Meet the master glassblowers who work with GlassLab.
Meet the master glassblowers who work with GlassLab.
Marc Barreda is an American artist living in Amsterdam. After receiving a bachelor's degree in Biology from Williams College in 1999, Barreda started a career in the arts, working as a mixed-media sculptor and training as a glassblower near his family's Vermont home. He developed an understanding of glass by working for a variety of artists and by taking and assisting at classes at glass schools around the country. His devotion opened a variety of doors for him, both domestically and abroad. In 2005, Barreda began travelling to Holland to help develop the Vrij Glas Foundation. In 2009, he moved to Amsterdam to pursue a master's degree at Sandberg Institute, the graduate program of the Rietveld Academie. His work is shown internationally and is housed in such collections as The Creative Glass Center of America and El Museo Nacional del Vidrio in Spain.
"My work develops through a reciprocal relationship between scientific concepts and the drama of existence, emphasizing an attention and devotion to fine craftsmanship and phenomenological explorations."
Emrys Berkower is a glass artist and designer, with a focus on modern adaptations of 17th-century Italian glassmaking techniques, and mid-century modern design practices stemming from Italy and Scandinavia. This focus has led to a natural progression and interest in interiors, furniture, and fabrication. For over a decade, Berkower has worked with artists, designers, and educators to produce a wide range of decorative and functional table objects, including lighting and sculpture. He has concurrently demonstrated, educated, and performed glassmaking at renowned institutions including The Corning Museum of Glass, Wheaton Village, and UrbanGlass. Berkower received his BFA from Alfred University and has worked in various private glass studios since 1992.
Danish artist Maria Bang Espersen seeks to expand the viewer’s perspective through her work in glass. By stretching and bending the molten material, her sculptures show a frozen movement, while the glass retains a soft look. Espersen studied art history at the University of Aarhus, and glass and ceramics at Engelsholm Højskole, both in Denmark. She has completed additional studies at the Kosta School of Glass in Sweden, The Royal Danish Academy of Design, and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine. Her work had been included in recent exhibitions including SiO2 in Copenhagen, Denmark, Green in Nexø, Denmark, Process in Hasle, Denmark, and Svanekegaardens Spring Exhibition in Denmark. She has been awarded the International Glass Prize and an Eco Arts Award.
In her March 2013 Residency at The Studio, Espersen explored movement in glass, using three different approaches: the suspension of movement, movement of light, and movement as a concept. With the help of assistants, she created large-scale sculptures based on these approaches.
“I question our strongly rooted perceptions of how we understand our surroundings,” says Espersen. “Glass is used for its special qualities, whether they are familiar to us or not, to offer a new perspective. I present glass in ways that often has very little, but at the same time everything, to do with what glass is or can do as a material.”
Karin Forslund is a Swedish glassmaker and artist currently based in Denmark. She received formal training as a glassmaker in Orrefors, Sweden, and received a bachelor's degree from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art, School of Design in Bornholm, Denmark. Forslund has worked on multiple art glass production jobs in both Sweden and Denmark, including Åfors glass factory, and for internationally acclaimed artists. Her work has brought her to many countries, including the United States, France, the Czech Republic, Denmark, and Sweden. With an aesthetic background in the indigenous tradition of Scandinavian glass, her artistic approach uses the principal of the dogme to probe the creative relationship between maker and material.
Damien François has been creating art in glass since 2006. His works have been exhibited internationally, including a traveling solo exhibition in 2014. François’ work has been featured in several catalogs and publications in Europe and the United States, including three issues of New Glass Review. He has assisted and worked with several international artists and studied glassmaking at the Danish Design School, Center for Glass and Ceramics, Denmark; Pilchuck Glass School; and Engelshom Højskole of Bredsten, Department of Glass and Ceramic, Denmark. “By exposing an unfamiliar side of the characteristics of glass,” says François, “my artwork aims to approach issues of perplexity and uncertainty, I’m driven primarily by material experimentation with glass, based on the exploration and exploitation of its multitude possibilities.”
Adam Holtzinger graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Art with a B.F.A. in glass. After he received his degree, he moved to Brooklyn, NY to pursue a career in glassblowing. Once in New York City, Adam began designing and fabricating work for designers and artists, as well as other glassmakers. Since 2003, Adam has taught, lectured and demonstrated glassblowing nationally and internationally at The Studio of The Corning Museum of Glass, Pilchuck Glass School, Penland School of Crafts, Pittsburgh Glass Center, University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, 141 Studios, NOCA, Urban Glass, Osaka Art University in Osaka Japan and Tama Glass School in Tokyo Japan. Holtzinger currently lives in Brooklyn, NY, where he makes custom work for various clients and is head gaffer for Niche Modern Design.
A resident of Corning, New York, Dane Jack forms hot glass objects, paying close attention to technique and design. His delicate blown glass vases and lamps feature bold colors and clean lines. Jack began his career at The Corning Museum of Glass as a narrator for the Hot Glass Show. He also worked as a gaffer for Steuben Glass and as a freelance glass artist, in addition to assisting other glass artists in their studios. He occasionally teaches classes at The Studio of The Corning Museum of Glass, sharing his technical skills with beginning glassblowers.
Bennett Jordan is a glassmaker, with a focus on hot glass. He explores the intersection of design and tradition-based technique. Jordan has shown his work nationally, and has fabricated work for numerous artists, including Dale Chihuly, Jorge Pardo, and Tiffany & Co.
Jordan holds a B.F.A. from the California College of Arts and Crafts. Additionally, he has attended the Pilchuck Glass School numerous times, in a variety of capacities, over the past 20 years.
G Brian Juk combines blown, kiln-cast, and hot-worked solid glass to create forms of beauty. First introduced to hot glass in his hometown of Detroit, Mich., Juk went on to study fine arts at Alfred University in New York. By making utilitarian pieces, he feels a deeper connection with the user. He loves the notion of forging a relationship with someone who is drinking from one of his tumblers or using a candy dish. Juk has taught numerous classes at The Studio, and has worked with the Museum’s Hot Glass Show for several years, narrating and demonstrating for audiences from around the world.
George Kennard has been at the Museum since 2001, after spending eight years working in private studios. He began his tenure at the Museum as an instructor in The Studio, teaching beginning and continuing classes in glassblowing. Kennard enjoys the limitless opportunities for creating with molten glass and prefers making large-scale incalmo pieces, by joining two blown glass bubbles to create different bands of color.
Charlotte Lemaire is a French glassmaker and designer who focuses on the transparency and translucent properties of glass. She has worked with several major glass companies and artists, including Cristallerie Baccarat and Marc Petrovic. Fascinated by the relationship we have with things we touch throughout the day without realizing it, Lemaire creates pieces with a focus on their subtle existence. "The qualities of the glass as transparency and translucence gave to my project the dimension of the idea of touching without noticing it, because it is something that is there but we don’t feel it anymore. We can see through the glass, we know it is there but it doesn’t block the view."
D.H. McNabb grew up as a son of a military officer in Tampa, Fla. His eyes often wandered the globe in his father’s den, seeking to find where his parents had lived and traveled. He dreamt that he too would travel and glass has done just that. Glass has enabled him to see and to learn: a world, a vision, a practice. Corning, Seattle, Prague, Lybster, Weil am Rhein, Murano, Nuutajärvi, and Istanbul are just a few of the places this material has taken McNabb. Glassmakers Stephen Powell, Lino Tagliapietra, and Dale Chihuly, along with others, have helped him negotiate his practice. McNabb says, “I have a memory from all these experiences, a memory though a material. Glass itself has a memory.”
Eric Meek has been a gaffer at the Museum since 2002, and now manages the Museum's hot glass programs. After graduating from Bowling Green State University, Meek worked at the production studio at the Henry Ford Museum. He went on to receive his MFA from Kent State University and taught at the Glasfachschule Kramsach in Austria for six years. When working with glass, Meek likes to draw upon tradition and fine craftsmanship to realize modern, elegant forms.
Jason Minami earned his BFA from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and his MFA from Alfred University, where he also taught as an adjunct professor in the glass department. He assisted in the glass department at Punahou School and worked with artists throughout Hawaii. Minami continued his education at the Pilchuck Glass School and at The Studio. Currently, Minami is a manager and glassblowing instructor at GlassRoots, a non-profit glass studio focused on serving youth through glass arts in Newark, NJ.
Dan Mirer began his education at age 16, attending the Rochester Institute of Technology (AAS). He continued to study glass at Alfred University (BFA) and the Pukeberg School of Design, Sweden. A resident of Corning, N.Y., Mirer has been an independent designer/maker since 2004. He creates a range of work including tableware and home décor.
In the past few years, Mirer has been involved with The Corning Museum of Glass; in its Hot Glass programs as well as The Studio’s Artist-in-Residence program. He has taught at Alfred University, Pilchuck Glass School, Penland School of Crafts, the Toledo Museum of Art, and The Corning Museum of Glass.
In September 2011, Mirer and Nisha Bansil completed a Collaborative Residency at The Studio. Mirer and Bansil combined the techniques of photo sandblasting and blown glass, and developed new methods to create bubble trap imagery. With Mirer’s strengths in craftsmanship and technical innovation and Bansil’s emphasis on pure imagery using the two dimensional qualities of glass, the artists collaborated to create new work that neither would accomplish alone. Mirer saw his residency at The Studio as a way to keep his work fresh, affording him the time to explore new techniques in glassblowing.
Lewis Olson began working with glass in his native New Zealand in the 1970s. In the 1980s his passion for glass took him to Australia, Africa, Canada, England, Scandinavia and Italy, where he worked in glass studios and factories. A storyteller by nature, Olson is attracted to the endless possibilities in using glass as a medium for communication. His pieces embody his fascination with the sensual, sculptural, optical, and functional properties of glass; whether they are representational of the human figure or exotic animals, or explorations of surface pattern or architectural form. His work can be seen throughout the world in private and public collections.
Chris Rochelle’s path as a glass artist traces back to Hartwick College, where he studied sculpture and painting. The school’s small glass program gave him his first taste of working with this unique medium. Upon graduation, he apprenticed in a studio in Western Massachusetts. For a decade he did production work, including spending several years as a gaffer at the Steuben Glass factory in Corning, NY.
In 2009, Rochelle became a gaffer for The Corning Museum of Glass. He provides live glassmaking demonstrations at the Museum and around the world on the Museum’s Hot Glass Roadshow. He also works with the Museum’s GlassLab design program, prototyping objects for international designers.
Rochelle continues to explore his own artistic vision through the creative glassmaking process. He enjoys the constant, steady focus that forming the material demands. "In much of my artwork, I find myself attempting to make order out of chaos … like taking a snapshot of something that is in constant change. With glass, I thrive on the constant attention it demands to push the boundary between fluid and solid state."
Amy Ruza takes her inspiration from the natural world for her art forms. She studied at New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University and served as an assistant at the Museum’s Hot Glass Show. She currently works for The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes.
Ian Messenger Schmidt, the son of two glass artists, grew up in Toledo, Ohio, home to the American Studio Glass movement. In 2010, he graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology’s School for American Craftsmen with a B.F.A. in glass sculpture. Ian is proud to be working for the Museum, which houses his parents’ works in glass, and guides and shapes the education and commemoration of glass.
Annette Sheppard first studied glassmaking at The Studio of The Corning Museum of Glass while earning her B.S. in Design and Environmental Analysis from Cornell University. Upon graduation, Annette studied with world-renowned glass artists teaching at The Studio, including Pino Signoretto and Shin-ichi and Kimiake Higuchi. She has worked and traveled with the Hot Glass Roadshow of The Corning Museum of Glass for many years. Sheppard spends the majority of her time focused on sculpting glass, but also enjoys making functional objects.
Daniel Spitzer began working with glass in 1986 at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In 1989 he was invited to join the crew at Dale Chihuly’s studio in Seattle, Wash. During his decade with Chihuly, he worked on several large-scale installation projects including the Lobby at Bellagio and Chandeliers over Venice. He has worked closely with many other leading glass artists, including Lino Tagliapietra, Sonja Blomdahl, Pino Signoretto, Flora Mace and Joey Kirkpatrick.
In addition to his own work and commissions, Spitzer has made work for many non-glassworking artists. The most challenging of these projects was a series of full-size blown glass car tires for Robert Rauschenberg, completed in 2001 and now in the permanent collection of The Corning Museum of Glass.
He has taught at The Studio of The Corning Museum, the Pittsburgh Glass Center, and Pilchuck Glass School, and been a Visiting Artist at the Cleveland Institute of Art, and The National College of Art and Design in Dublin, Ireland. His awards have included a Wheaton Fellowship at the Creative Glass Center of America, the New York Metropolitan Glass Society Award, and an Artist Residency at the Pittsburgh Glass Center.
Helen Tegeler is inspired by the transitional properties of plants, and extrapolates upon that in her work. From growth patterns and branching to surface textures and patterns, she feels there are infinite design possibilities when interpreting plants in glass. She loves exploring seeds, and the potential they hold for great change. She draws particular inspiration from the work of Lalique and the Blaschkas.
Tegeler has an MFA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and her work has been featured in exhibitions across the country, as well as in the Museum’s New Glass Review 32. She has taught workshops at institutions including Tyler School of Art and the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts, and currently works for the Museum as a team leader and demonstrator on Celebrity Cruise ships.
During her 2015 residency, Tegeler worked to expand her techniques with fused glass powders to replicate the physical and visual textures of seeds, something she very recently began exploring. Kiln working will be a new focus for Tegeler, who is traditionally a hot and cold glass artist.
Matthew Urban attended the Philadelphia College of Art and Design, where he studied industrial design and glass. After completing his BFA, he worked at the Tyler School of Art, and the Philadelphia College of Art and Design. Urban has been a production assistant for Michael Schunke at Nine Iron Studio, and Tom Farbanish at Certified Glass, as well as an artist-in-residence, instructor, and gaffer with The Corning Museum of Glass, and a staff member at Pilchuck Glass School.
Urban has studied and worked around the world with numerous master glassmakers including Lino Tagliapietra, Pino Signoretti, Dino Rosin, Gianni Toso, Elio Quarisa, Checco Ongaro, Davide Fuin, and Davide Salvadore.
In May 2007, he completed his master's degree at Illinois State University in Glass/Sculpture. In 2010 he completed building his artist studio, focused on creating an ultra-low carbon footprint. Urban uses only recycled glass for all his designs and sculpture. He is the owner of Furnace Urbini Glass Works since 1999.