Latchezar Boyadjiev Glass Artist - California, USA

Originally you worked in the field of optical glass, can you explain this process and the type of work you were able to produce using this method?

The term optical glass comes from using optical glass to create my sculptures.

I was using glass segments to construct my pieces. They were mostly clear optical with inclusion of coloured glass segments to bring a little life to the coldness of the crystal.

Each segment was cut according to my drawing and ground, fine ground and polished. After finishing the sections I was gluing them together with an opticly clear adhesive.

Why did you change to cast glass?

I was limited by this technique regarding size and colours. I wanted my work to be more dynamic and have great impact on the viewer.

I always wanted to try kiln casting and after a visit to the Czech Republic in 1996 I started casting my work there.

It was a in collaboration with the Czech Foundry that lasted about 15 years and is still going even though I started casting my work in my studio in California.

Can you take us through the process you use now from drawing, clay modelling to the final cast glass piece?

First and most important is the drawing. I spend a lot of time drawing on a craft paper with charcoal. When I like the particular sculpture I start modelling with clay. After the clay is done I make a negative plaster mould and then cast the original in plaster.

I grind and make the plaster positive perfect as I want it to look in glass. From the plaster positive I make another negative mould for glass using silica sand and plaster.

After the mould is dry I place it in a kiln. Than I measure the right amount of glass needed and load the mould with coloured glass billets which are in a shape of 8”x8”x1” thick tiles.

Then I program the kiln computer to adjust the temperature and annealing times depending on the thickness of the glass – the thicker the glass the longer the annealing is. It usually takes two to three weeks to melt and cool a sculpture.

After the piece is done than the hardest part is to finish the surfaces. It involves a lot of grounding, fine grinding with diamond tools, polishing, sand blasting and other finishing techniques.

You personally take your plaster positives to The Czech Republic, why?

I have been doing that for 12 years. It was easier to pack four plaster models in two boxes and take them as a luggage than to ship them. Also I wanted to talk to the foundry people in person choosing the right colours and finishes for the pieces.

Not only has your glass changed from optical to cast, your drawing material has also changed from pencil to charcoal. Can you tell us why?

Pencil drawings are great for smaller designs. When you get to draw life size of three, four feet sculptures the pencil becomes an obstacle – it slows me down.

Can you discuss the way you use a combination of glass and metal in ‘Radience’ / ‘illumination’?

I wanted to introduce a light in my sculpture and designed a stainless steel structure with a built in LED light. The light is shooting up through the glass and illuminates it. It comes alive – almost like fire in a torch.


Shape and colour describe your work; can you expand on this?

Glass is a cold material. I am trying to soften the crystal structure appearance of the material. Giving it dynamic shapes, combined with fluidity and vibrant colours to express my feelings and emotions. You can take any two pieces of my work and find out about it.

The piece ‘Pursuit’ shows the control you have over glass and how you have the flow of colour within the piece. Please discuss?

The flow of the colour is achieved by controlling the thickness of the glass – the thinner it is lighter and the thicker – the darker.


It is well know that you deflected to the United States via Italy in 1986. How does it feel to have to come from this position to having your art in residence at the White House, in Washington DC?

It is my dream come through. I came here after being in a refugee camp in Italy for few months. Arriving with $65 in my pocket and very limited English. Finding work with glass right away and opening of my studio in 1988 was very hard but rewarding.

Being part of museums and private collections including the White House was very rewarding.


Your work was first introduced at SOFA in 1996 – how has this affected your career?

Actually it was 1991 and the time was named New Art Forms. It became one of the highlights for the year along with the solo shows I had in galleries representing my work.

‘SOFA display 2003’

For those who do not know, can you explain about SOFA?

Sofa is the most prestigious art fair for contemporary Sculptural and Applied arts around the world. The top galleries from around the world are exhibiting their top artists. The show is only four or five days in the Navy Pier Convention Center in Chicago.

With a piece like ‘Emotion’ you have had it cast in many colours. Explain how many castings you make and how you choose the colours?


I do up to six castings of the same design but in different colours so no piece is ever the same. Some designs are only a single casting, some two or three. It is very rare to have 6 castings from the same design.

Your statement, “I want my work to become a part of modern architecture and a contemporary environment to reflect the era we live in”. Can you expand on this?

At the moment I am working on developing and finishing larger castings up to 7’ in my studio in Marin County. Ultimately they will become part of modern architecture and be viewed by many people and not only by few selected collectors.

Can you discuss one of your Commercial pieces and one Residential piece?

I do not make any difference between both. Each one is my work and I put my best to achieve whatever the task is.

In 2008 you had an exhibition at the Academy of Art in Sofia, Bulgaria This took you full circle; how did this feel?

It was great to come back to where my roots are and where I began drawing and sculpting.

It was covered by all media extensively and was the first large exhibition of glass sculptures in Bulgaria ever.


You constantly exhibit, how far ahead do you work with your exhibition program?

I work with year to two ahead scheduling exhibitions and planning my future work.
I always plan ahead but I am ready to face any challenges that always come when you are pushing the limits or the economy affects the sales.

One of my favourite mottoes is:
“Plan for the best but prepare for the worst!”


Contact details.

Latchezar Boyadjiev

5498 Nave Drive

Novato, CA 94949



Latchezar Boyadjiev, California, USA

Interview by Deborah Blakeley, September, 2013