In the Late-Third/Early-Second Millennium B.C., the Phoenicians are generally credited with developing the art of glassblowing. This advancement transformed the material’s usefulness from a time-consuming process into a mass-producible material which could be quickly inflated into large, transparent, and leak-proof vessels. Glassblowing techniques spread throughout the Roman world. Venice, particularly the island of Murano, became a centre for high quality glass manufacture in the late medieval period.
The relatively recent “studio glass movement” began in 1962 when Harvey Littleton, a ceramics professor, and Dominick Labino, a chemist and engineer, held two workshops at the Toledo Museum of Art, during which they started experimenting with melting glass in a small furnace and creating blown glass art. Thus Littleton and Labino are credited with being the first to make molten glass available to artists working in private studios. This approach to glassblowing blossomed into a worldwide movement, producing such flamboyant and prolific artists as Dale Chihuly, Dante Marioni, Fritz Driesbach and Marvin Lipofsky. Lino Tagliapietra was among the first Murano-trained artists to leave and spread their knowledge in the United States. In 1971, Dale Chihuly began the Pilchuck Glass School near Stanwood, Washington. The Pilchuck School of Glass became the source of a great deal of the current American Studio Glass movement, and continues as such today.
Glassblowing is a form of art that requires extreme training and an intense level of aptitude.
Source: Adapted from Wikipedia
Stuart Abelman attended Carnegie-Mellon University receiving his BFA in painting and sculpture. He received his Masters of Fine Arts in Glass at UCLA. As one of the pioneering leaders in the art glass movement in the 1960’s, Stuart helped bring recognition and appreciation to what was an all but lost art form. His studio was founded in 1977, is highly respected in the art glass world and prized by collectors.
George Bucquet began casting hot glass at Penland School, North Carolina in 1984. During his seven years working there he became a resident artist. After completing his studies, George moved to Arcata, CA, where he has continued to develop new and innovative techniques for creating his original contemporary forms. George’s work is found in galleries around the world and in the private collections of Rupert Murdoch, Bill Gates, Irvine Borowsky, Noel and Janine Hilliard, Carol Burnett, Will and Jada Smith and Mark Peiser. His work can also be found in the permanent collections of the US Embassy, Ottawa, Canada, the Mussee des Arts Decoraiffs de la Ville de Laussanne, Switzerland, the Asheville Museum of Art, NC, the National Liberty Museum, Philadelphia, PA and the White House.
Becoming a Master Glass Blower requires years of dedicated practice, talent, creativity and stamina. John Cook has been blowing glass since he graduated with honors and received his B.F.A. from Brooks Institute of Fine Arts in 1972.
Beginning with raw materials like sand, soda ash, potash and metal oxides John creates vessels, wall sculptures, perfume bottles, glasses, ornaments, lamps and lighting fixtures all designed and made at his studio including the metal work for the light fixtures.
Mad Art Studios was begun on the back patio of a home shared by Michael Maddy and Rina Fehrensen. It has grown into a 2000 foot studio complex with a fully equipped hot shop for glass as well as a ceramics workshop.
Both Michael and Rina are California natives who feel that the San Diego area offers an ideal location for artists to explore new ideas.
Fire & Light Originals has a noteworthy heritage, formed in 1995 as a partnership between the Arcata Community Recycling Center in Humboldt County, California, and a group of local investors who wanted to develop an innovative plan for using crushed, recycled glass. The founders decided to turn their recycled glass into a raw material, manufacturing distinctive products for sale in and out of the immediate area. After careful consideration, the group decided upon a distinctive line of dinnerware which would be created by melting crushed glass in furnaces, adding pigment, and pressing the molten glass into bowls, plates, and glasses.
John and Natali McClurg purchased the company in 1999. Together with a team of 20 people, Fire & Light Originals is handcrafting the beautiful giftware and dinnerware that is now shipped to specialty stores and galleries throughout the country.
Since 1978, Glass Eye Studio has been creating exquisite handmade art glass. Based in Seattle, Glass Eye Studio is located at the American hum of glass blowing. With emerging artists and glass veterans working side-by-side, Glass Eye Studio continues to create designs that are unique and highly collectible.
Robert Held, native of nearby Santa Ana, has art glass collections range from classic to contemporary. From vases to bowls to hearts to paperweights, his designs are inspired by the work of famous artists such as Monet, Klimt and Tiffany. Robert’s glasswork has also been chosen for many prestigious awards and collections. His goblets were selected to grace the table of the Governor General and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s collection now houses Robert’s commissioned piece “The Northern Lights” – a stunning glass bowl created with gold & dichroic glass.
Orange Countian Jon Oakes was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota and raised in North Dakota. As a boy in the Midwest during the 1970’s, he had limited exposure to the arts. Sitting down at the potter’s wheel for the first time in a high school ceramics class, I immediately felt comfortable and knew he was meant to create art. He still works in clay, creating beautiful vessels using raku-firing techniques in addition to more traditional ceramics. He has recently added glass blowing to his repertoire.
Richard Satava, a master glassblower, was introduced to glassblowing in 1969 while attending Ocean High School in Pacifica, CA. He was then educated at the College of San Mateo and California State University, Chico and eventually opened Satava Art Glass Studio in Chico in 1977.
Using ancient techniques to create original designs in handblown glass, Satava creates works of art, individually crafted, by carefully combining the highest degree of technical skills and artistic creativity. Well known for his vivid colors and unique portrayal of nature, Satava’s works are included in numerous public and private collections throughout the world.
After graduating from high school in his hometown of Bakersfield, California, Dave Smallhouse served in Vietnam. Upon his return he studied in San Diego before coming to Chico State to earn his Bachelors of Arts degree in Ancient & Classical History. In 1980 he joined Orient & Flume and immediately acquired a passion for glassblowing that has driven him to mastery.
Among his many accomplishments in the field he was personally requested to create the inaugural mace for the 1994 incoming president of Chico State University, Manuel Esteban, himself a former glassblower.
Today he works closely with his wife and children in their own studio and his enthusiasm for glassblowing has only grown.
Working out of his studio in Northern California, Michael Sosin blows and forms hot glass to emphasize the traditional processes used in glassworking. Sosin is attracted to the excitement and mystery, tenderness and fragility of glass. No piece is ever entirely reproducible or predictable.
Michael earned his Master’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, where he later taught. He subsequently spent two years studying glass at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland. He has continued to study glass at the finest glass schools in America, all of them world-renowned.
His work has been shown at major museums, galleries and juried exhibitions throughout the United States, including the Oakland Art Museum and the Oakland Art Museum Collector’s Gallery; the San Jose Art Museum; the San Francisco Museum of Craft and Folk Art; the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; and the Renwick Museum of The Smithsonian, Washington DC.
Cohn Stone is the work of artists Michael Cohn and Molly Stone. They formed their partnership in 1980 and since that time have collaboratively developed their Studio lines, as well as their individual artistic careers.
Both Michael and Molly are committed not only to designing unique and distinctive works of art, but also to the hands on process of making the pieces. They share a love for the material as well as a commitment to produce pieces of the highest quality. Their work has been exhibited throughout the U.S.A., Canada, Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, Japan, and South America. Their works are included in numerous museum, corporate, and private collections worldwide.
Born and raised in Oakland, California Strong earned his BFA from the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland in 1970 and did his graduate work in Japan on a scholarship at Osaka University of the Arts.
Strong is a modern day master of this ancient craft of hand blown glass. His work is collected and displayed throughout the world in such places as the Louvre, The Osaka Museum of Art, The San Francisco Museum of Art, The John D. Rockefeller Collection and the IBM Collection.
Rebecca is a graduate of Alfred University College of Ceramics in 1990 where she concentrated on Ceramics and Glass. Additional glass education took place at Pilcuck School of Glass, Penland School of Crafts, New York Experimental Glass Workshop and an apprenticeship with Glass Sculptor, Richard Jolley. She started her own studio in 1993 on Long Island and later moved to the Hudson Valley of New York.
Rebecca’s work has been sold to many private collectors, galleries and museum shops nationwide. One of her frog sculptures is now part of the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery.
Janet made glass her life’s work when she was given the opportunity to discover molten glass in 1990 through an apprenticeship in Vermont.
In 1992 she established Zug Glass and began offering her own designs in galleries and high quality craft stores. Janet Zug’s glasswork is bold and playful. From her original hanging vase designs and stylish square vase series to her fun spinning tops and dancing jesters, she has captured this medium in a unique way. Janet’s work can be found in fine galleries across America and private collections around the world.