Studio Biography

kevin prochaska and ann miller worked together seven years
before they actually met in 2006.
something was easy and right from the beginning of their collaboration in design and lamp-working; their fluidity as an artistic team took on another dimension with the transformation
of their studios to xeno/prochaska online:

ann started making bracelets in the living room of her rented beach cottage over the pacific in 1983.  she remembers:
the idea for the bracelets came out of the blue.  i was setting cut glass on edge to form lovely, and dangerous, flowers; fusing barbed wired between glass sheets; incorporating neon; challenging the limits of the glass, and my skill working it, in every way i could.  
but i know nothing about hard glass, nor about torchwork.

one day in a brown study i saw the silhouette of a glass bracelet.  exquisite.  i'd seen bangles, but never a glass cuff.  i was intrigued, both by its beauty and by the apparent contradiction of wearing glass.  

talking the idea out with friends led to an introduction to lampworking from a local artist, theresa kowalski, who introduced me to borosilicate glass, known for it's extraordinary strength, and clarity. my brother set me up with his welding torches.

my first bracelets were clumsy and distorted, but they had their appeal.  a friend, bill demmon, soon to be a partner in the fledgling studio, noticed the way a scrap of glass on the work bench acted as a lens, enlarging and rippling color i’d applied on top of a bracelet.  
i began using color on the belly of the bracelet,
and adding texture both above and below, with drill bits and files.  

over time, through mistakes, experiments, observation, and advice, we perfected the technical end:  
appropriate annealing ramps to relieve stress introduced from bending, relief applications and the relative compatibilities of colored and clear glass, as well as sizing adjustments.  
there were no computer controls for the kiln;  twice entire mounds of bracelets slumped into tragically beautiful tangles while i collapsed too in a hot bath, to get ready for the next wild ride on this maverick horse of an idea-  wearable glass, an idea with a mind of its own.

once a bracelet is formed and detailed, it is washed in the flame of the torch from one end to the other, belly, back and sides.  it is  then gently heaped in a kiln with others and brought up to a temperature just below the slump point, then gradually allowed to cool.  this process normally takes a full night; with the addition of gold and platinum, three. certain bracelets are then etched to create a frost effect; some stained in rich earth tones through the use of a chemical air bath within the kiln.

though we no longer do ‘asymmetric yet balanced’ mobiles as earrings, which appealed so to everybody's quirk, our work continues to reflect that aspect of the human condition.

  it was tom sassano who introduced the l‘assemblage and constructivisms when he was studio partner, as well as the curlicue bracelet style that we do today in strikingly different variations from the original.  thank you tom, andrew bigler, roger plowe, lloyd knight, kevin kilkenny, jim smircich, janis simmons, jim billy and kevin ogrady.

 having a studio of more than one is an opportunity to be a business that is not capitalism as usual; XENO is an ever changing experiment.  thank you gian garambone, holly goldstein, shannon berg, tinujei bustamante duree, sasha feather, and kay miller.

 you are all at the soul of the studio through your ideas and passion, management, balance and imbalance.

glass attracts us like fire, even as it holds and moves light like a river.   in fact, though born of lightning and sand,
glass is a super-cooled liquid.   
glass, perfect balance of the essential elements:
earth, air, fire, water.