Artist of the month January 2016: Owl Glass

Artist of the month January 2016: Owl Glass

Check out and get to know Owl Glass from Alaska, in our Artist of the Month Spotlight.

Check out his work to purchase on the website as well. The Glass Owl

1. So how long have you been blowing glass? Two and a half years

2. How did you start? You could say working with glass runs in my family. My grandfather worked as a stained glass artist and my two cousins are successful lamp workers who have been in the
industry for over fifteen years.  The first time I melted glass it was in my cousin’s studio
when I was about 15 years old. After that I was super intrigued by glass and the seed had been planted that someday lamp working would be a viable option for me. After finishing college at Humboldt State in the heart of the Emerald Triangle and being surrounded by a very talented and inspiring glass community, I moved to Alaska and realized that I could no longer stifle my dream to be a glassblower.  I arranged for an apprenticeship with my cousin John (aka Circle Mobius), who is the creator and owner of Mobius Glassworks.  In the summer of 2013, I completed my two-month apprenticeship with him at his studio in California and then promptly returned to my life in Alaska. In the weeks following I built my own glass shop at my home in Girdwood, Alaska and I have been at it ever since.  My business name ‘The Glass Owl’ comes from my grandfather; he worked under the same business name and I wanted to carry on his legacy as a glass artist and to
acknowledge my family ties that have brought me to where I am today.

3. Where do you grab inspiration? I live in one of the most beautiful places on earth and my surroundings inspire me everyday to be creative and to think big. My town Girdwood is immediately surrounded by the Chugach Mountains, seven glaciers hang from our valley walls, and seawater from the rushing tide of the Turnagain Arm can be seen from my house. I do a lot of gold fume work and all of the gold I use is either hand panned or hand dredged from nearby creeks.
Also, I find the glass itself to be highly inspiring, especially the synergy between glass
and light! The glass industry and the incredible artists who make it what it is motivate me
too. I love seeing the amazing out-of-the-box ideas glass artists come up with. It’s always
inspiring to see people pushing their limits and the personal growth that results from such
strong perseverance.

4. Current torch? GTT Mirage

5. Favorite style? I like pieces that are perfectly executed with flawless function. Striking color patters that show off the properties of glass always draw me in. I like glass that looks glassy.

6. Future goals? This year I’ll be getting married to the woman who has stuck by me for the past 6 years! I would like to travel more this year to participate in glass events, classes and collabs with other artists. This past year a few glass blowers from the lower 48 visited Alaska and blew glass out of my shop for a few days – I’d like to host more of that!

7. Work alone or with a group? Solo

8. Any particular artist you work with? I work with John (Circle Mobius) whenever I’m in California. I always learn so much and come home fired up after blowing glass with such an intensely skilled and knowledgeable artist.  Recently, I started working part time for Mobius Glassworks
handling sales from my home in Alaska, which has been an awesome experience so far!  
I also try to work with as many Alaskan glass artists as possible. We have a small number
of glass artists here in Alaska but the interest is rapidly growing. We all try to help each
other out as much as possible by sharing information, techniques and materials whenever
possible. Since we don’t have any glass supply stores in Alaska and our shipping costs
can be through the roof, we really try to coordinate our orders to save on shipping and
swap materials with each other if one of us is in a pinch.  

9. Who would you like to work with? I would love to work with any established artist really.  Alaska can be a bit isolating so anytime I meet fellow artists or friends in the industry it is very exciting and a good opportunity to build the glass family.

10. How has the industry changed? Even in my short time I have noticed some big changes. When I first started I thought production pipe making for the wholesale market was the only way to go, now it seems way more artists are selling their work direct. There are more and more materials, colors, tools, and supplies available than there was when I started buying. Alaska itself has gone through major changes too. In 2013 we voted ‘Yes’ on a recreational cannabis market in
Alaska and became the fourth state to do so! Starting out when I first began hustling glass
there were only a handful of tobacco/smoke shops around Anchorage that were willing to
buy but now the Alaskan market has been kicked into overdrive. Glass shops are popping
up all across the state as we prepare for the cannabis market to open its doors for business
by the end of this summer. The interest in borosilicate and high-end glass has just started
to take off in Alaska.

11. Concentrate or flower?  Mainly Flower

12. Any pets? I have a dog and a bunny. My dog, Wren, is a Husky/Shepherd mix and my rabbit,
Megan, is a Dutch rabbit.

13. Favorite beer, liquor? European Lagers are some of my favorite beers. I’ll have a gin drink when I’m feeling fancy. We love to make homebrews; but don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t look down my
nose at an ice cold PBR!

14. Favorite convention, venue? DFO

15. Favorite place to travel? Colorado

16. Favorite food? Burritos and pumpkin pie (not together)

17. Favorite movie? Rushmore, Dumb and Dumber, Lonesome Dove (trigger warning on that last one)... comedies and documentaries are my go to genres.

18. If not a glass artist, what? I would likely work a biology job, either bird research or marine fisheries.

19. Favorite music or artist? I’m all over the board on this one. Anything that sounds unique and ear catching that isn’t too repetitive. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Kevin Pouya.

20. Any generation to be born? 60’s, 70’s, 80’s…? I would be back in the 1800s riding a horse everywhere.

21. Where do you relax? Islands and a nice couch. My favorite is relaxing at home in front of the wood stove under the electric blanket watching Seinfeld. But ultimately soaking in a wood fire sauna is where it’s at.

22. Go back 5 years, what would you do? I would have started blowing glass earlier! I was living in Humboldt County five years ago so I wish I had gotten myself involved in the glass industry while I was there.

23. Typical day? Bagel sandwich and coffee followed by a morning dog walk; then I usually work in the studio until around 6pm. If it’s a winter powder day here in Girdwood I’ll try to hit the
studio early and get some prep work knocked out before the mountain opens and sun
rises at 10:30am. I’ll snowboard at Alyeska for and hour or two then head back home to
have lunch and get back to work until 8 or 9pm.

24. When you’re not working, what? Snowboarding and hiking are my two favorite activities. I’m usually doing some type of outdoor activity.

25. Next project? I want to make more matching sets.

26. Perks of being an artist? It is awesome to be able to create pieces that bring people enjoyment! It feels good to create things that are beautiful and useful.  The flexibility of working for myself and knowing that it is solely up to me to make things happen gives me a real sense of responsibility.

27. Celebrity crush? Isla Fisher

29. Turn on’s, turn off’s? on: Danger off: Musicals

30. What kind of phone do you have? iPhone 5s

Follow TheGlassOwlAlaska on Instagram!

Don't forget to check out his work to purchase on the website as well. The Glass Owl

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