Painting-under-glass, reverse-painted glass, verre églomisé: all refer to the technique of working with paint, metal leaf, acids and varnishes opposite the “viewing” or right side of glass—whether it be a bowl, platter, brooch, table top or wall panel. The French term “verre églomisé” was coined from the name of a prominent art collector, J.B. Glomy, who died in 1786; however, the method itself has been practiced for at least two thousand years—perhaps since the discovery of glass itself.
Each one-of-a-kind piece begins with an original drawing, sometimes with several possible colourways. There can be as many as sixteen layers of materials that culminate in the finish seen from the ”right” side of the piece. Each layer, transparent, translucent, and finally opaque, captures the diffused light inside of the piece, creating a luminous effect. It is as if glass is being used as a light-filled canvas.
The current work is influenced by the Viennese Secession, British Arts & Crafts Movement, Persian and Ottoman design…in addition to both French and Japanese Art Nouveau.
Caroline Jonas has been working with the archaic technique of verre églomisé for 20 years at her studio in Toronto.