The ‘Iridescence’ of Marge Organo | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022


Gleaming flecks of light glide in a languid, mesmerizing dance across the dove-gray walls of Galerie Joaquin in Bonifacio Global City.

The showroom is lined with kaleidoscopic glassware from visual artist Marge Organo circling around the themes familiar to those intimate with her creations—the female figure, mother and child and the Sto. Niño. Organo lets these common subjects take invigorating new forms as sculpted glass, shaping the medium using techniques such as coldworking (a range of procedures done when the glass has cooled) and lamination (glueing pieces of glass together) that bring out the radiance in each artwork.

Aptly called “Iridescence,” the exhibit highlights the “most requested” from the artist’s prismatic collections. And as if the pieces weren’t brilliant enough stationary, the rotating light stands on which her works are displayed cleverly allow for their full appreciation: The glow is reflected, refracted or diffused by the sculptures’ various curves, angles and degrees of transparency, with every shift revealing a different view, each fascinating in its own way. Even the mobile mottling on the surfaces surrounding the artworks hypnotize; it’s almost like performance art.

Sto. Niño devotee

Unsurprisingly, a quick turn about the room suggests many of her pieces have already been sold only a few days into the exhibit, which ran from June 9 to June 23, especially the Sto. Niños.The religious figure is a relatively new addition to Organo’s repertoire. She made the first one for herself in 2020—something to pray to during the pandemic—and even had it blessed. Unlike her current colorful versions, the first glass Sto. Niño she made was “very classic.” Before she knew it, however, it was already being whisked away to an eager collector.

“I am a devotee of Sto. Niño,” Organo explained. “For me, it’s like my offering to him because he has blessed me greatly.” She related that she actually fell ill when she stopped making the Catholic icon after ManilArt last year. “So, I think this is like a mission. I have to make this because people become more devoted to him because of this.”

These days, her Sto. Niños come in whimsical, rather unorthodox hues, inspired by the very colorful Infant Jesus gowns she saw in Prague when she studied there. “When I went to the museum, I found out that the Sto. Niño’s gown are actually very colorful! So it’s not a desecration if I make something with different colors.”

Now, her Sto. Niños flaunt vivid shades of deep pinks, electric blues and fiery oranges, with metallic elements craftily added and raising the luster quotient even more.

Looking at Organo, it’s easy to see where this idea of iridescence comes from. Even wearing a muted tan blazer and plain white top, she glows. Perhaps it’s her radiant smile or bouncy curls—a deviation from her usual ironed-straight tresses—or perhaps it’s the eye-catching glass pendant resting on her chest like a smoldering heart.

The pendant, she shares, is also her work (it even bears her signature) created out of leftover glass.

“Because glass is very expensive, I don’t throw it away, “ Organo says. “In 2019, I came up with the idea of making them into pendants. Then I’m thinking of making brooches and rings, but it’s very time consuming, even small pieces. Just putting a facet, you have to go through six different stages.”

She explains that when glass is cut, it becomes opaque. And in order to come up with brilliant, transparent glass, the sculptor would have to go through different grits. “So it’s really a very difficult and tedious process, labor intensive.”

Organo started making Sto. Niños in 2020 so she had something to pray to during the pandemic. In foreground: “Sto. Niño XLIII”; background: “Sto. Niño XLIV” at left and “Sto. Niño Blue & Silver” at right

Smaller artworks

For smaller artworks, it takes her about one to two months to finish. A Sto. Niño eats up three to four months of her time if she’s doing it on her own, and up to five months if it’s one of those 2-feet-tall figures she sometimes gets commissioned for.

So why does she do it?

“Because I’m very attracted to brilliant things,” Organo answers simply, explaining her love for working with glass and gold. In fact, she confesses to wanting to keep for herself everything she finishes.

“I get separation anxiety every time I part with one of my works. I always feel like I’m giving away a part of myself,” she admits, adding that until now she doesn’t even have her own Sto. Niño due to the demand for those devotional pieces.

For someone who started her career in glass sculpting only in the last decade—as a hobby at that—Organo has successfully carved out a name for herself in the art world.

She started studying sculpture in 2014, thinking that being a female sculptor would set her apart. But when she started getting invited to join exhibits, she found out how crowded the field already was.

She quickly grew tired of making figurative sculpture using her earlier media of resin and bronze, thinking that at her age and at that point in her life, it would be hard for her works to get noticed if she kept doing the same thing as other artists who have been at it for decades.

So she turned her attention to glass, drawn by its luminescence. Since there is no glass school in the Philippines, she applied to the world-renowned Studio of the Corning Museum of Glass in New York. In 2015, she got accepted.

Chromatic creations

However, what was taught there was not the type of glassmaking that she really wanted to learn. So after learning valuable basics as well as how to build her own machine (which she initially did, although she has since purchased a few from abroad), she set out to explore the medium more and applied techniques to come up with her chromatic creations today.

She went wild incorporating her personal style, she says. To achieve that level of multi-dimensionality in her works, Organo reveals that while she also sometimes works with colored glass, she prefers to use clear so she can add the colors that she wants.

She puts the tint on the glue, she says, then binds the pieces together. The effect is like encapsulating brightly colored aqueous ink in transparent vessels.When she doesn’t color the middle, the sculpture turns absolutely clear from the side.

Organo is being commissioned for a Mama Mary glass sculpture, but she says she cannot do it just yet. “Just creating the crown would take so much time,” she said.

While she can do it herself, having also learned to weld locally, she says she will need to have somebody else carry out her designs. “I’m a control freak. I want to handle everything,” Organo says. “I used to do everything, But now, if I’m going to do everything by myself, it will take me years.”

She adds, “When my classmates see me now, they wonder how I was able to come up with these. It’s all a product of my own experimentation. There are a lot of things you can do with glass, a lot of things to discover. So I just keep experimenting. I don’t stop here.”

If there is one word that Organo says describes her as a person, it would be “daring.” Aside from advising artists who want to get into glassmaking to go and study instead of relying on YouTube, the self-described late bloomer urges them to dare.

“If you see something you want, you have to dare to do it. Before taking the first step, you have to dare.” INQ

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.