With no pun intended, water seems to be a “running theme” with glass artist Scott Manns. A plumber in the off season, Manns recently began creating a series of glass wave sculptures because David Macomber and Nicole Smedile — fellow resident artists at artBOX, the art gallery/artists’ colony located on Adventure Pier in Wildwood — were creating wave art.
“That’s what’s nice about artBOX,” Manns says. “You feed off each other.”
Manns is one of four full-time artists at artBOX, along with Macomber, Smedile and Allyson Cook. The works of fifteen artists in total, however, are displayed and sold there during the season.
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Manns, originally a photographer, only recently began working with glass. But his love for it was spawned as a child walking along the shores in his hometown of Rehoboth Beach, Del., when he’d collect sea glass with his mother.
“I was always fascinated by glass,” Manns says. “I grew up in Rehoboth and watching how the sea and sand made it into rounded pieces drew me in. (I thought) ‘what can you do with it?’
“So I dabbled with sea glass, made it into jewelry and did lots of experiments,” he adds. “(Glass) pushes me to make more.”
Manns began with stained glass, moved onto fused glass, then furnace work or glassblowing with a team, then onto torch work — which is done alone and is very isolating.
That’s why he enjoys the community spirit of artBOX.
“During the week when it’s just the artists (and not many tourists), we feed off of each other — it’s like a little artist family — and we ask each other ‘what do you think about this?’ or ‘maybe you should try this,’” he says. “It’s inspiring. It pushes me to make more work. It’s tough to find an outlet (for my art) and being in a studio gets kind of lonely.”
While Manns will do a sketch of what he would ideally like the final outcome of his glass sculpture to be, sometimes they just plumb don’t work out. But for Manns, those are frequently “happy accidents.”
Aside from waves, Manns is inspired by things found in the ocean and creates pieces such as his “practical and unpractical” coral bowls — practical because they can hold larger objects; impractical because they can’t hold small ones.
“They’re just a neat shape,” he says.
There’s also his series of Radiolaria, microscopic plankton that moves along the ocean’s current.
He’s also experimented with items found in his off-season career by fusing plumbing fixtures such as “neat old faucets” with glass octopus tentacles pouring out of them.
Manns, who can be found at artBOX from 6 to 10 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, says that artBOX is a great alternative for something different to do at night at the shore.
“It’s a nice nightlife thing to do,” he claims. “It’s too hot during day, everyone wants to be on the beach.”
Tiny things are just cute. Babies. Kittens. Figurines. Gnomes.
Where: artBOX, Adventure Pier, Spencer Avenue and the Boardwalk, Wildwood
When: 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily
How much: Free to enter, artwork varies in price