Art Glass by Christopher Sherwin
Sherwin Art Glass
“Glass has been an integral part of my life for more than 20 years. In addition to glassblowing, I’ve also enjoyed exploring a variety of media and materials, such as music, ceramics, drawing, painting, and woodturning/wood burning. I first encountered glassblowing in 1991, as an “elective” during my senior year at Southern Connecticut State University, in New Haven, CT, while earning a B.S. in Liberal Studies, with a concentration in Special Education. After two years of working in Maryland as a residential direct-care worker for individuals with Developmental Disabilities, I returned to my home state of Vermont to begin my ‘lifepath’ as a glassblower.
“In 1993, I hired on as an apprentice with Simon Pearce, Inc., a prestigious glass facility in Windsor & Quechee, VT, known for their high-quality production of functional crystal. I became a journeyman glassblower and team leader, and my particular concentration was in stemware and handled pieces (pitchers, tankards, Irish coffee mugs, etc.) as well as various bowls and vases.
“In 1997, my fiancé and I moved to Chico, California, where she pursued her BA/Masters degrees in Speech Pathology and I worked as a glassblower at Orient & Flume Art Glass, an internationally-renowned glass studio, known for their iridescent vases, intricate paperweights, and torchwork designs. For the next seven years, I watched and learned from some of the “masters of the trade,” experimenting with new colors and techniques, developing and refining my own skills, and specializing in iridescent and torchwork design. I sold many solo and collaboratively-designed pieces on the “O & F” production line, and had my own successful retail section in the Orient & Flume showroom.
“In 2004, after our respective educations, wonderful adventures and life experiences, we returned home to New England to raise our daughter in the same close-knit community setting we grew up in, closer to both our families. For the next year I worked to set up my glass studio, and on August 28, 2005, Sherwin Art Glass was officially recognized by the State of Vermont as a business, complete with a scenic location overlooking the Connecticut River. My studio runs with environmental concerns in mind; my furnace and all equipment (except my torch) runs off hydroelectric power generated locally. It feels good to be "green" in the Green Mountain State, working in a medium that generally uses a lot of fossil fuels! Reduce - Reuse - Recycle!
“I live about a mile from the studio with my wife, Cheryl, a Speech-Language Pathologist in the WNESU School District, our daughter, Cassandra, a happy, healthy high-schooler, and several furry, four-legged friends. When not blowing glass, I enjoy many outdoor sports and activities (especially disc golf, fishing, snowboarding, tennis), playing guitar, and spending quality time with my family and friends.”
“I work in the medium of glass and specialize in torchwork design and application. Using hand-pulled canes of glass made specifically for each design, and a hand-held oxy-propane torch, I melt and shape the tips of the glass canes and apply them to the glass form being created, to achieve the desired design. It is best described as ‘Painting with Glass.’ After the decoration is complete, all of my work is hand shaped with wet newspaper. I like to get as close to the glass as possible and using newspaper allows me to feel how the glass is moving with my hand. Some of the pieces are formed into paperweights, others blown into various vessels. Design ideas come from friends, family and the beauty I see in Nature. When designing a piece, I try to allow the decoration or floral pattern dictate the form of the piece so as to provide harmony between the two. The torchwork process is intensive; all of my work is done ‘on the pipe’ and once started, a piece demands concentration and attention to detail and form through to the end. The pieces vary in length from fifteen minutes to almost three hours.
Currently, I am focusing on flora and fauna found specifically in New England. I am creating a series of surface-decorated glass egg paperweights with various backgrounds and floral patterns. I also make a series of multi-dimensional vases, clear encased orb paperweights, and have now expanded into lamps, bowls and stemware. In addition, I create torchwork-decorated free-blown eggs and freeform sculpture designed specifically to use in conjunction with illuminating light bases.”
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April 20, 2017.
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