Glass Art in Northern New Mexico

Santa Fe is a center for glass art.
Here are some of the artists involved and a bit of their history.

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Miner Ranas
Charles Miner
"Ranas"
Cast glass
16"H x 29"W x 6"D

The use of glass as art is a tradition that can be traced back at least to Roman times. But over the past 40 years, the studio art-glass movement has become a revolution, liberating the medium of glass, the means of expression, and the artisan from the factory and its utilitarian focus.

The American studio art-glass movement began in Wisconsin in 1962 under the guidance of Harvey Littleton. Considered the founder of the modern American studio glass movement, Littleton is a teacher and mentor, a legend among artist-craftsmen whose palette is fire. His influence has been felt throughout America and, through his students, throughout the world. One student, Dale Chihuly, creator of sweeping forms of dazzling blown glass, is not only one of America’s best known living glass artists, but also the person most responsible for the surging attention being given to the studio art-glass movement.

Harvey Littleton and Dale Chihuly's influence and inspiration quickly produced fruit in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In Santa Fe, the art-glass movement began in 1968 with the opening of Mel Knowles and Jack Miller's Canyon Road Studio. Knowles and Miller had studied with Tom McGlauchlin who, in turn, had learned from Harvey Littleton, the patriarch of this Santa Fe glass genealogy (and probably many others)! In the early 1970s Dale Chihuly established a place called Pilchuck Glass School, 50 miles north of Seattle, Washington. The Glass School is the most comprehensive educational center in the world for artists who create with glass; since its beginning, some of the greatest makers of glass art travel to Pilchuck each summer to teach. In 1971, Peet Robison, a glass artist destined to become a Santa Fean and one of the Canyon Road Studio glass blowers, assisted Chihuly in building Pilchuck and began his glass studies at the first session of the Pilchuck experimental workshop. Since 1968, Santa Fe quietly has become a mecca for glass media arts. The Canyon Road Studio spun off six “hot shops” and numerous associates who blew glass but who then went on to work with torch-blown, fused or cast productions. For nearly 20 years, Canyon Road Studio was a training field for honing the craft and learning the associated activities of studio construction, retail, wholesale and educating and working with the public who came to watch the extraordinary process of creating art glass.

The glass hot shop is a challenge to all who work there. Hot glass is all about temperature–even the slightest breeze can cool a piece unevenly. Glass is a self-selecting medium, not one for the faint of heart or weak of arm! It requires a certain constitution and temperament to stand up to the 1100-2000 degree furnace temperatures–sometimes for many hours. When working a hot glass piece, there is no putting it down to think about its form or direction. Pipeblown glass is always cooling, therefore solidifying. While being worked the glass is subject to gravity, stressed by the manipulation of tools, and needs to be reheated to keep it fluid and pliable. Thus, team blowing becomes a great dance, especially when doing large pieces. Part of the performance drama can be the glass piece that hits the floor with a great crash or loses the bottom at the last minute, 45 minutes after the artist had been coaxing and breathing form and life into it.

Those artists who were “challenged” at the Canyon Road Studio were instrumental in building the art-glass movement in New Mexico. Following Mel Knowles and Jack Miller at the Canyon Road Studio, came Peter Vanderlaan, Henry Summa, Daphne Morrissey, Jenny Langston, Charlie Miner, Peet and Susan Robison, Paul White, Waine Archer and Elodie Holmes. Even Dale Chihuly spent time at the furnace on Canyon Road.

The inter-relationships of all of these artists are important. Canyon Road Studio (which closed in 1987) nourished Peter Vanderlaan who, with Dale Chihuly and Bruce Chow, built the glass furnace at the Santa Fe Indian School. For 6 1/2 years Vanderlaan owned Canyon Road Studio (known then as Glory Hole Glassworks), he studied and taught at Pilchuck and he built Glory Hole Glassworks in La Cienega, south of Santa Fe. In 2000 Vanderlaan & Mary Beth Bliss opened Glory Hole Glassworks once again on Canyon Road, complete with an electric glory hole. Although Vanderlaan and Bliss have moved to a Massachusetts tree farm, Vanderlaan will occasionally return to the glory hole at 200 Canyon Road where he will seasonally demonstrate the art of glassblowing.

Following the Canyon Road Studio tradition, Charles Miner’s Tesuque studio provided the next hot shop to make the process of blowing glass available to the public. Now called Tesuque Glassworks, the glass-blowing studio offers a place to work for both trained blowers as well as aspiring newcomers and a fascinating, exotic experience for visitors from around the world. The gallery features Charles Miner’s blown glass and cast glass sculpture as well as functional and decorative blown glass by other artists.

Neff Star Seed

Stacy Neff
"Star Seed"
Blown glass,
mixed media
and fiberglass
72"D

Elodie Holmes established her studio/gallery, Liquid Light Glass, in the Baca Street Art District six-studio complex. Holmes’ glass is hand sculpted using traditional techniques of glass blowing, sculpting molten glass with special tools, flame work, and etching. The studio and gallery are open to visitors. Glass blower Patrick Morrissey is one of ten glass artists who blow glass at Prairie Dog Glass, another hot shop open to the public and located at Jackalope on Santa Fe’s Cerrillos Road.

Breaking the paradigm of glass, Pollock Krasner Foundation and Chautauqua Institute award recipient Stacey Neff utilizes unconventional blowing techniques which have allowed her to overcome the inherent fragility of glass and have freed her from the size limitations previously dictated by the craft. In 1997 a landmark breakthrough occurred resulting from the accidental breakage of a major work during an installation. The accident inspired Neff to create less fragile sculpture by pairing supplies found in automotive/nautical factories with the ancient material of glass. As further glass boundaries dissolve, Neff strives to participate in all spectrums of contemporary art, including the domain of monumental public art.

Foremost is to keep the fires burning . . . and they do. There are at least 50 glass artists in northern New Mexico carrying on the tradition begun on Canyon Road in 1968 . . . and furthering the eloquence of the traditions with ground-breaking new techniques. In addition, there are three private schools that teach glass art and some 26 studios that welcome visitors by appointment. Information about the schools and studios as well as about individual glass artists, classes, lectures and workshops can be found at www.glassnm.org remote, the website of Glass Alliance-New Mexico, a non-profit organization which has as its mission the development and appreciation of contemporary studio art glass.

 

 

Glass Artist

Waine Archer
Karen Avila
Georgia Barneberg
Lee Barneberg
Larry Bell
John Bingham
Mary Beth Bliss
Marc Boutee
Emily Brock
Bob Brodsky
Duane Dahl
Salvador M Equihua
Larry Fiedler
Robin Fineberg
Cia Friedrich
Barbara Grothus
Michael Hatch
Lance Heddan
Mark Highway
Elodie Holmes
Steve Hourigan
Sandra Hruska
Jezebel
Tony Jojola
Cheryl Kennedy

Type of Glass

Lampwork
Jewelry
Jewelry
Blown
Mixed Media
Blown and Cast
Blown and Assembled
Blown
Fused and Slumped
Blown
Slumped
Stained, Etched, Fused
Cast and Slumped
Blown
Assembled
Blown
Blown
Fused
Blown
Lampwork
Blown
Fused jewelry
Stained
Blown
Hot Worked

Glass Artist

Peter Keogh
Eric Lesse
Lucy Lyon
Jean McGuire
Ann Miller
Charlie Miner
Marcia Newren
George O'Grady
Kevin O'Grady
Jo Anne Paulk
Flo Perkins
Robert Randazzo
Shelley Robinson
Peet Robison
Carol Savid
Mary Shaffer
Stacy Siegel
Linda Spackman
Larry Sparks
Mark Stephenson
Suzanne Stern
Henry Summa
Peter Vanderlaan
Michael Warren
Paul White
Lewis Wilson

Type of Glass

Cast
Blown
Lampwork
Blown
Jewelry
Blown and Cast
Fused and Slumped
Blown
Jewelry
Sandblasted/traditional
Blown
Neon
Assembled
Blown
Fused
Cast and Slumped
Blown
Jewelry
Flat
Blown
Jewelry
Blown
Blown and Sculpture
Blown
Fused and Slumped
Lampwork


By Pamela Michaelis, founder of The Collector's Guide and former host of “Gallery News” radio show on KHFM 95.5 remote, classical radio in Albuquerque.

Originally appeared in The Collector’s Guide - Volume 21


Related Pages

Fused and Slumped Glass article

Glossary of Glass Terms article


Collector’s Resources

Albuquerque

Purple Sage Gallery | 505-450-4059
Weyrich Gallery | 505-883-7410
Wright's Indian Art | 505-266-0120

Elsewhere in New Mexico

Galeria de Corrales 3923 Corrales Road | 505-890-4929

Santa Fe

Carol Kucera Gallery | 505-989-7523
LewAllen Galleries | 505-988-3250
Liquid Light Glass 926 Baca St #3 | 505-820-2222
Tansey Contemporary rem 652 Canyon Road | 505-995-8513
Tesuque Glassworks pic Bishop's Lodge Road | 505-988-2165
Wiford Gallery 403 Canyon Road | 505-982-2403

RESOURCE LISTS UPDATED WHEN VIEWED | ARTICLE CONTENT REVISED October 14, 2009

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