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Biography: Lewis R. Olson

A man with a mustache wearing dark glasses works with molten glass on the end of a punty.
Lewis R. Olson
Hot Glass Show Technical Team Leader

A storyteller by nature, Lewis R. Olson is attracted to the endless possibilities in using glass as a medium for communication. His work embodies his fascination with the sensual, sculptural, optical, and functional properties of glass. “I think glass in itself, because of its nature, just inspires creativity,” said Olson. “Quite often for me I'm looking at this molten blob of glass, and I actually see the piece that I'm creating inside of it. I feel like it's just waiting to come out of the material.”

Olson began working with glass in his native New Zealand in the mid-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. His work can be seen throughout the world in private and public collections. In 2008, he joined the Hot Glass Team at The Corning Museum of Glass and traveled extensively with numerous outreach engagements including GlassLab, working closely with designers to prototype unique objects in glass.

While not defining his glassmaking with a certain technique or style, he is strongly influenced by Italian and European glassmaking. He’s currently interested in using glass to explore his cultural roots of New Zealand, using color and texture that is representational of both landscape and flora as well as referencing designs from traditional Maori arts and carvings.