Medium: Glass threads (filet-de-verre)
Dimensions: 10 1/2 x 10 1/2 x 3 3/4 in. (26.7 x 26.7 x 9.5 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Paul and Anastasia "Stacy" Polydoran. In the permanent collection, Brunnier Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Object Number: UM2004.127
Mary Ann "Toots" Zynsky was born in Boston and educated at the Rhode Island School of Design. She then went to Seattle to study with Dale Chihuly at the Pilchuck Glass School. Since then, she's returned to Pilchuck as a teacher on numerous occasions. Although trained in a wide variety of glassmaking techniques, the art for which she is best known are bowl-shaped vessels made of fused glass threads--a technique called "filet de verre".
Toots Zynsky began to develop her unique technique of “painting” with colored glass threads in the early 1980s. First, the thousands of multicolored threads that make up her vessels are layered onto a round metal plate. This mass of glass threads is fused inside a kiln and cooled. The fused threads are then turned over, and the outer surface of the vessel is exposed. If Zynsky likes the composition, she will complete the piece through two or more kiln firings in which the stiff mass of fused threads is heated and allowed to slowly sag over a cone-shaped mold. When the glass has softened, Zynsky reaches into the kiln, wearing asbestos gloves, and she pinches and squeezes the glass into its final form.
Her works of art can be seen in a variety of public collections including the Corning Museum of Glass, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Washington D.C. She currently resides in Paris, France.