Being the great-grandson to the internationally known stained glass artist, Louis Comfort Tiffany, I grew up in a family with an awe and reverence for the beauty of glass. As a child of the sixties, I became a devotee of the renaissance of the art nouveau movement: I loved the works of Beardsley, Horta, Guimard, and Mucha. The organic qualities of this movement reflected my innate love of the natural world.
In college, although I took some fine art courses, my main area of study was science, and I received a PhD. for my work using the electron microscope to investigate biological membranes. As an Assistant Professor of Anatomy at University of Calgary, I had the opportunity to take a course in glass blowing at the Alberta College of Art. Since that first hands-on experience with blowing glass, it has become my passion. I later moved to Seattle, which has become the birth place of the studio glass movement, to start my independent studies in glass. Here I found a place where glass expertise is abundant, and the level of artistic talent is overwhelming. It is a wonderful place to gather ideas and challenge myself artistically.
Most of my hot worked glass is in the form of vessels. By avoiding the use of colored surface decoration, I allow the shadows and optically active surfaces to emphasize the form of the glass. I am most pleased with my work when it incorporates the sensuality seen at both the microscopic and macroscopic scale in biological structures. I strive to allow the glass to retain a sense of fluidity and liquidity in its final form. Together these aspirations tend to produce highly organic pieces which are topologically symmetric while being geometrically asymmetric.
Recently I have been experimenting extensively with pearl lusters on the surface of the glass. Most of my current work is the result of these experiments. The lusters accomplish two things. First, they enable a myriad of effects in which the color deepens dramatically. The combination of lusters on both the inside and outside of the glass, sandwiching an opal color is truly unique. Secondly, the lusters (on the outside) accentuate the sensuous curves of the glass in much the same way that a sheer stocking accentuates the curves of the female form. A sharp reflection indicates the peak of a curve, but a more diffuse sheen gives the contour more definition.
Several years ago, I developed a technique whereby glass could be blown on a copper pipe and the pipe retained in the glass upon cooling. With this I have created finial and finial-like components, which may be incorporated into larger structures. I have used this technique extensively to combine glass and metal for furniture, lamps and display components for department stores.