Joseph Porcelli

What attracts me to the leaded glass lamp? The same thing that attracts any artist to oil paint, watercolor, acrylics, pastels or sculpture... The possibilities of color, line, texture and form, and the response both I and the viewer enjoy from the finished work.

When I began, lamp making was simply a job. It provided me a place to work and a way to support myself. My earliest training was in a production lamp shop. There, and at that time, the emphasis was on quality workmanship and efficient production methods, two aspects of the craft that would provide the foundation upon which my lamp building, and all of my glass activities would rest. When I subsequently developed the necessary techniques to turn a line drawing or picture into a lamp design and transfer that design into a workable, creative system, lamp building for me took on an important new meaning and dimension. It is in the category of original leaded glass lamp and base design that my original work and the future of the medium lies.

The leaded glass lamp is an oddity in the world of the fine and decorative arts. As a multidimensional art/craft form, it is one of the youngest; its development can be traced back no further than the late nineteenth century. It is uniquely American, free of any historical, European or other artistic precedent short of stained glass and mosaic. Ironically, the leaded glass lamp has become somewhat of a bastard child of the creative glass family. On one hand, the finest examples are considered some of the most valuable, beautiful and desirable objects on earth. On the other, the leaded glass lamp has been commercialized to the point of absurdity, where the most insignificant examples can be found in home improvement stores, flea markets and junk shops. Despite this drastic polarity, the leaded glass lamp at its finest remains for me, a young, vibrant medium, rich with artistic possibilities.

I was fortunate to come up in the glass community during one of its most fertile periods in history. The late twentieth century was a time of discovery and renewal, a time when every aspect of working with glass was experiencing a resurgence of interest and development. Not only were the techniques of working within the medium enjoying a renaissance, but the raw material of glass itself was enjoying a re-birth of creativity and innovation that continues to this day.

The glass I choose to realize my works holds all of the beauty, drama, depth and captive power of the best glass of any period in history.

All contemporary work stands on the shoulders of history, and from that vantage point envisions the horizons of the future.