Mary Ann “Toots Zynsky” is a glass worker who began her career originally as a ceramics artist. In 1974 she received her B.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design where so many artists converted to glass under the influence of Dale Chihuly.
She also studied in Deer Isle, Maine, at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, pioneering new approaches to glass at the Pilchuck Glass School (which she helped found in 1971), as well as New York’s Experimental Glass Workshop where she was a teacher. For her sculpture in glass, Toots Zynksy developed a unique method of fusing thin strands of glass into colorful patterns slumped over and sculptured on molds or forms in a technique called ‘filet de verre’.
Toots developed her own complex equipment for this process whereby intense heat is applied under a lowered hood to the multicolored threads of glass while they melt and fuse. At the same time, Zynskz, who wears heat resistant helmet, gloves and insulated suit in order to make this possible, shapes the glass by hand.
Timing is critical in this in order to stop the melt at just the right moment. Her work is dramatic as it shows a profound sense of coloring that ultimately comes from her knowledge of and affection for the art of painting.