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Glass detours retiree from life on the links

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — When Ron Lohrding retired from Los Alamos National Lab, he envisioned a life on the fairways.

Instead, he got bored.

“I wasn’t keeping my mind active,” the Sandia Heights resident said.

He thought of taking pottery, but couldn’t find the right class. Then he discovered a glass-making class in Rio Rancho.

“The fused glass artists now are doing beautiful work,” said Lohrding, who boasts a Ph.D. in math. “I thought of the ancient mathematical ratios. I started using the Golden Ratio or Divine Ratio that exists in our bodies.”

Lohrding’s work is on display at Albuquerque’s Weems Gallery.

Both Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo incorporated the Golden Ratio into their works. The ratio indicates the ideal moderate position between two extremes.

The artist also incorporates the Fibonacci sequence, a series of numbers in which each is the sum of the two preceding numbers.

Today he blends his technical background with the brilliant colors of dichroic glass to create pendants, crosses and wall pieces.

“I made a lot of mistakes; I have a lot of broken glass,” he said.

He enjoys the suspense of placing something in a kiln to watch it emerge in another color.

Dichroic glass produces a dazzling range of colors when viewed from different directions. The material is a space-age composite produced by stacking micro layers of rare earths, metals and oxides on top of non-translucent glass.

Pendants proved especially difficult to make because of the thinness of the glass, he said.

A circle-in-a-square wall piece emerged from two pieces of dichroic glass.

“To me, that looks like a universe of chaos,” he said. “I try to put order in it with the Fibionacci sequence. I call that ‘From Chaos to Order’.”

“I thought this was going to be a hobby,” he said with a laugh. “For the past month-and-a-half, it’s become work.”

Lohrding also shows his work at the Little Bird Gallery in Santa Fe and at the Harwood Museum of Art in Taos.