Igor Balbi is an italian master artisan known for his extraordinary work in glass sculpture and lampworking. He is considered one of the best european craftsmen. He was born in Murano in 1975. At the age of 19 he joined his family’s glasswork business. His father and uncles would teach him the classical techniques of lampworking.
Having learnt the fundamentals of this craft, Igor started to specialize in working Murano glass and “tipetti”, an arduous path and one not usually taken, as far as techniques with sodium-calcium glass torch are concerned. After years of research and experimentation, Igor developed a blowing technique unique to his specific manner of working so he could generate peerless glass sculptures.
Strongly attracted by the qualities and functional characteristics of glass, Igor experiments with matter and evolves with it bringing to life exclusive glass sculptures. As such, new systems of production are created and achieve a high range of chromatic effects. His works are all unique pieces with sinuous lines and forms, characterized by colorful shapes created by overlaying very thin glass sheets.
To make his creations, Balbi places the glass at the end of a small steel tube so it can expand when the master blows through the opposite end of the tube. Fire and the masterful gestures of the glassworker then shape the piece.
The chemical characteristics of glass fascinate Igor Balbi, that’s why he developed his special lampworking technique. The secret of his glass sculptures is the method he uses to stratify glass, creating an infinite range of colors. He likes to combine glass to trigger chemical reactions, creating oxidization and spectacular color effects that bring an organic, lifelike element to the lampworked glass.
His technique consists of blowing and shaping glass using gravity, centrifugal force and heat. He uses an Arnold blowtorch that works with natural gas, oxygen and air, and applies it to Murano glass or sodium glass (soft glass). Igor draws inspiration from Murano glassworking techniques, reworking them and revisiting them with a contemporary eye, and with his technical and artistic knowledge. He is fascinated by the Art Deco and Liberty styles, by fragile glass and by high technical demand.
Igor Balbi’s talent was represented by the glass sculptures Reliquiario Ottone 2018 and Reliquiario Ottone Con Fagiano 2018 (Brass Reliquary With Pheasant) and considered one of the best of Europe. The yellow color visible through the complex architecture of both pieces was created by coating glass to create oxidization and chemical rotations. The work is evocative of ancient glass reliquaries.
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