The art of fire and glass - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

The art of fire and glass

Mineral Point (WAOW) -

In a job with lots of repetition, it's likely easiest to work when you can find yourself in a nice easy rhythm.

One step inside the Sirius Sunlight storefront studio, 218 High Street, Mineral Point, Wis., will confirm that sentiment as the sound of cracking glass, sanders and a blowtorch orchestrate into a unique industrial-style soundtrack.

"We'll buy some new equipment and just basically teach ourselves another form of glass working," stained glass artist Jill Engels told Newsline 9.

Engels and her partner, hot glass artist Chuck Pound, have spent more than two decades surrounded in the sensory explosion that is glass working. It is field where originality and creativity reign supreme.

Amid this partnership's creations of glass includes replica food items like pizza, life-like floating fish, decorative lamps, luxurious chandeliers, colorful marbles, brilliant sun catchers and plenty of glass icicles, all made in house.

"Those are the really fun things because they're one of a kind," Engels said.

All of the products are made by hand. A job sometimes dangerous considering the tools these artists use.

Chuck Pound's main instrument combines oxygen, natural gas and a fast spark of fire to light an intense blowtorch in the cellar of the duo's Iowa County studio. His most notable product are glass icicles created by the artist twisting rods of glass in the flame to create the illusion they are melting chutes of ice.

"Warmest icicle you'll see!" Pound said.

The flame warms to a toasty 4,000 degrees when the torch is operating. Though it starts as a shade of intense light blue, when the fire hits the glass it illuminates as a flare of red and orange. Clearly visible by camera, but invisible to the artist.

Pound must wear protective glasses that eliminate the shades of red and yellow from his vision.

"They block out this real bright yellow flame," Pound said. "I don't see that at all. One wouldn't have much vision left after doing this for 20 or 30 years," he continued.

Products made at Sirius Sunlight are available for purchase on site, or online here.

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