The Purple Kiln by Vivien Lee
Vivien Lee is the owner of The Purple Kiln, a studio that produces kiln-formed glass in Bethesda, MD. She is always mesmerized by the beautiful possibilities of this medium. She brings to her work a background in graphic design and painting as well as her interests in scuba diving and marine environments. With opaque and transparent glass sheets, rods or even powders, she creates centerpieces, plates, bowls, vases and other glass art and home décor that have both functional and aesthetic value.
Vivien uses various techniques to produce a range of designs from layered geometric patterns to organic, coral-like formations. Each piece is handmade through every step of the process from measuring, cutting, and layering. One of the techniques producing linear patterns involves cutting large sheets of glass into narrow strips and laying them on edge to form the design. Vivien uses other techniques to produce “corallite” disks which involve multiple steps of sifting glass powders into various-sized circles and using tools to create spaces that expand during firing. Elements like copper, silver, and other materials are sometimes introduced for various effects. Most projects involve at least two firings with the first firing going up to 1500°F to fuse the elements. Some pieces also require a process of grinding, shaping, sandblasting, and polishing. A second firing is then used to create a slumped or draped shape. Every piece is unique because the heatwork itself is an unpredictable and exciting factor of the process.