Art as a discipline extends to many pursuits, among them music, dance, drama, creative writing, painting and sculpture. SOMI Magazine continues its focus on those who share their artistic talents with the community. 

Attracted by intricate patterns of color, art lovers in attendance at the 42nd Annual Chamber South Art Festival approach artist Richard Laier’s array of pleasing panels of sparkling glass and take a closer look. Bold flowers rendered in bright yellow on a field of black and a modified wave pattern in varying shades of blue are just two examples of his cleverly conceived artistic glass panels. They are unique and ideal for display in the brilliant Florida sunlight.

Richard Laier, a long-time resident of the High Pines area just east of the City of South Miami, studied art at Ohio State University, graduating with a bachelor of fine arts degree. While artistic pursuits were a mainstay in his life, his career was spent with American Airlines for 31 years, working as an instructor and in customer relations.

“Creating art in glass continues to be a hobby for me,” said Laier. His interest in glass began early in life and one of the first items that attracted him was making nightlights in stained glass to sell at an affordable price. They were successful from the beginning and he continues to include them in his body of work.

Laier’s art glass lampshades have evolved from featuring rigid geometric patterns to more curvilinear patterns such as the “flower of life,” an ancient form. His lampshades also feature motifs that are depictions of flowers, palm trees and underwater scenes (with the addition of painted and fired sea creatures that magically appear when the lamp is lit).

Playful “lady” vases are another one of Laier’s inventions in glass. Women with red lips and a variety of hat styles are cleverly arranged in angular pieces of black and white glass as the body of the vase, topped with a fanciful cloche, slouch or broad-brimmed affair in colored glass.

Laier’s studio, located in the garage, is neatly arranged with boxes of glass bits. “I collect a lot of it,” says the artist with a laugh.

He explains the basics: glass cut with a good, old-fashioned glass cutter, wrapping the cut sections in self-adhesive tape made of thin copper foil (a technique used by Louis Comfort Tiffany), and soldering of the pieces together (using a solder that has a higher tin content than lead).  In fact, the need for a high lead content in solder is one reason Laier prefers to produce small- to medium-sized objects. Working with lead solder is extremely hazardous to the artist’s health, but it is the best method for assembling and stabilizing larger projects like full-sized windows.

The artist has been commissioned to do custom work such as inserts for cabinets. His home boasts such cabinets that are arranged to be seen from the pool. In the evening, when the cabinets are lit, they provide a calming dark cobalt blue glow—a series of several large nightlights that complement the serenity of the pool and backyard.

To contact Richard Laier, please visit his High Pines Studio via internet at .



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