'Where the Earth Meets the Sky' Takes Viewers To Shelburne Falls
studio of Josh Simpson
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The Shelburne Falls artist known on three continents for his intricate
glass "Planets" lets television cameras inside his world. "Where
the Earth Meets the Sky: The Glassworks of Josh Simpson,"
is a WGBY documentary produced and directed by Keith Clark.
"When it's hot, glass is alive," Simpson tells viewers, comparing
his studio to a "weird science project." The way Simpson
works in front the WGBY cameras, glass becomes a magical, even mystical
Viewers witness the genesis of one of his famous "Megaworlds,"
colorful orbs layered and adorned with continents, clouds, coral reefs
and space ships. Interviews with Simpson and his astronaut wife Cady
frame the artistic process, adding to the "cosmic" aspect
of his work.
Clark, an Emmy-nominated lighting designer, also fills
program with stunning images of Simpson's other glassworks, including
his "New Mexico" glass, cobalt-blue glass with patches of
silver, inspired by the "New Mexico sky at dusk"; and "Tektites,"
which are iridescent, molten sculptures that challenge traditional
assumptions about glass.
Simpson, whose fascination with planet Earth began with the first
moon landing in 1969, describes his and "Planets" as "little
worlds from some other universe." "I want people to get
a sense of the beauty of the whole world we live in," he says.
He takes the symbolism a step further by "hiding things" inside
each "Planet" for owners and admirers to discover. "I
am always thinking what explorers will find." The artist-visionary
has also hidden marble-sized "Planets" at sites around
Viewers also learn about Simpson's beginnings as a
time when he lived in a tee-pee in the open spaces of Vermont and
his savings to build his first studio out of old barn pieces.
Simpson's work is part of the permanent
collection at the White House, and in the homes of such notables
as violinist Isaac Stern and actor Alec Baldwin. His work is
far away as Malaysia. Simpson is also long-time supporter of
WGBY. His works have been part of the WGBY Gallery Collection
fund-raiser for the public television station.
Visit Josh Simpson's website.
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