Andy Paiko’s Crystalline Curiosities

We’re proud to post the first installment in a series of artist features by Coilhouse contributor and friend Jessica Joslin! Jessica and her husband, painter Jared Joslin, appeared in the first issue of the magazine. Jessica was also interviewed on the blog last year. In the post that follows, Jessica takes a look at glass virtuoso Andy Paiko.

Andy Paiko, Spine Jar

Lately, I’ve had glass on the brain. In part, it’s because I recently had the chance to indulge my (admittedly very nerdy) obsession with Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka. I saw some of their glass jellyfish, for the first time, at the Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna and the glass tentacles are still vividly trailing through my dreams. Andy Paiko seems to have more than a bit in common with the Blaschkas. There is a palpable sense of dedication to finely wrought craftsmanship and to the lusciousness inherent in the material itself. There is also a fascination with science, particularly with Natural History, and with preserving and celebrating relics from the natural world. Somehow, I suspect that all of the above were also ardent fans of Ole Worm‘s taste in collecting.

Like something from a Cabinet of Curiosities discovered in a dream, Andy Paiko’s mixed-media glass sculptures are mysterious, exquisite and very, very covet-worthy. Paiko’s sculptural vessels include a dizzying array of baroquely ornate glass bell jars, designed to house bones, shells, coral and other natural (and sometimes gold-plated) treasures. A related show-stopper is a glass chair, with compartments designed to accommodate objects, including a rhesus monkey skull and rodent skeleton.

Andy Paiko, Detail of Spinning Wheel

I must admit that I am intrigued, although also a bit mystified by, his pseudoelectrical devices. The first (certain to be a hit with all of you Tesla-philes!) incorporates Tesla coils and “is designed to make you ask questions.” The second mystery device includes an anometer (an instrument that indicates wind speed and strength) and “was designed to answer any questions you might have.”

As if that weren’t enough, there are also machines…antiquated mechanical devices, which have been lovingly re-created entirely in glass. His seismograph, balance scale and spinning wheel are, improbably, fully functioning replicas. There is a wonderful video online that shows some of Paiko’s devices in action. Check it out here. More images after the jump.

The Glass Chair

The Big Syringe

Bell Jar


Canis Auribus Tenere

10 Responses to “Andy Paiko’s Crystalline Curiosities”

  1. Stagger Leah Says:

    Wow, these are absolutely gorgeous. Even just the idea of them feels like it belongs in a fairy tale or a fantasy – adventure novel. I can totally picture a book titled “The Glass Spinning Wheel,” and I’d buy it.

  2. Ben Morris Says:

    All of these are beautiful and wonderful but the glass seismograph intrigues and flabbergasts me on a level beyond the others. It so visually stunning and it actually functions as a seismograph!

    Congratulations Jessica on a hell of a great first Coilhouse post.

  3. Nadya Says:

    Leah, I too thought of fairy tales when I saw this post! In fact I wanted to add the “Fairy Tales” tag when posting it for Jessica, but changed my mind, until I saw your comment.

    Love this stuff. Surreal, enchanting, fragile, mysterious. The dandelion in the bell jar especially. I’d love to see these incredible contraptions photographed as a surreal fairy tale by Eugenio Recuenco; something in this style.

    It’s kind of appealing to imagine that these are made out of sugar glass; these sculptures are so pretty that I just want to eat them!

  4. Ashbet Says:

    Breathtakingly lovely and compellingly macabre.

    I would love to live in a world where I could have a house full of these, plus all the goodies from Curious Expeditions!

  5. Jessica Says:

    Thanks Ben, I was quite smitten with the seismograph too…AND the balance…glass gears are h-o-t.

    Nadya, if ever there was a *perfect* candidate to build Snow White’s coffin…!?!!

    Ashbet, I adore Curious Expeditions! We used it to plan our excursion to Vienna.

  6. Jerem Morrow Says:

    May very well consume me for months, such is the pure awesome of this post.

  7. gooby Says:

    Oh, such beautiful things, my cat would surely enjoy sliding them onto the floor…

    Sometimes seeing that such beautiful delicacy can be achieved makes me feel I have wasted my life… Absolutely amazing!!

  8. kai Says:

    SO beautiful. For those of us who love the bell jars as much as what is inside them.
    Definitely covet-worthy.

    That said, I could not own something like that. I would break it.

  9. Jessica Says:

    Thanks for the warm welcome guys! *grin*

    Gooby, *certainly* not wasted! There’s always time to lock yourself in a garret to invent marvels, should you so decide…

  10. Beth Says:

    An disgustingly talented artist display work from another ridiculously talented artist. Thankyou very much.

    And I simply must own a spine jar – it would have me mesmerised no end.