The depths of space in an orb of glass (pictures)

The "stardust" marbles you flicked across the dirt have nothing on these breathtaking glass wonders.

Michelle Starr
Michelle Starr is CNET's science editor, and she hopes to get you as enthralled with the wonders of the universe as she is. When she's not daydreaming about flying through space, she's daydreaming about bats.
Michelle Starr
1 of 10 Gateson Recko

Universe marble

Gateson Recko produces what he calls "universe marbles" -- like tiny pieces of sci-fi space, complete with floating planets, fumed nebulae and speckled stars of coloured glass. The marble above has planets of coloured glass, with a swirl and burst of fumed colour, produced by infusing gold or solver with the glass. Typically, his works of this nature sell for around $1,500 to $2,000. You can see a video of one of his marvels here.

2 of 10 Christian Arnold

Embryonic Xenomorph

Aussie Christian Arnold turns to sci-fi and biology for many of his creations. Of particular awesomeness is his Alien Xenomorph series, which combines both, with a glass sculpture of an alien Xenomoprh skeleton encased in borosilicate glass -- popular in art glass for its durability and high resistance to thermal shock. You can find a small number of Arnold's works for sale here.

3 of 10 Sean Clayton

Silver nebula

Sean Clayton uses 99.999 percent pure silver to create fumed reproductions of cosmic phenomena. This involves taking a small piece of silver and attaching it to a knob of molten glass. As the metal vaporises, the vapour infuses with the glass, creating an array of colours. In the case of Clayton's works, some of the small "bubbles" resembling stars in the glass are not bubbles at all, but small particles of the silver trapped inside. You can find more here.

4 of 10 Kenan Tiemeyer

Floating opal

Kenan Tiemeyer (website under construction) specialises in fuming, combined with dichroic glass -- that is, glass that has been fused with micro-layers of various metals to produce a shimmering, colour shifting effect -- and opals. The opals used in art glass aren't, however, natural opals, which are unable to withstand the heat of molten borosilicate glass. Instead, glass artists use synthetic opals made using the Gilson formula, a process which takes 14-18 months and produces an opal of similar composition to natural opals, but higher durability. You can follow Tiemeyer on Facebook.

5 of 10 Tim Keyzers

Alien world

Tim Keyzers is known for making beautiful marbles encased in copper shells, resembling small, spherical machines or tiny worlds contained in a copper housing. His strange, alien mountain formations are created by melting chunks of coloured glass in with clear glass, and he often includes a Gilson opal, resembling a small moon or spacecraft. You can see more of his work on Facebook.

6 of 10 John Bridges

Cosmic fuming

The work of John Bridges incorporates fumed and coloured glass, divided into several series. He recently seems to have started moving on from his intricate yet creepy eyeball phase from 2013 and into something a little more cosmic, incorporating opals into strange, hungry landscapes.

7 of 10 Daisuke Saito

Fumed symmetry

One of Japan's best flameworkers is Daisuke Saito, famous for his use of precision symmetry, ghostly fuming and perfectly positioned opals. He also makes stunning glass sculptures, some of which which you can find on Brian Bowden's Glass ORBits.

8 of 10 Eusheen Goines

Floral implosion

Eusheen Goines combines fuming, colourwork and implosion -- a technique that involves placing dots of coloured glass onto the surface of a molten ball of clear glass, then stretching the glass so that the points of colour "implode" into stretched shapes.

9 of 10 Scott Tribble


Scott Tribble, AKA Scoz, has this magnificent trick for his marbles. Not only is he a master of a whorled, fumed dot vortex, he is also a master of trapping a perfect bubble of air inside the glass at the centre of the vortex looking down. This produces an effect like looking through the wrong end of a telescope, reproducing the glass art in miniature through the bubble. You can see this effect in action on his Facebook page.

10 of 10 James Yaun

Hypnotic glass

James Yaun does some amazing things with fuming, creating intricate vortices of wispy glass coloured with silver and 24 carat gold. Because the flame he uses is very large and very hot, he is able to produce some fascinating works, and very rarely does he use premade coloured glass. You can view more of his amazing work on his Facebook page.

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