African Pygmy Kingfisher

"I grew up surrounded by birds in a woodland and marshland that was a child's wonderland. Later, as an artist exploring color combinations in glass, I turned to birds' magnificent plumage for inspiration. But on a recent visit home, I was struck by how few birds remained in my childhood haunts. I began researching and discovered how many species of birds are disappearing or in decline as climate change and development diminish their habitats. 


My new glass vessels draw their inspiration from the colors/pattering of endangered birds and seems a fitting medium for honoring them. Initially, glassmaking intrigued me because it hadn't been widely explored as an art medium. There was so much to be discovered! I learned early on that you have to work with glass, you can't just impose your desires on it because it's always doing something on its own. When glass is hot, you have to move with it. It goes irretrievably wrong pretty quickly if you make a mistake. That's not unlike our relationship to the planet, WE need to stay attuned to how wee impact our environment and make adjustments when things are out of balance - because when species are gone we can't recreate them."


-Toots Zynsky, from Honoring the Future's Artists to Know