Captured inside flameworked forms made from borosilicate glass, and ionized to produce plasma, different inert gases such as neon, krypton and xenon are made to light in a range of colors. Depending on the pressure of these gas fills, and the voltage and frequency of the electricity applied, they exhibit a range of visual and kinetic effects, from a brilliant glow to moving filaments that travel throughout the interior space of the glass and also interact with touch. Wayne has developed a mastery of these materials over decades of research and exploration as a leading innovator in plasma lighting technologies.
In parallel with his background in engineering, Wayne taught himself the field of neon and began an inspired study of advanced techniques. In 1983 he founded his company Strattman Design, which has grown to become a global leader in crafting lighted plasma displays for museums, industry and the arts. While developing a range of new special lighting effects and ultimately patenting and licensing many of them for commercial manufacture, he also taught classes and authored a monthly column about neon techniques in the industry journal Signs of the Times, receiving the American Business Press Editors’ Award for Technical Journalism. After more than a decade of instructing and writing columns, Wayne edited a new version of the industry standard textbook Neon Techniques, now in its fourth edition, and consulted at the Advanced Lighting Products Division of Corning Museum of Glass.
A dedication to the artistic potential of this evolving medium has always driven Wayne’s work. The technical side provides a foundation and form for a deeper exploration of creative expression. The medium of light—and the unique properties of illuminated plasma—embodies multifaceted metaphors that resonate at the heart of his sculptural creations.
With a desire to foster the growth of lighted glass sculpture, Wayne served on the directing board of the Glass Art Society for many years, where he inaugurated an annual neon art exhibition and a lecture series that encourages critical dialogue around contemporary glass art. In recognition of his contributions to the field, Wayne received the world’s first Ph.D in Neon Art and Technology from the University of Sunderland in 2008. In 2017 he was honored with a Lifetime Membership award from the Glass Art Society. Wayne has taught master classes internationally and recently authored a new book about the art of plasma.