Mitch LaPlante, Sculptor
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Plasma Cherry

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Dimensions: 18" h x 9" diameter

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The Plasma Cherry is a collaboration with Ed Kirshner, an Oakland, CA, artist who creates sculptures that are illuminated by filling them with noble gases (think of effects like the Aurora Borealis). Ed and I started working together after meeting at the Glass Art Society conference in New Orleans in 2004. We both thought an illuminated cherry was meant to be.

Here's how it works: The hollow pit of the cherry is open to the outside and filled with a metal mesh. The mesh is connected to a power source enabling it to serve as an electrode exciting the gases sealed within the rest of the cherry. The combination of different noble gasses, pressure, and voltage determine the color and the patterns of the light.

We like the effect and the connotations of the glowing life-giving seed of the cherry radiating dancing fingers of light out to the surface.

The piece shown here is currently on display at the Museum of Neon Art (MONA) in Los Angeles. A similar piece is on display at the Glaskunst Galerie in Innsbruck, Austria.