A large group of MCGAG members converged in Normal, Illinois, to visit the home and studio of artist Nicholas Africano and his wife Rebecca. Africano’s work in glass is created by casting, using the lost-wax method developed in ancient times. He makes models out of wax, which are then covered in plaster. The form is heated so that the wax melts and runs out, forming a mold. Hot glass is then poured in to fill the empty space. After the glass cools, the plaster is removed to reveal the glass sculpture. For some of the larger sculptures, multiple castings are made and later joined together. Final finishing is performed with various tools to provide additional color and texture.
A striking feature of Africano’s work is that the model for nearly all of his pieces is his wife Rebecca. She is portrayed in many different settings, and in some cases she is depicted as two twins (Rebecca herself is a twin).
Editor’s Note: Photography was not permitted inside the studio.
After our visit, we enjoyed a lunch in downtown Normal, followed by a tour of the new art museum at Illinois State University.
Photos by Bob Weissman