Andy Paiko is a glass blower known for his intricate vessels that deftly mix nostalgia and modernity, and look equally at home in the Mütter Museum of medicine or the Guggenheim. Yet he strives to create more than just beautiful objects. A lover of functionality, he is passionately reinventing how glass behaves and how it’s ultimately perceived.
Paiko has painstakingly re-created intricate antique machines almost exclusively out of glass, including a seismograph, a spinning wheel, weight scales, and even a large-scale Ben Franklin-esque glass armonica — and yes, they all work.
It’s impossible for photos to capture the magic of these machines, but a brief video from Oregon Art Beat shows a few of them in motion. It’s mesmerizing to watch his glass gadgets perform real-world tasks while hearing them tinkling and clinking as they move.
Paiko’s breakthrough moment came years ago when a college professor, upon looking at his array of staggeringly beautiful pieces, asked him, “Have you asked yourself whether or not the world really needs another glass vase?”
From that moment on, Paiko strove to create glass that shattered expectations.
Though his favorite artists include Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Tim Hawkinson, Tom Friedman, and recently Martin Puryear, Paiko is most influenced by the real world.
His scientific heart is warmed by antiquated technology and uniquely engineered machines. He’s also inspired by mycology, botany, humanism, and, he says, “anyone who makes or does something original in their life without having to try too hard.”