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Art Statement

When I was a kid, we lived in a wooded neighborhood where lots were measured in acres. Neighbors close but with intervening spaces filled with woods 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, I think 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 address that connection, that interconnection of even the least form of life to the greatest, that even the least not only deserves 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 have enabled them to design and create architectural glass in a range of styles using sandblasting, laminating, and related techniques for residential and corporate interiors. The quality of their work and their attention to detail has attracted a national clientele.

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 and developing the pate de verre method of cast glass by testing out ceramic, jewelry, and bronze casting techniques. Ellen and Marc consider these their 'small works' in contrast to the 'large canvases' of their etched glass. They currently reside and maintain their studio in Houston TX.


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.


The Pate de Verre

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 Vessels: We started out with vessels, small bowls and then taller vase forms. These pieces are sculptures in the round. 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.