What I enjoy about working with hot glass is how flexible it is and how quickly it stops being so manageable. I like the challenge of the time window I have to create the piece.
I like nature, and when you make a fish or a flower out of glass, it seems that the juxtaposition seems a little out of place, not like a painting or woodwork. I like natural things done out of metal and glass. I like to have a general idea or direction when I work with glass, but the glass does take its own organic form. I really like flowers and fish. I’ll take an idea of a flower, rather than a specific flower, and then see how it morphs into its own kind of flower. I don’t try to make fish look like any kind of fish and the shape changes as I work with it.
I like to create pieces of blown glass, neon, and fused, and really enjoy combining all three techniques.
My favorite thing about my work is both other people’s reaction to it and my own reaction to the work. A lot of my motivation is curiosity to see what will happen. Opening the kiln is like Christmas morning. No peeking!
I started blowing glass at my dad’s sign company, Jackson Signs and Designs, when I was 19. I was taught by 80 year-old Gordy Smith and a crazy guy named Jim from Chicago.
I blew glass for commercial neon architectural lighting and borosilicate sculptures for the next 20 years. In 2006, I began to apprentice and blow off-hand glass with Mike Stevens. In 2010, I realized we were throwing away a lot of broken pieces of “garbage glass” and started recycling it, melting it in a kiln into fish and other designs.
When I’m not playing with glass, I spend time with Ashley, Lily, and Belle, chasing elk, playing claw hammer banjo, and trying to understand the Snake River.