Bob Hines Transforms Mirrors into Art
Next time you look at the curved mirror in The Jasper’s lobby, take a closer look at what lies beyond your reflection.
Curved mirrors, also known as convex mirrors, have reflective surfaces that bulge toward the light source, reflecting light outwards rather than focusing light like traditional mirrors. The creation of these pieces is mastered by Charleston artist Bob Hines, who has been honing his niche craft for more than 33 years at his King Street workshop, HINES Studios. His convex mirror art piece plays a creative role in The Jasper’s art collection.
“When you walk into the big lobby and you look up and notice it, your interpretation of reality is tweaked by the convex mirror,” Bob said. “You look at it and you can see the reflection of the corners of the room that not even your peripheral vision can see. It’s kind of like dreaming and floating in the air and looking at yourself in your room from above. It’s an approximation of reality.”
The mirror glass reflects a parallel beam of light, diverging to produce a virtual image. This virtual image is a collection of focus points of light rays coming from an object. You might recognize this effect from mirrors that have the safety warning “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.” The mirrors require a high level of detail and craftsmanship to achieve this unique shape.
Bob passionately creates his handiwork the old way. He makes them one at a time, starting with a slice of transparent glass. He cuts a circle into flat steel and places his glass on top, using his kiln to form the shape into the partial sphere as the glass gently drops into the mold. Then, he carefully develops various patinas, silvering the glass to refine a layer of liquid silver that produces the perfect reflection. A symphony of creativity, skill, patience and workmanship slowly transforms a piece of glass into a work of art, taking about a week to complete. The finished convex mirror allows viewers to see the entire room in one view, almost from another realm.
“Convex mirrors change our normal perspective into something magical, ethereal,” he said. “To me, it conjures an alternate universe.”
You can witness this effect for yourself by observing the art piece in our residential lobby. The more you look, the more your viewpoint of reality widens. Bob’s talent continues to evolve our understanding of art and the many dimensions it plays throughout our spaces at The Jasper. Although the process of creating a convex mirror requires patience and precision, Bob is enthusiastic about his method. You can visit his studio at 640 King Street or visit his gallery online at https://bit.ly/2MMoKhD.