Kiki Smith’s Art of Glass

Kiki Smith, “Tattoo Vase,” etched glass, 2008. Courtesy Steuben Glass.

Season 2 artist Kiki Smith has collaborated with Steuben Glass on a collection of engraved designs inspired by the idea of tattoos. Known for transforming the mundane into magic, Smith has over the years developed a fanciful bestiary of animals and objects of nature that serve as stand-ins for our physical, emotional, and spiritual experiences. The art of the tattoo as a visceral narrative and physical marker of a moment in time has had a long connection to the artist – making them, wearing them on her own skin, gathering their iconography into her print work. In Smith’s appropriation of them, tattoos can be seen as metaphors for the interconnectedness of all things, including the body and art, inner and outer being, and technique and emotion.

The collection’s centerpiece is a large mouth-blown vase adorned with a sinuous snake, bird and branch, moth, flowers, and stars. Executed by Smith and master engraver Max Erlacher, the Tattoo Vase is accompanied by four small crystal sculptures, each with “ready-to-wear” precious metal jewelry, i.e. a snake bears three removable sterling rings on its tail and a playful cat muses with a silver daisy flower that doubles as a brooch.

Read more about the collaboration and see more of the collection here.


  1. Art Glass says:

    Excellent work. The vase looks fabulous, with the snake and other creatures. Animals and nature depict life and the creation. Thanks for introducing the tattoo art.

    Reply

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