My Houston glass blowing rebirth has been many years in the making, almost 30 years after I was first introduced to glassblowing way back in my college years. That is when I saw a professor creating his huge colorful signature pieces on the roof of the art house at Centre College in 1988. I was hooked, immediately.
Every chance I had while at Centre, I took a glassblowing class. I don’t know that anyone would have ever considered me artistic growing up, but for whatever reason, this was one artistic medium that I fell in love with.
After college, having graduated with a Psychology degree, and not really wanting to go back to school for a graduate degree, I opened by own studio, FireFly Glass, in Louisville, KY. Looking back, I realize now that I wasn’t nearly as proficient as I should have been to open my own studio, but going to work in front of a furnace every day is a great way to learn.
It didn’t take long to pick up the intricacies of working by yourself in a hot glass studio, and I really enjoyed pushing my own limits and discovering what I could create on my own, without relying on anyone else’s help or assistance.
But working by yourself can also be very limiting, and I didn’t get as much exposure to other artists as I would have liked, and now find myself looking for every opportunity that I can to watch other more talented artists work, and try to pick up a few of those skills I should have learned in my many years of experience.
Hot Glass Goes On Hold!
In my early to mid-30’s, I put my artistic ambitions on hold to spend more time at home with my young children, getting them to and from school and all of their assorted activities. But in 2017, those young children both went off to college, and it was no longer as important for me to be serving as PTA President or carpool coordinator!
With a little more free time on my hands, I decided the time was right to get back into the glass blowing studio. My wife and I had just moved to Houston Texas in 2017, which meant that I was looking for a glassblowing studio in which I would be able to (hopefully) rediscover some old glass skills from 15 years earlier.
Lucky me, I found a hot glass business just outside of Houston that held classes, had a small gallery and even allowed a few local artists to rent some time! Perfect.
Life As A Blown Glass Hobbyist
About once a week, sometimes more, sometimes less, I return to the studio and produce a very limited number of art glass pieces. At this point, given my focus on learning the many glass blowing skills I should have learned when I first started, that means I am not very productive, maybe only one or two finished pieces a week! If I start making smaller objects, like drinking glasses or paperweights, I may end up making about 5-10 in a session.
The pictures I have included here are all from the same bowl that I was recently practicing with, but may give you an idea of the different steps necessary to achieve the desired effect for each bowl or vase in my current series of work, which is somewhat murrine focused.
Please keep in mind that almost every step of my art glass regression and progression are simplified. When I use murrine, for instance, they are usually the simplest kind, not the most difficult to make. When I make a drinking cup, no guarantees that it will be perfectly symmetric! No need to tell me, I am well aware of my own limitations!
Perhaps I will return to this page with updates and some new pictures of work as I get a little better at blowing. But because of where my skill level currently sits, in early 2019, I am not selling through my website, but rather looking for a local art gallery in Houston TX and with a few friends and contacts from my previous life as a glass blower in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.
As my glass production catches up, and if I have a few extra blown pieces that need to find their forever home with an art fan, I will make sure to link to galleries carrying my work.