Kilnformed Glass Kim brill

I've been making kilnformed glass since 2006. I am fortunate enough to live in Austin, Texas, which is home to Helios Glass Studio. Helios is a highly regarded teaching studio, where instructors with international reputations come to teach. So I've been able to take classes from some of the best of the best. There is a large, supportive and close-knit glass community in Austin and the "Helions" create some astonishing work.

New Mexico

I have been fusing for over 10 years but I'm going to show my most recent work first. In 2014 I participated in an artists' residency in New Mexico, where the landscape was the inspiration and abstraction was the object of the game. Richard Parrish and Steve Klein gathered together a dozen artists from across the country and across artistic disciplines to become steeped in the environment and generate ideas for new work. We were confronted with two very different landscapes. Ghost Ranch, near Abiquiu, is soaked in color. Orange and red cliffs, brilliant blue skies, and, surprisingly -- a secret river. It was almost too much to take in.

At Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, New Mexico. My friend Pam Price Klebaum making sketches.

Our group also spent two days at a nearby place located on private property called Plaza Blanca. A very different landscape, it was a complete surprise due to its lack of color. It's a dry, bleached place with soaring spires made of soft stone. I was smitten.

Top left photo courtesy of Delores Taylor, an accomplished pate de verre artist

New Work

Two bodies of related works came out of this residency. I made colorful glass pieces, fired at high temperatures, that were a fairly literal interpretations of the New Mexico land. I ran out of patience with these pretty quickly.

It was time for a new direction. While I was gaining a modicum of control over the glass, I wasn't thrilled with the very literal approach. I began looking to abstract the environment in a way that might not give the observer a view of a landscape, but rather the feel of a landscape. It didn't take too long before the glass started to speak to me.

Steve Klein pointed out to me that this work is a collaboration between myself and the kiln. I like that thought. I arrange the glass in a manner that I think will give me a pleasing result, but the kiln and the glass are going to do what they are going to do. In some ways, I'm just along for the ride.

A series of 8 of these pieces, below, was juried into the 2016 Emerge/Evolve kilnformed glass exhibit. That exhibit at Bullseye Glass Projects, in Portland, Oregon, is comprised of 43 works in Bullseye glass by artists in 16 countries. My series, "Plaza Blanca, New Mexico: Investigations", received an honorable mention.

Sue Taylor, a judge for the exhibit, had this to say in the show's catalog:

"I was very taken with those eight panels by Kim Brill. They provide an opportunity for aesthetic pleasure as well as piquing my curiosity about the artist's intention in a way that was challenging. We (judges) talked about the relationship to landscape and it seemed to me that all of these pictorial or painterly effects that were incorporated into the panels have everything to do with earthly processes rather than the "look" of the landscape. They seem to be more geological than depicted landscapes. I became interested in the relationship between geological processes relative to the land and geological processes that take place in the studio and in the kiln. I think Brill's work is extremely satisfying and I congratulate her."

In early 2017, the second panel on the top row was selected by the Corning Museum of Glass to be included in the yearly issue of New Glass Review 38. Artists submit work in kilnforming, casting, lampworking, blown glass as well as installations. 866 artists from 47 countries submitted 2,427 works for consideration. 100 are chosen to represent the best glass work in this annual survey of the material.

And Then, A Twist

A completely new direction for my desert work presented itself -- and it was a surprise and a delight. While pondering a change in focus, and a change in colors, I was experimenting with some different ideas. I put together a high-temperature piece using my tried-and-true methods, and the kiln gods handed me this. It's the BACK SIDE of the piece I was playing with.

Well, this was interesting. Worth exploring. It took about 8 pieces before I felt like I had a clue about how to control this technique. I quickly made another 12 pieces and it was clear I had another desert inspired series on my hands.

Older Work


Before becoming completely enthralled by southwestern landscapes, I had been working on learning to make well-designed work that would then be combed. It was fun while it lasted. It has now become a tradition at my studio that when my friend George comes for Thanksgiving each year, we do combings together. He's a ceramics guy. I'm trying to convert him.


There was a period of some years when I made spiral bowls. I would have my glass cut at Heart of Texas Metalworks, based on a vector graphic I provided, which was loaded into a CAD program on a water jet cutter.

Stack Squares

I began my fused glass adventures with stack squares. A basic technique taught to everyone who learns to fuse, it became my mission to do them in a unique and unexpected way. To this day I have not grown tired of them. It's been quite a while since I've worked in this way but I'm sure I'll come back to it some day. These designs just make my heart happy.

Apologies for the bad cropping

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