Artist Marcela Rosemberg has devoted her life to fusing glass. Born in Argentina, Rosemberg is an award-winning glass artist and designer with a global presence. Her newest collection showcases abstract mezuzot.
“Inspired by old Jerusalem, I designed this abstract collection of mezuzahs which is for a more contemporary taste,” Rosemberg said. “The mezuzahs are fabricated in aluminum, anodized in silver colour, fused in shiny bold dichroic glass and stainless steel.”
“Dichroic glass is glass that displays two different colours by undergoing a colour change in certain lighting conditions,” she said. “The custom stainless steel Hebrew letter shin can be seen on the front of the mezuzah. Shin stands for the word Shaddai, a name for God. The outdoor water resistant mezuzah case was built to fit a mezuzah parchment (scroll) of 10 cm (about 4 inches).”
Beauty, simplicity, elegance and functionality are essential components in Rosemberg’s designs. She treats glass as if it were a human being, by respecting it and not pushing it, permitting her to understand its flow, displacement, behaviour and action up to its most inner part, its core.
“I always make comparisons about life and glass,” Rosemberg said. “Like human beings, glass is strong but fragile. I am enchanted with the image of transparency and light and fire.”
At age 61, Rosemberg has been honing her craft for 25 years. Some 16 years ago, she immigrated to Prince Edward Island with only the ocean and her Jewish faith as creative companions. Collaborating with the Atlantic Jewish Council and visiting cruise lines, Rosemberg welcomed tourists to her glass studio and workshop.
Rosemberg’s work resides in homes and business spaces throughout the world.
“A little piece of my soul is in Israel,” Rosemberg said. “I was contacted by the office of gifts for dignitaries where I was commissioned to design a bowl that our (then) prime minister Stephen Harper and his wife brought with them to Israel, and is now in the home of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.”
Growing up in Buenos Aires, Rosemberg graduated from Panamericana School of Art as an interior designer before pursuing studies in glass craft and design making with renowned artist Rita Neumann.
“Rita gave me the building blocks of a fascinating technique called fused glass,” Rosemberg said. “The idea behind fused glass is that art objects can be created by melting glass in a kiln with two or more pieces of glass heated until they fuse together into a single piece. The process is long because each piece remains in the kiln a minimum of 14 hours.”
Rosemberg likes to work in shades of blues and greens. “They represent the ocean, holding a special memory of the landscape from my childhood.”
The one-of-a-kind contemporary designs are all hand made. “I cut very tiny pieces of glass and assemble and play, like a child. I don’t design on paper, rather I place the glass on my design table and move around until the design appears,” she says.
“Using a glass-cutter and a glass plier I assemble and place inside the kiln, a special furnace designed to fire glass. I program the kiln to rise very slowly from room temperature up to 800 degrees Celsius – that takes about 14 hours to be fused to be healthy. I remove, wash and align the mezuzah case, glue it on top of the aluminum metal material – and once the mezuzah cover is glued to the case, I place a sheen on top of the glass and let it stand for 24 hours.”
Her vast collection includes menorahs, seder plates, matzah plates, mezuzahs, candlesticks, sculptures, bowls, serving pieces, flower vases, knife spreaders, sun catchers, ornaments, paperweights, candle holders and jewelry.
Rosemberg left Prince Edward Island and relocated her glass studio to Cobourg, Ont., before settling in Toronto last March. Her work is displayed throughout Toronto such as at the Petroff Gallery, the Royal Ontario Museum and the Gardiner Museum. Rosemberg was also chosen to design an award for donors of the Canadian Tire Jumpstart Program.
“I created a playground made out of glass,” Rosemberg said. “It is one of my most touching ongoing commissions: a park for kids with disabilities.”
Rosemberg offers citywide workshops in Spanish and English for individuals, families and small groups. Her work is sold at her studio and online www.marcelarosemberg.com.