It would be easy to appreciate Andy Paiko solely for his wide variety of intricate glass vessels. They so deftly mix nostalgia and modernity, any would look at home in the Mütter Museum as well as the Guggenheim. Yet Paiko seeks to create more than just beauty for adoration’s sake alone, he is a lover of functionality and is passionately reinventing how glass behaves and ultimately is perceived.

bell jar vessels (interior objects are 24K plated)
balance weights – “46” high (accurate to 10 grams)
functional glass seismograph for measuring earthquakes – 46”x48”

He has painstakingly recreated intricate antique machines like a spinning wheel, a seismograph, weight scales and even a large scale Ben Franklin’esque “glass armonica” almost entirely out of glass. And yes, they all work.

Three-part vessels
Fully functional spinning wheel – 60” tall
detail of spinning wheel

It is impossible for photographs to capture the true essence of these moving machines. And more important, it is the sound of the glass twinkling and clinking against itself as these machines go through their rotations that gives pause. This brief seven minute video shows a few of his machines in motion. Seeing his glass perform real world tasks with such aplomb is breathtaking.

VIDEO of spinning wheel, seismograph and weights in motion.

I found myself watching with nervous dread as I waited for his contraptions to shatter under their own weight and relaxed only after grasping the natural solid strength of his well-engineered machines. I applaud Paiko for boldly throwing away the convention that glass is preciously fragile and instead has harnessed it’s sheer inner power. (After all, in nature, glass is created by lightening and lava.) I look forward to what creation he will imagineer next.

To view an extensive portfolio and concepts in progress.

VIDEO of glass armonica installation co-created with composer Ethan Rose.

Paiko Notes:

What artists or creative person has influenced you?
I’ve picked up all of my ideas, techniques, and inspiration from guys I’ve apprenticed over the years, roomates, college professors, longtime friends more worldly than I, and especially my wife Belle. They are all extremely creative folks… Some favorite artists might include Duchamp, Ernst, Tim Hawkinson, Tom Friedman, and recently Martin Puryear, just to name a few of the well-known ones.

Not including other artists or art, what inspires you?
Antiquated technology and uniquely engineered machines, mycology, botany, humanism, the weather, riding my bike, skateparks… Anyone who makes or does something original in their life without having to try too hard.

What is the part of your process you enjoy the most? … the least?
Making glass for the sake of making glass is always fun, in the way that anything challenging on multiple levels can be. The business and marketing of the glass for profit after-the-fact can be less fun.

If you were NOT an artist, what would you be doing?
That’s really hard. Mailman?

Thank you for your time and fantastic creations Andy!