Fused glass art from the tropics of Costa Rica

Sámara, Costa Rica



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Lavae Aldrich

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Lavae Aldrich

About GeckoGlassArt

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On Etsy since 2017

Retired Seattle architect - Retooled as a glass artist in the tropics

Glass, prized by royalty since its discovery, in its simplest understanding, is sand melted with minerals. But the power to combine brilliant and shimmering colors, intricate patterns, and organic shapes that live and glow is sheer alchemy.

I have always loved looking at glass but I came to making glass art somewhat late in life. After a 30 year career in architecture, I began to explore glass fusing, just before I retired. I played a bit but my fancy kiln lay mostly dormant while I was still working.

Then, in 2006 I closed my practice and moved to tropical Costa Rica, to live in the hills above one of the prettiest white sand beaches in Central America. With a new home, a new life, and a new kiln, I started working with glass in earnest. I am mostly self-taught, although I’ve taken some seminars from some great and generous teachers. One of the things I love most about working in glass art is the sense of cooperation and generosity among the community of glass artists around the world.

The other thing I love about glass fusing is the boundless possibilities for making art. I am constantly exploring innovative techniques and processes, traditional tools and fresh materials. I try to learn something new each time I fire the kiln. A lot of my glass art is driven by the medium itself. I can use layered light and three dimensional texture in a way that painters can’t. And I can use gravity as the weight of the glass affects the results in the kiln.

Each piece I sell in my shop starts with glass. Sheet glass is cut to size and stacked into a design. Opaque colors overlap transparent colors. Sticks and stringers of glass add dimension and detail. For jewelry especially, I use iridescent and dichroic glass to add sparkle. Sometimes I add powdered glass, mica, or copper sheet for detail and depth. Then the glass goes into the electric kiln where it heats slowly to about 1425F. At that temperature, the glass is literally white hot and molten on the shelf. The different pieces of glass fuse together and become one as they slowly cool over 24 hours. For tableware, the cooled glass art is returned to the kiln in a ceramic mold, and then heated to about 1250F, where the glass softens and slumps into the mold shape.

My tropical lifestyle inspires my glass art. My habitual morning beach walks – I have a dog – proffer sunshine or tropical rain and warm waves at my feet. The view from my jewelry studio is 4 miles of deep green rain forest, dropping down to a quiet reef-protected bay. These are my sources of inspiration: flora and fauna, sea and sky, sun and rain. Still, my art is informed by my years as an architect. Color, balance, line, and contrast are inherent to the designs I make. I love to build things and the process of glass fusing keeps me engaged.

If you find yourself in Playa Samara, on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, you’ll discover my jewelry and tableware in the local market, Samara Organics. You can see the full range of my work on my website at To learn about new products, techniques, and seasonal pieces, subscribe to my blog

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  • Lavae Aldrich


    Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest of the US, I emigrated to Costa Rica in 2006. My husband and I love life in this quiet beach town. Making fused glass art is my passion.

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Last updated on May 19, 2017
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When I am at home, I process shipments rapidly. But because I work alone and travel occasionally, I might be away when you place your order. If timing is critical, say for a birthday or holiday gift, contact me BEFORE you place your order to be sure that I can meet your needs.