Artist Etsuko Ichikawa paints with the fire and smoke of molten glass to create her signature glass pyrograph drawings.

Seattle based multimedia artist Etsuko Ichikawa discusses how she creates her signature glass pyrograph paintings using molten glass during a demonstration at Pratt Fine Arts in Seattle.

Video: Artist Etsuko Ichikawa and her burning passion with molten glass

Artist Etsuko Ichikawa and glass pyrograph

Artist Etsuko Ichikawa is originally from Tokyo, Japan. She moved to Seattle in 1993 to attend the prestigious Pilchuck Glass School, co-founded by Dale Chihuly.

Ichikawa worked as a studio assistant for Dale Chihuly for eight years.

Her body of work called glass pyrograph started in 2004, while attending Pilchuck, when she was assisting another artist.

Ichikawa explains, “It is during this time that I accidentally dropped a hot bit of glass from the blowing pipe on to the concrete floor.”

“It made a beautiful scorching mark,” she continued, “I literally had goosebumps and thought that this is something I want to want to experiment with and see what happens.”

The selection of paper used by Etsuko Ichikawa for glass pyrograph is 300 pound watercolor paper from Lana Mill in Strasbourg, France.

Lana has been making paper from 100 per cent cotton for more than 400 years.

The paper is heavy and thick, and does not ignite right away.

The working temperature of molten glass is 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit.

The auto-ignition point of the paper is 451 degrees Fahrenheit.

“I have more control. I can make the moving glass in the way I want. It is a very different way of working,” the artist expressed.

Seattle glass artist Etsuko Ichikawa creates her signature glass pyrograph paintings with molten glass demonstration.Photo: Wendy Nordvik-Carr©

Seattle glass artist Etsuko Ichikawa creates her signature glass pyrograph paintings with molten glass at the Pratt Arts demonstration. Photo: Wendy Nordvik-Carr©

Seattle glass artist Etsuko Ichikawa creates her signature pyrograph paintings with molten glass Trace 1719

Seattle glass artist Etsuko Ichikawa creates her signature glass pyrograph paintings with molten glass. This one made at the Pratt Arts demonstration is labelled, Trace 1719.

Seattle glass artist Etsuko Ichikawa creates her signature glass pyrograph drawing with molten glass demonstration Photo Wendy Nordvik-Carr

Seattle glass artist Etsuko Ichikawa creates her signature glass pyrograph drawing with molten glass demonstration Photo Wendy Nordvik-Carr

Seattle glass artist Etsuko Ichikawa creates her signature glass pyrograph drawing with molten glass demonstration Photo Wendy Nordvik-Carr

Seattle glass artist Etsuko Ichikawa creates her signature glass pyrograph drawing with molten glass demonstration Photo Wendy Nordvik-Carr

Seattle glass artist Etsuko Ichikawa creates her signature glass pyrograph drawing with molten glass demonstration Photo Wendy Nordvik-Carr

Seattle glass artist Etsuko Ichikawa creates her signature glass pyrograph drawing with molten glass demonstration Photo Wendy Nordvik-Carr

Seattle glass artist Etsuko Ichikawa creates her signature glass pyrograph drawing with molten glass demonstration Photo Wendy Nordvik-Carr

Seattle glass artist Etsuko Ichikawa creates her signature glass pyrograph drawing with molten glass demonstration Photo Wendy Nordvik-Carr

Seattle glass artist Etsuko Ichikawa creates her signature pyrograph drawing with molten glass demonstration Photo Wendy Nordvik-Carr

Seattle glass artist Etsuko Ichikawa creates her signature pyrograph drawing with molten glass demonstration Photo Wendy Nordvik-Carr

More about artist Etsuko Ichikawa

Etsuko Ichikawa describes her creations as visual poetry reflecting the two distinct and different cultures of Japan and North America.

She is a filmmaker and an activist and has won numerous awards and grants.

Artist Etsuko Ichikawa talks about her burning passion with molten glass at a demonstration at Pratt Fine Arts during Refract Seattle 2019

Artist Etsuko Ichikawa talks about her burning passion with molten glass at a demonstration at Pratt Fine Arts during Refract Seattle 2019

Uranium Glass

Ichikawa’s recent project called “VITRIFIED” uses uranium glass in response to the destruction of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear meltdown in 2011. The powerful message emitted from the green glowing glass orbs expresses her growing concerns over nuclear environmental issues.

The artist visited Washington state’s Hanford Nuclear Plant to learn about the vitrification process used to convert radioactive nuclear waste into glass for disposal.

Find out more about the vitrification process taking place at the Hanford Nuclear Plant.

Filmmaker

As a filmmaker, Etsuko Ichikawa is a brilliant storyteller showing the beauty and the passion of her art.

Traces of a Molten State created in 2008 was part of her solo exhibition at Bellevue Arts Museum.

Traces of the Molten State from Etsuko Ichikawa on Vimeo.

See all of Ichikawa’s films here.

Latest exhibits and upcoming residency

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Residency

From October – November, 2021,  Etsuko Ichikawa will be an artist in residence at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.

We can’t wait to see the exciting works that will be inspired from this fiery active volcanic area.

Latest exhibit Broken Poems of Fireflies

The most recent exhibit held at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art located the Washington Sate University closed at the end of March, 2021.

Details about the exhibit can be found below.

2020 Arts Innovator Award

Etsuko Ichikawa was recently named a recipient of the 2020 Arts Innovator Award funded by the Dale and Leslie Chihuly Foundation. Since 2010, two unrestricted awards of $25,000 each are given out each year to Washington state artists fro their innovation.

“The 2020 AIA recipients create works that push viewers to think deeply about transformative social change. Across a variety of mediums and disciplines, these artists invite audiences to explore the personal responsibility within these efforts and to critically question current society’s legacy.”

Ichikawa received the award based on her innovative work with uranium glass.

She has won numerous awards and grants including one from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts in New York.

Read more about Etsuko Ichikawa, her recent projects and exhibitions.

Don’t miss learning more about the incredible community of Pacific Northwest glass artists in Seattle, Washington – Seattle glass art experience a fiery explosion of light and color with video

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