Sea Core Bubble Tubes contain variations on sea life.
The Water Trail series is intended to raise awareness of the Anacostia River’s fragile ecology.
A Sea Core Bubble Tube adds vibrancy to a restaurant's decor.

Aquatic Art

Alison Sigethy’s creations embody an environmental message

The beauty of deep-water life inspires the sparkling-glass worlds created by Alison Sigethy. In her signature series, Sea Core Bubble Tubes, artful variations on shells, corals, jellyfish and other exotic forms are stacked in clear glass containers like jewel-toned creatures piled on the ocean floor.

Sigethy calls these lively sculptures “environmentally sensitive aquariums.” Filled with distilled water, transmitting bubbling sounds, they convey the tranquility of a marine environment. Small, organic shapes suspended in water appear to swim—while real specimens remain safely in their natural habitat. The softly lit columns add a soothing note to a nightstand. Rising 30 inches in glass or higher in acrylic tubes, they introduce a commanding focus in any space.

At one time an avid scuba diver and now a kayaker, Sigethy works at the water’s edge in her studio at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Virginia. There, she hand-forms each piece from salvaged, bottle or art glass. Her choices often depend on color.

But several years back, the artist used structural glass recycled from solar-collector panels for her Water Trail series, which she created for outdoor installation. Designed to look like ancient horseshoe crabs washed up on shore, the durable works were intended to draw attention to the fragile ecology of the Anacostia River. Their delicate, weathered appearance and translucent, pierced-shell forms perfectly embody the artist’s environmental message.

Sigethy finds glass an ideal medium. “Its vivid colors, transparency and fluidity really allow me to capture the essence and look of what I’m trying to do,” says the artist, who recognizes the pull of aquatic themes in her work. “Even when I intend to do something else, it ends up related to water!” alisonsigethy.com