A week's worth of Chris Buzzini's work can be lost in the seconds it takes to pour molten glass over one of the floral sculptures he has painstakingly created.
"I can literally feel my heart muscle tighten," says the artisan, who re-creates nature in botanical paperweights. "The results are made or lost in the blink of an eye."
It is this do-or-die outcome that makes glass an irresistible medium for Buzzini, a solitary and spiritual artist.
"I try to take my vision of flowers and put it back into the glass," Buzzini says in his 500-square-foot workshop just beyond the garden of his Oregon City home.
Every paperweight is a miniature marvel. His artistry and technical skill shine through the crystalline spheres that cover his molded-glass bouquets of lady's slippers, lilacs, peonies and numerous other blooms. Chris Buzzini is one of the absolutely best contemporary glass artists there is; perhaps tied only with Paul Stankard, in my opinion. I adore his work, and have been privileged to know him for about 9 years now. During that time I have obtained over a dozen of his creations; NINE 'star' creations, and a number of one- of-one pieces. I find that now I must offer some of his finest works. For those of you who are not familiar with Chris' works, he would rarely see a weight just out of the kiln that he felt was amazing; exactly what he wanted to create, and magnificent in every detail. That would be a 'star' paperweight.
Chris Buzzini wrote me about THIS paperweight years ago:
From the moment I first took this paperweight out of the kiln, I was trying to decide whether or not to sign this as a "star" paperweight. " and he continued
"When I price the "star" paperweights I normally add 20-25% to the price. Yes, it does seem like a lot. But, I know, in my heart of hearts, that some day these pieces will be the most highly sought after of my work. This is an amazing paperweight that showcases both lampworking skills and tight, delicate design. This piece would be a wonderful addition to your paperweight collection."
This is a large weight, approximately 3 1/2" diameter. It is in Excellent Condition. It is signed "Buzzini '08 A31 'star - one of one' "
More about Christ Buzzini: Chris Buzzini says he feels the pull of nature and art as a spiritual calling. "My talent is God-given. . . . I've asked for more talent and it's been given."
The work is tedious; the material temperamental.
Turning a slender rod of glass in the torch's flame until it softens into a green teardrop, Buzzini touches the tip with another glass rod, pulling it into an elliptical shape. He flattens it with tongs and returns it to the torch.
The technique is known as lampwork, and every petal and leaf is formed this way.
The behavior of glass under flame is predictable only within a narrow range of temperatures. It can't be touched by hand while it's being shaped. Everything, Buzzini explains, must be manipulated with a tool.
Buzzini began working in glass in art school and worked professionally at several highly regarded California art glass studios, including Orient & Flume, Lundberg Studios and Correia Art Glass. After 13 years as a studio artist, Buzzini launched his own studio in 1986. It was a step that both excited and frightened him. But he had strong encouragement from colleagues and fans.
"What I needed was a 16-hour day in my own studio, not eight hours in someone else's," says Buzzini. In 1991 he moved to Oregon, settling on a half acre on the outskirts of Oregon City.
Unfortunately, Chris has suffered increasing health problems. He feels he may be at the end of his career, and perhaps has produced his last paperweight. I would find that a great loss, and keep him in my thoughts with hopes that he may resume his art.
Unique Collectibles, Antiques and Fine Arts from Around the World
Never the ordinary...unique items chosen over the last 50 years of travel around the world.