Melting Biology with Glass at the UW–Madison Glass Lab

Meet Abby Sunde, an art student at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, focusing in glass and drawing. Abby is a returning student, blending her earlier pursuits in biology with her art practice. Driven by her curiosity, the sciences provided Abby with a system for developing ideas and experimenting with techniques, chasing the “what ifs,” and “hows,” that lead to exciting points of creativity; methods that she brings to the UW Glass Lab! For example, some of her recent work revolved around black walnuts, the patterns they left on paper as they fell from trees in the Lewis Nine Springs E-Way, and then shelling the walnuts and blowing glass around them to capture their texture (a process that also produced roasted walnuts).

As a first generation descendent of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Abby incorporates native culture into her work, including a piece inspired by the Ojibwe origin story for maple syrup featured in the Glass Madison Sixth Decade of UW Glass exhibition in the fall of 2023. Abby seeks to express the spirit and agency of nature through her engaging artwork. Keep an eye out for her work and many other remarkable artists growing at UW–Madison!