The Japanese glass virtuoso Rui Sasaki's great subject is ever - changing weather. Inspired by the fragile and ephemeral.

Artists and designers who work with ceramics and glass might be thought of as delicate types. After all, they specialize in works that can easily break.

But the converse tends to be true. It requires steady-handed bravery to blow glass or fire up a kiln, given the melting, explosions and shattering that are normal part of the process.

But Sasaki fits this counterintuitive mold. She is soft-spoken but extremely dogged in her exploration of a tricky medium on a large scale, as with what is perhaps her best-known work. ''Liquid Sunshine  / I am a Pluviophile,'' a commission for the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, N.Y., which was on long-term view until January and is now part of the museum's collection.

It is made of more than 200 raindrop-shape pieces of phosphorescent glass, and Ms. Sasaki spent about a year making it. She is working on a new version of the piece for Toyama Glass Art Museum.

''Fragility and breaking glass is an inspiration for me,'' Ms. Sasaki, 36, said from her home in Kanazawa, Japan.
''Because glass is very fragile, but it's really strong - much stronger than iron in some ways.''

Ms. Sasaki's great subject is the weather, which, in the wrong hands, could be a banal topic. She infuses it with mystery.

''It's an important inspiration for me,'' Ms. Sasaki said. ''We never really get great sunshine in my area, and it's the most rainy city in Japan. It's always cloudy.'' She was raised in a suburb of Tokyo, where it was much sunnier, she said.

Rather than create static subjects to be looked at, Ms. Sasaki is also expert at activating her installations. in Corning, ''Liquid Sunshine'' was experienced by visitors in a darkened room, where the lights went off each time someone entered, courtesy of a motion detector.

The bits of phosphorescent material, which were being constantly charged would glow, but then fade over time as people lingered in the space, ''the way the memory of sunshine fades during the dark days of winter,'' Ms. Sasaki wrote in her artist's statement for the piece.

She used phosphorescent glass similarly in the 2015 work ''Weather'' Chandelier,'' which was attached to a solar panel. She has to special-order the phosphorescent material from China.

Susie Silbert, the Corning Museum curator who worked on ''Liquid Sunshine,'' said Ms. Sasaki's preparations impressed her.

''Rui met with scientists to see how clear glass could work with phosphorescence,'' Ms. Silbert said. ''She really had to troubleshoot that. It was a lot of research. Not all glass shapes can hold it.''

Though Ms .Sasaki creates aesthetically pleasing objects, her work can have an edge of menace, too.

Her 2010 installation ''Walking on Glass'' had visitors do just that, pulverising glass panes into dust. For the ''Self Container No 2,'' exhibited in 2015, she created a box of clear glass blocks, open on top , just barely large enough to fit her own body in a folded-up position.

Growing up, ''I wanted to be an archaeologist or a surgeon,'' Ms. Sasaki said. But in high school, she traveled with her father to Okinawa, a hub of craft activity in Japan, where she saw glass blown for the first time.

''I was like, 'Oh, my God, that is glass,'' she said. ''I was fascinated with it, so I switched my career goals.''

The honor and serving of the latest global operational research of Arts & Crafts, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Ted Loos.


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