Art Statement

Growing up, my family lived in a wooded neighborhood where lots were measured in acres. Neighbors were fairly close but with intervening spaces filled with woods the neighborhood was bordered on one side by a bayou. This is where I spent a lot of time, roaming around in the woods.

This exposure to nature during these years had a formative effect on the imagery my art would take much later in life. As I’ve grown and lived I’ve come to understand how connected all life is, how interdependent, how dependent we are on the other life forms for our own survival. And yet, we indulge in activity every day that does harm to the very things that sustain us.

What I try to do with my work, with these pieces, is to showcase the beauty and diversity of the small forms of life to show that they not only deserve to exist but must exist. 



Ellen Abbott and Marc Leva have been working in glass as a team since 1976 after a serendipitous afternoon propelled them into the burgeoning studio glass movement and the establishment of their studio, Custom Etched Glass.  Ellen's life long series of art classes and Marc's craftsmanship and problem solving skills enabled them to design and create carved and etched architectural glass for a national clientele. After over 40 years of producing commission work for homes and businesses, Ellen and Marc have retired from this work to concentrate on the small sculptural work in the pate de verre lost wax kiln cast method.

They became interested in cast glass in the early 1980s and began their journey in the technique by using custom cast crystal forms in some of their commission work.  This interest in cast glass eventually provided another outlet for creative expression and in 1994, they started exploring the pate de verre method of cast glass by testing out ceramic, jewelry, and bronze casting techniques, as there was no instruction available, and developed the process they use today.



The Carved and Etched Glass

The architectural work was by commission only but after over 40 years we have decided to retire. We are no longer accepting etched glass commissions. If you would like to see some of that work, click here to go to the etched glass gallery page.


The Pate de Verre

These are the categories in which the different bodies of work fall.

The Bowls: This is the form we started with, learned the craft on and are the first sculptural pieces we did. Beginning with plain simple forms; the flower, sky, and mineral series; these pieces were explorations in color and pattern. Gaining confidence, we started the sculptural limited editions of 10 or 25 and although each piece in a series is the same form, the color combinations vary.


The Small Sculptures: These are simple glorifications of the small life of the natural world. I am endlessly awed by the beauty and diversity of nature.


The Large Bowls: The large bowls were about getting bigger. I explored several themes; the solar system, flowers, but some of these were the first pieces in which I used more than one element.


The Cups: I started doing the cups thinking that it would be something I could enter into goblet exhibitions and therefore get more exposure. They are one of my excursions into containers and contents, insides and outsides as none of the cups is empty, being all of a piece to show the interdependence of one to the other. They are meant to be fun. I did about 15 of these and then moved on to another form but I never did enter a single goblet exhibition.


The Vases: These pieces are taller versions of the small bowls, sculptures in the round, only instead of limited edition, each piece is one of a kind. They are stories. I've been interested in the art of storytelling for a long time. It is the precurser of our history books. It is the knowledge and wealth of a people. These pieces are small stories but worthy of hearing.


The Boxes: The boxes are either Odes or Laments and sometimetimes they have contents, items that may be removed. Whether Ode or Lament, the boxes all have stories that go with them.


The Botanica Erotica: These pieces focus on the reproductive parts of flowers or the suggestive way that petals unfold or the fullness of completion. They are about how plants, and animals too, unabashedly go about the process of procreation, the most powerful biological imperative, unlike us humans who cloak it in shame.


The Drowned Feathers: The drowned feathers were inspired by a week on the Oregon Coast and all the shed feathers plastered on the wet sand. This set is comprised of 9 pieces but since I enjoyed doing them I did others that were not drowned.