Rick Satava is a master glassblower from Chico, California, who creates incredibly lifelike jellyfish sculptures out of glass. His works are so realistic that people often wonder if they’re looking at real jellyfish preserved in glass. In the late 1980s, the artist was inspired after a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where he looked at pacific coast jellyfish as if he was viewing art inside a gallery. This got him thinking. He knew right then that he needed to capture the beauty of jellyfish in glass. After spending three years experimenting, using the glass-in-glass technique and getting the translucent colors just right, he began selling his sculptures in 1990. His works sold so well that Satava made more of them, and by 2002, he was designing and creating about 300 jellyfish sculptures each month.
Here’s how Satava describes his sculptures: “vertically oriented, colorful, fanciful jellyfish with tendril-like tentacles and a rounded bell encased in an outer layer of rounded clear glass that is bulbous at the top and tapering toward the bottom to form roughly a bullet shape, with the jellyfish portion of the sculpture filling almost the entire volume of the outer, clear-glass shroud.”
Glass-in-glass is a centuries-old art form that consists of a glass sculpture inside a second glass layer, oftentimes called a shroud. The inner glass sculpture is formed first and then it is dipped into molten glass, encasing it in a solid outer glass shroud. Before it cools, the shroud is malleable so the artist can manipulate it into any shape he so desires.
You can find Satava’s amazing jellyfish sculptures in galleries around the world or you can purchase one yourself right on Satava’s website.