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GLASS FROM THE PAST

Bennett’s Glass Art reaches far and wide

 daniel@yesweekly.com | @Daniel_Schere

Most customers who frequent the Mellow Mushroom at 609 Elm Street in Greensboro wouldn’t notice the glasswork on the front of the restaurant, or suspect that an artist in the Triad designed it. Better yet, most customers wouldn’t know that those artists also designed the glass on the front of the Mellow Mushroom in Centennial, Colorado.

But nestled in Winston-Salem’s Southwest Ward is the home of David and Veronica Bennett, where they operate their glass art business, Bennett Glass Art. They make everything from windowpanes to glass statues to beads in their home, using a variety of different techniques.

Lately the couple has been honing their latest craft of cast glass—a process that involves melting glass and pouring it into a mold where it solidifies into a new shape. The Bennetts have been teaching themselves how to do it, but say they have a long way to go before the process becomes efficient.

“That’s something we want to do more of,” Veronica Bennett said.

David Bennett said glass casting is more labor intensive and cumbersome than it is expensive.

“The material costs aren’t all that high compared to other things,” he said. “The energy expenditure isn’t that high because it’s mostly a cooling process. But, the sculpting and the preparation, and all the steps leading up to the casting is very time consuming.”

“What I do is I make a clay sculpture, and in this case we’re working on faces,” Veronica Bennett said. “I made a bunch of clay faces. Then I made a silicone mold of that. And then we make a wax positive, and then from that we make a refractory mold which we’re going to put the glass in.”

The Bennetts have covered a good deal of geographic territory as well as a diverse range of experiences. Veronica Bennett is from Brooklyn and met her husband in Lake Tahoe, California where they attended college. David Bennett grew up in North Carolina and worked on log cabins for 20 years before moving back to Winston- Salem with his family about 10 years ago. He had lived with his wife in Alaska where the couple began raising their two daughters.

In one room of their home is a collection of glass statues that are lined up like toy soldiers while the living room contains several flat panes hanging on the wall.

One statue depicts a creature that is a cross between a human and a bird with green and purple colored wings. The statue is part of their “Ancients Series”, which contains pieces honoring ancient legends, mythologies, and indigenous peoples.

Another flat piece of glass art depicts a variety of images including a trumpet, a few piano keys, and what appears to be the outside of a beehive. It is entitled “Harmony of Bees” and was inspired by this quote from Albert Einstein.

“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”

The Bennetts have had their work featured at a number of regional and national art shows. They are members of the Piedmont Craftsmen Gallery on Trade Street. !

WANNA go?

Wanna go: To get in touch with David and Veronica Bennett about prices and availability call 336-491-1053 or bennett@bennettglassartonline.com. You can also visit http://www.bennettglassartonline.com for more information.

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