Clair Raabe is a self taught glass carver and flame worker. She says of her work, ”My images are friends from my world of imagination. I am inspired by the ancient stories filled with larger than life heroes and the mysteries and challenges of following your dreams. I identify with the character that takes the ‘other’ road and finds personal fulfillment. Glass is my medium, it is also my passion. I have followed the road of the creative soul and have found my heart’s song. It is reflected in every piece.”
Clair uses a combination of old world glass techniques in combination with current diamond technology to carve her images into colored, multi layered blown glass. This type of glass is known as cameo glass. All of Clair’s carved work is done by hand, she does not work with computer drawn images. Currently, there are few artists choosing to work in this medium because of the labor intensive nature of the process.
Flame working, using a 2000 degree torch, is Clair’s latest glass adventure. She has spent the last couple of years developing a process that starts with molten work that is then cooled and cold worked. In the molten work, Clair maniupulates multiple layers of hot colored glass in combination with pure gold and silver. She then cools the piece using computer driven ovens to stabilize the glass. When the piece is cooled she carves it back with diamond saws and, when happy with the form, finishes the piece by bringing it all back to a polish. The resulting glass jewels are now ready to be strung and transformed into wearable glass art.
Clair was introduced to glass in 1987 and says everyday in the studio is still as exciting as her first. Her work has been featured in American Style Magazine and the award winning NBC documentary “Artists Among Us.” She was commissioned by the Joseph Campbell Institute to create awards of distinction. She has been a limited edition feature artist in both Sundance and Eziba catalogues. She has also been commissioned by Revlon, Symrise Corporation to create a limited edition series.
Clair Raabe’s work has been showcased in Japan, Hong Kong, Germany, China and Austria. It is included in the permanent collection of the Corning Museum of Glass, the White House collection of American craftsman and Queen Beatrice of the Netherlands, a gift from the people of Aruba.