Artist Fide Durban decided to call her jewelry business Fides Virtu. "Virtu" refers to her deep love for the art form she chose to manifest her passion for life and the glass work creations that bear her name. Originally from Chile, Durban moved to the capital, Santiago, to be involved in the fashion design business.
Durban's love of glasswork began when she saw liquid glass, in its molten state. It was evocative of water in its translucency, its infinite beauty and ever-changing nature. To Durban, who loved the creative process and found the greatest joy in life creating beauty, this was love at first sight. She enrolled in glasswork classes at the Bemis School of Art in Colorado Springs. During her education she was exposed to artist Chiluly's glasswork and decided to pursue jewelry design. With her prior experience in fashion design and her newly found love for glasswork, the transition was easy.
Come and watch Durban Saturday in Vail while she demonstrates her technique at the Cogswell Gallery, from noon to 4 p.m.
"My inspiration comes from that sense of freedom traveling brings: the landscapes of my earlier travels by train through Southern Chile; beautiful places like Patagonia and the Island of Chiloe," she said. "It's just magical: the colors, the people, the Andes Mountains, running against the Pacific Ocean, lush from seasonal rain. Water has always had a powerful impact on me, from the ocean to the rivers, to waterfalls."
The technique Durban uses is called "lampworking." This is a technical term that describes the art of melting and forming raw glass into shapes by using a torch. Jewelry lamp workers use a torch to melt the tips of colorful glass rods. As it melts, they wind the fluid glass around a mandrel, a narrow stainless steel rod. Later, when the rod is removed, the space occupied by the rod becomes the hole used for stringing the beads into jewelry. The glass beads are then hardened in a kiln, a process called annealing.