Diatomaceous by Ken Rinaldo are glass-blown works inspired by the drawings and research of Ernst Haeckel 1834-1919.

For many years I have enjoyed the book, Kunstformen der Natur (Art Forms in Nature) a book of prints by Haeckel a most prominent German biologist in his day. Haeckel was a zoologist, naturalist, eugenicist, philosopher, physician, professor, marine biologist, and artist who discovered many new species. His drawings and watercolors have inspired thousands since the release of his book.

To create these works, I first worked in illustrator to create cut paths for the steel elements. I then used an industrial-strength laser cutting system to create the cutouts, and then working with the glass blowers at The Ohio State University I worked to blow glass into the first forms.

Diatomaceous by Ken Rinaldo

The forms were quite satisfying, and very much to my liking, however, in the annealing process, the first experiments proved that steel and glass have a very different coefficient of expansion and contraction, so they cracked.

I was still devoted to complete this idea so did a bit more research and glad I did as I made an important discovery.

Diatomaceous by Ken Rinaldo

Eureka! I discovered that copper and glass have the same coefficient of expansion and contraction, which would I hope, allow the works to remain intact and not crack.

Now I had the metal cut, and ready to go, and wonderfully received an invitation to Pilchuck from artists director Ruth King, as a visiting artist, and offered three amazing assistants during my residency. Simon Maberly, Joey Cariati, and Michael Shiner THE dream team. My wife Amy Youngs was also at this same residency and as a result, also was given an assistant and she brought Kami Megan (Westhoff) another glass artist extraordinaire. It was wonderful to also have Kami’s advice in this process with suggestions about how to add powdered-color to the soda-lime glass. Kami and Simon also assisted Joey and Michel in the blowing process as glass exemplifies the collaborative process of making.

At Pilchuck, we were able to use tig welding to join the three pieces together, and grind them down.

Diatomaceous by Ken Rinaldo

Once the glass was blown into the forms the process of removing the excess glass around the sharp edges was really scary. I was really lucky to have Simon Maberly as the glass artist who did the cold-working in removing the glass from the edges.

He did a superb job with the cold working and to this day these are some of my favorite glassworks in my collection.

Opening exhibition at Pilchuck Glass School. Diatomaceous by Ken Rinaldo

They have a natural patina that was the result of the annealing process and once they came from annealing, I felt the finish was ideal.

Diatomaceous by Ken Rinaldo, coming out of the annealing oven at Pilchuck



Artist and director:

Ken Rinaldo, 3D modeling, laser cutting

Glass blowing: Joey Cariati and Michael Shiner at Pilchuck Glass school
Coldworking and metal welding Simon Maberly
Metal Cutting Fabrication: AllFab Inc. Columbus Ohio Russel Roth Jr/Sr


This work can be displayed on a pedestal.


3D modeling, laser cutting, illustrator cut paths


In the Collection of the Artist