Made in the Lowcountry: Sand Carved Glass

SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCBD) — In a simple shop, at the end of quiet alley way, portraits come to life with every beam of light refracted through a transparent canvas.

They are works of art that were designed and forged by the hands of Lex Melfi.

“All of this comes out of my heart. when you get a piece of my art, you get a piece of me,” says Melfi.

Some pieces are etched on the surface, others are 3/8″ deep in 1/2″ glass. They are carved by hand in the booth Melfi built himself.

“As long as you don’t break the glass or scratch it all up, your great great great great grandchildren will have it. It will last forever.”

It’s a career that he didn’t even know existed, until a piece of sand carved glass caught his eye in Opa Locka, Florida.

“I didn’t know what it was. I didn’t know what it was called. I didn’t know how they did it. I didn’t know a thing about it.”

He just knew that he was hooked.

“I looked at it and said that’s what I want to do the rest of my life.”

That was 20 years ago. Now his portfolio is ever growing. Each piece designed and drawn by Melfi. He even makes the frames.

He says where it comes from is also as important as what it looks like. We walked with him through downtown Summerville, the streets he grew up on. We went to the law firm where his art is displayed in the conference room, and to the salon where his name hangs above the door. His art hangs proudly in the window of the Summerville Town Hall annex.

He is often in the shop before the sun is up. At 67, he says he found his passion.

“I’ve got this gift, but I don’t know where it came from,” Melfi says, “I was a plumber now I’m an artist. When you can do what you want to do in life, it keeps you young.”

You can find more work from Lex here: http://www.lexmelfi.com/

 

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