic patterns of refracted light that invoke the divine. The glass objects I’ve been making reflect this unity through sacred geometries, and the light refractions they generate bring focus to the timeless presence of the moment."

Fred Kahl

Try This AT HOME

Imagine shining a light on each one of these sculptures. Sketch what the shadow might look like. 

Find something glass in your home and use a flashlight or your flashlight app. 

  • What shapes can you create on your wall? 
  • What if you used a few objects? 
  • How is a shadow from something glass different (or the same) from something not made of glass? 
  • What do you notice? 

  • Younger Audience: Can you make the shadow “dance”?  Can you dance/move like the shadow? 

Imagine each one of these sculptures is an individual character.  

  • Choose your favorite (or two) and give it a name.  
  • Think about how this character might talk, move, act, behave? 
  • Write one or 2 sentences describing your character. 



Jo Mitchell

Joanne Mitchell 

Joanne Mitchell has practiced as a professional artist and designer since graduating in 2000, and spent time as a designer for Edinburgh Crystal, and as a resident artist at the National Glass Centre, Sunderland, UK, before moving to Lime Street Studios, Newcastle-upon-Tyne in December 2012. 

Joanne's work explores the metaphorical qualities of air and glass, often incorporating the human form. Her practice combines the innovative use of waterjet cutting and kiln-forming to control the form of air entrapment within the internal space of glass for personal expression, a technique she developed during her PhD research. 

In her artwork Jo examines how the immaterial can be exposed or preserved, making visible the intangible; utilizing air as a metaphor for thought, memory, being and absence. Her work draws connections in what makes us human, exploring themes around identity, anonymity and empathy. 

"Mitchell’s works are simultaneously expansive yet claustrophobic. There is nothing conceited or ostentatious here. Whilst ‘Deconstructed Being’ may deal with the fragmentation of the physical and psychological self, ‘Legion’ explores the collective, the need for communion and conversation yet ultimately addresses the overwhelming sense of alienation in the modern day. These works demand engagement; they invite, then demand the viewer to contemplate and reflect. They are conversation pieces in all contexts of the phrase. Glass, even the material itself is a metaphor for the human condition, always fluid in a state of flux and capable of being moulded and shaped. Depending on the external and internal stresses it is both ductile and brittle, robust and fragile. Very much like the psychological self.”
Aidan Moesby (2016), Curator
“An ‘In’ With A Stranger”, A Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre Exhibition, Torfaen, Wales

Try This AT HOME

Compare and contrast her art works. Look at the individual blocks versus the groups in blocks versus the groups swimming/co-mingling in block. Share your thoughts.

  • What might it feel like to be “trapped” inside one of these pieces? 
  • Can you relate to feeling trapped inside? 
  • Write a few words or sketch how this makes you feel.
  • Use 4 - 5 words or short phrases to describe these works. 
  • Read your words and phrases out loud as a short descriptive poem.
  • If you could be one of the people “trapped” inside, which sculpture would you want to be in, and why?  



Daniel Cutrone

daniel Cutrone 


Daniel Cutrone is an artist and educator living and working in the city of Philadelphia. 

“I am working on mountains, very big mountains made very small, and digital birds, and tree branches, and the act of looking. I have been interested in how the worlds of art, craft, and design overlap. For the last few years, I have been learning how to use computer aided design (CAD) and computer aided machining (CAM) with the desire to explore how these new technologies, which have their own new language of form making, can be used with traditional glass making.”

“I am also interested in creating intimacy. It is inquiry, curiosity, and a desire for understanding that moves us to intimacy. Strategically, I want my work to breathe. I want the viewer to be drawn in to it.”

“From a distance we can experience the iterated landscape, but as we move closer to consider them in more detail we are denied our view of the mountain and instead are confronted with our own reflection. But, perhaps in this moment, we realize that the eyepiece will give us another access back to the mountain. As we then gaze into the eyepiece there is a shift in our perspective. In fact there is a lens of low magnification that allows the viewer to see the tool pathing, residue of 3D machining. This shift of perspective, hopefully gives rise for the viewer to question their relationship to these objects and to the very act of looking”
Daniel Cutrone

Try This AT HOME

Imagine looking inside this artwork through the holes in the top.

  • How might this be different than looking from outside? What would you see looking in this way? 
  • Imagine the world that could be inside this artwork. What does it look like? Sketch or describe your ideas. 
  • What does your current world look like from the inside? Sketch or describe your ideas. 
  • If you were looking at your world from the outside, what would it look like? Sketch or describe your ideas.



Norwood Viviano

norwood viviano 

Norwood Viviano’s work is about change. Utilizing digital 3D computer modeling and printing technology in tandem with glass blowing and casting processes, he creates work depicting population shifts tied to the dynamic between industry and community. By showing how landscapes and populations move and are modified as a result of industry, his work creates a 3D lens to view that which is invisible or forgotten. His use of blown glass forms and vinyl cut drawings are micro-models of macro changes at the regional, national, and international level.

The fragility of glass serves as a metaphor for balance between time, efficiency, and the inability of manufacturing to change and meet future needs. The project aims to reconcile the past with the potential futures of urban industrial centers.
Norwood Viviano

Try This AT HOME

Think about how your ability to travel or change locations might have changed recently.  

  • Draw a map of where you typically traveled during a day a few weeks ago. For example did you go to school, work, friend’s house, restaurant, movies, museum, or park? 
  • Think about where you have gone or are able to go to today.  Draw a map of your movements. 
  • How have your maps changed? 



Vanessa Cutler

vanessa cutler 

Vanessa Cutler is an artist, academic and consultant. She is currently Programme Leader in Product Design at Chichester University. Trained initially in Stained Glass at Swansea, before going onto a Masters at Wolverhampton, where she was introduced to waterjet technology. Since 1997 she has specialized in using waterjet technology creatively. 

“Glass has always played an important role in my work. It is a material with character, feistiness and a voice. It can scream and shout, be brash and subtle, controlled yet troublesome. However, the more time you are involved with it the more seductive it becomes; as one starts to understand its parameters and properties it throws another challenge to push its limits further.” 

“Glass is part of my practice; a medium that my ideas flow into and give a glimpse of my fascination of forms from everyday events in my life, of objects, architecture seen, dreamt and read about. Images that seem to race through the mind are transposed into forms that can explain more about my character than I can explain.”

“Using people’s handwriting to investigate technology and see how machines can replicate our identity, over 500 glass medals were produced, programmed, micro-waterjet cut and distorted. Each medal is held on its own pin allowing the medal to hang freely and move in response to its environment. Sometimes the chatter is still other times busy letting you hear its voice. The handwritten word is probably our only realm of privacy in this current technology driven society and in many schools cursive handwriting is no longer taught, what privacy might the next generation have??
Vanessa Cutler

Try This AT HOME

The artist attached each glass medal with a pin so that they might move and respond with the environment. Imagine you can hear this piece moving.

  • If you could hear this piece moving, what might it sound like? 
  • Can you find something in your house to make a similar sound or how you imagine the glass would sound? 
  • Write a few words to describe the sound. Compare your writing with a family member. Notice how each person’s handwriting is unique to them. 
  • Try to copy each other’s handwriting. Is it easy or hard to copy?