Artist: Joshua Lee Cox

Born in Fremont, California, Cox lived in Oregon and California before settling in the picturesque country town of Haiku on Maui's north shore in 1998.

He started working with glass while attending Bella Vista High School in Sacramento, California, where he signed up for an art workshop, expecting to study drawing. As it turned out, the workshop had to do with stained glass. Cox tried to transfer to a painting class, but it was full-and the rest, as they say, is history. He studied stained glass for three years, when a teacher helped him get an apprenticeship with a local glass artist. Subsequently, he was hired by a local architectural glass company producing leaded glass windows. He worked there full time for six years.

When he moved to Maui in 1996, he began creating his own work in earnest, joining the Lahaina Art Society right away. In 2001, Cox joined the Maui Crafts Guild in Paia. Around this time, he began fusing glass and incorporating the results into his stained glass work, creating stunning, unique pieces. In 2002, he began teaching classes at the Hui No'eau Visual Arts Center in Makawao.

A major influence on his work has been the art of Louis Comfort Tiffany. Cox says, "I enjoy finding designs in nature that accentuate the beauty of the opalescent glass that Tiffany Studios pioneered. My fused glass is inspired by the amorphous nature of glass and its seductive relationships with light."

Currently Cox is working on some strikingly beautiful, unusual pieces that remind one of molten lava, very appropriate for an artist working in the volcanic Hawaiian Islands. Of this new work he says:

"Thermal Shock Therapy" is a technique I have been developing over the past few years to create my series of lava inspired kiln formed glass. The term describes rapidly heating glass with a torch, and the expansion from the heat that causes the glass to crack (thermal shock). The pieces are then laid out on top of a solid base of glass and fired in a kiln to around 1500° F. After the fused pieces are allowed to cool properly, they are placed on ceramic molds and fired to 1200° F causing the glass to slump into or over the mold giving the pieces their form.

"Also, I use the expression "Shock Therapy" because of the excitement of not knowing how each piece is going to turn out, along with the little shot of adrenaline I get every time the glass "pops" and sends random cracks in all directions. It is reminiscent of winding a jack in the box, or better yet, the initial strike on a fishing rod. The Thermal Shock Therapy process provides a nice balance to the deliberate precision and technical aspects of my glass art."

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Also see: Kiln-Formed and Cold Process Glass Art

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