Today Madeline Rile Smith of Mad Hot Glass answers our questions. She goes into more detail about her art and her process on the Philly Maker Faire podcast.

A photo of Madeline Rile Smith with her Deafening Trumpet. The picture features a woman holding a glass trumpet that is has two cones, one that goes directly in the woman's ear.

What do you make?

I make lots of different things out of glass, such as interactive sculpture, musical instruments for multiple people to play at once, absurdist devices for performance art, installation, and video work. All of my work is tied to my interest in human connection and the way that connection with other people can help and hinder us, as well as helping and hindering the human body.

Who do you make it for?

Much of my work I make for myself. I am inspired by imagining what I have not seen yet, so I want to pull it into existence. I will often get an overwhelming urge to create a new piece when I have a weird idea- and need to create it simply so I can see it in front of me.

Where are you located?

I am located in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia. 

Optical Instruments by Madeline Rile Smith of Mad Hot Glass. The picture has three sculptures that consist of multiple glass spheres.

When did you start making?

I began working with glass in 2008, when I was in high school at the Crefeld School in Philadelphia. This changed the trajectory of my life completely as I never thought I would be a visual artist, but I fell in love with glassworking and decided to devote my life to it! 

How long have you been making?

I’ve been working with glass for over 13 years. We’ve been together a while, but the fire is still there! 

A photo of Madeline Rile Smith's Quartet. Four people are facing each other and blowing into four separate glass tubes with their spheres connecting in the middle in a hot, glass ball.

What inspired you to make this?

I’m inspired by relationships and interpersonal dynamics, and attempting to make a physical representation of them. I’m also inspired by the way hot glass moves, and how it is able to be manipulated in seemingly infinite ways. 

What makers inspire you?

I’m inspired by artists of the Performance Art Movement, and Body Art Movement, especially Rebecca Horn and her body extensions, and Marina Abramovic.

Connected Breath

What’s next?

I want to keep making, do more live performances with new glass pieces, and I’m working on setting up a new studio in my home. 

What would you like to ask the maker community?

Nobody is ever only one thing- I’m curious how other makers balance all the different aspects of their lives. Also – does anyone want to collaborate on a new performance?!

Madeline Rile Smith on the podcast

The podcast is on your favorite streaming services by searching for Philly Maker Faire and here on anchor:

Find Madeline Rile Smith and Mad Hot Glass online

Personal Website:






At the Philly Maker Faire: