"He often likes to tinker with what might be called vase architecture, giving some parts a high polish, or incising out whole sections of glass, cantilevering it out, pushing it toward gravity's end, fiddling with space and volume, seeming to put these vases at physical risk. Element by element, slice by slice, tone by tone, this is an art of consummate orchestration, and inexorably builds visual intrigue, one perfect layer at a time."
Art critic & professor
Each of Sidney’s unique glass series begins with a rough sketch. From there he creates a technical drawing outlining the exact size of each piece of glass to be cut. A cardboard or paper model is then cut and assembled in order to see the piece in three-dimensions.
The glass used in Sidney’s pieces is ordered from commercial glass companies. It is typically delivered in 4 x 5 foot pieces. He then cuts strips of glass by scoring the glass with a glass cutter, then breaking the glass apart with pressure. The strips are then cut into squares whose size is determined by the size of circle needed in each layer of each piece.
After scoring the circle with a circle cutter, Sidney makes four relief cuts from the edge of the circle to each corner of the square. By gently holding onto the edge of the circle with pliers and pulling, the outer edge of the square is removed. These pieces are saved and used to make the Quasi Modern series. The circles are then roughly stacked until all are precisely cut.
Each piece is then cold worked, which is a process of grinding and polishing a piece of glass using sawing and sanding equipment that utilizes cool water as a lubricant. The amount of grinding and polishing is determined by the design of each series.
After all the parts of a piece are complete, they are thoroughly cleaned and checked for scratches and chips. They are then laminated together using ultraviolet adhesives. These are clear, fluid adhesives that cure with the use of ultraviolet (UV) light. Sidney has developed a process for adding pigments to his adhesives. He is able to control the color in this way. Adhesive is poured onto the center of each piece of glass before gently laying another piece of glass on top. The bubbles are then gently persuaded out of the glue joint and the pieces pinned in place before they are exposed to UV light and permanently secured in place. After each exposure, the excess glue is cleaned from the edges of the glue joint, and the piece is re-exposed to the UV light for final curing. The piece is then cleaned again with alcohol and a sharp knife before moving onto the next glue joint. Once the entire piece is laminated together, hours of cleaning ensue with the help of countless Xacto knife blades, bottles of alcohol, Windex, and piles of paper towel.
Each piece has a unique color pattern and each series requires a certain level of cold working. In some series, each piece of glass is individually ground. In others, stacks of glass are pre-laminated before the cutting, grinding and polishing process begins. And in some series, entire sections of a vessel are cut, ground and polished before laminating, only to have certain areas re-cut, ground, and polished again.