How can a piece of glass be a piece of art?
A huge grin appears on the face of glass artist Jonathan Michael Davis as he burns hole after hole through spheres of glass, making a popping sound.
Davis, a glassblower by trade, uses a sabre of flame made of liquid oxygen and propane to manipulate glass into elaborate art and sculptures at his studio in rural Chatham County near Pittsboro, North Carolina. The temperature from the torch in Davis' studio rises along with the anticipation of a large glass sculpture in the making.
On a recent day, Davis was preparing a large piece for the Sculpture in the Garden Exhibition at the North Carolina Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill. His work, along with the work of other sculptors across the state, are integrated into the garden's outdoors environment.
"I've never done anything this big or expensive and time consuming before," Davis says of his new sculpture. "I wanted to kind of push myself, at least in my mind. If I put forth as much effort as I possibly can, that's going to be received in some way."
Critical thinking challenge: Why is Michael Davis motivated to push himself?