Residencies at The Studio

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Biography: Josh Simpson

Josh Simpson
Josh Simpson

From his studio in the hills of western Massachusetts, Josh Simpson has been fascinated with glass for more than 45 years. An artist whose work has been shown in group and solo exhibitions around the world, his name is synonymous with the beautifully crafted planets he produces. Simpson’s work and color palette are inspired by the sky and its many permutations throughout the day, including his fortuitous chance encounters with the aurora borealis as he adjusts his furnace at odd hours of the night.

For his David Whitehouse Artist Residency for Research, Simpson studied the use and history of silver in glassmaking. Simpson has incorporated silver in some form in nearly all his glass work, citing silver as the source of the “Art Nouveau iridescence” of his early work, and the “flaming undulation of colors” noticeable in his more recent ‘Corona’ glass, which seeks to evoke the magic of distant stars and galaxies.

With decades of experience, Simpson is still only scratching the surface in understanding the use of a precious metal so unpredictable it can completely disappear if melted incorrectly. With access to historical recipes and unique formulae from glass masters past and present, Simpson hopes to unearth the secrets of silver. “We know that silver has always been used to powerful effect,” he says, “I would like to know more about how that was accomplished.”

Simpson visited The Corning Museum of Glass three times in 2018 to complete his residency. “After each visit, the plan would be to return to my studio to try new recipes and then return to Corning for more exploration,” he says.

Josh Simpson has been an independent glassblower since 1971. His work is in the collection of The Corning Museum of Glass and the White House Collection of Crafts.