170 episodes

Former editor of Glass Art magazine Shawn Waggoner interviews internationally respected artists and experts in hot, warm and cold glass.

For questions or comments

Talking Out Your Glass podcast Shawn Waggoner

    • Arts
    • 4.6 • 67 Ratings

Former editor of Glass Art magazine Shawn Waggoner interviews internationally respected artists and experts in hot, warm and cold glass.

For questions or comments

    Sidney Hutter: At the Intersection of Form, Glass, Color and Light

    Sidney Hutter: At the Intersection of Form, Glass, Color and Light

    Studio Glass pioneer Sidney Hutter creates three-dimensional sculptural objects in which the intersection of form, glass, color and light unite to create works of art with an amazing and ever-changing spectrum of color, reflection, and refraction. Transformed from industrial plate glass into beautiful objects, Hutter’s iconic non-functional vessel sculptures read more like “three-dimensional paintings.”  Hutter states: “As a glass sculptor, my interest is in the effects of light reflecting and refracting off and through glass. By laminating layers of glass, I am able to emphasize and manipulate the effects of light using color, shape and surface treatments.” After a fire temporarily closed the glassblowing studio during his second year in the graduate glass program at the Massachusetts College of Art, Hutter developed his layered and coldworked vessels. In the late 1970s, he was in the unique position of creating art uninhibited by financial pressures. The artist immersed himself in the idea of making large-scale glass sculptures based on historical glass research and influenced by his interest in architecture and work by his hero, David Smith. He focused on the creation of his Plate Glass Vase series, with which he entered the gallery world.  Hutter says: “Now, 40 years later, it is inspiring to look back at the complex and unique pieces created during that time of freedom and ultimate creativity.”
    Post-graduation, Hutter became an instructor at Massachusetts College of Art, Boston University and in Boston Public Schools. In 1980, he founded Sidney Hutter Glass & Light in Boston and later moved his studio to its current location in Newton, Massachusetts. There, he continues to create sculptures which combine fine art and glass craft with commercial processes used in architectural glass, adhesive and pigment industries. 
    During the heyday of Studio Glass, Hutter’s art and process became increasingly more technical. In response, he co-designed and fabricated machines to help make his work more efficient.  His interests in glass, ultraviolet light and adhesive technology, and pigment applications have taken him around the country – attending conferences and researching the latest advancements in those fields. Through conversations with industry leaders, he has been able to adapt commercial processes to his studio practice and create landscapes of color between layers of glass.  
    Hutter’s work is represented by the country’s finest galleries and included in numerous private and public collections as well as major museums in the US, including the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Art and Design in New York and the Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC.  In 1993, White House Vase #1 became part of the White House Craft Collection. The artist has created commercial projects for the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Hong Kong, the Hyatt on Collins in Melbourne, Australia, as well as for the Pittsburgh Gateway Hilton and the Righa Royal Hotel in Osaka, Japan, to name just a few.  
    With a career spanning more than four decades, Hutter has been an eyewitness to the changes in Studio Glass. In this conversation, he contemplates a shift in focus to include more lighting projects in his studio practice and reflects on advancing technology, economic highs and lows, and the ever-shifting interests of collectors and galleries. 
    Throughout the years, Hutter has developed a unique design style – influenced and cultivated from his passion for art and architecture and melded with his interest in the commercial glass and adhesive technology industries.  He adapted information, materials, and equipment into a unique studio practice, which contributed greatly to the glass art movement. His work will be on view in a spectacular collaborative show, Masters of Modern Glass, at Shaw Gallery, in Naples, Florida, with Richard Royal, Toland Sand, Rick Eggert, Tom Ma

    • 1 hr 35 min
    Judson Studios: Innovating in Stained and Fused Glass

    Judson Studios: Innovating in Stained and Fused Glass

    In 1897, when The Judson Studios was established in Los Angeles by the painter and professor William Lees Judson and his three sons, they could have never imagined the scope of the work their studio would produce in the 21stcentury. Under the direction of David Judson, Lees’ great-great grandson, every project is approached with a cutting-edge sensibility and technological savvy, whether the client is a boutique hotel or a historic cathedral.
    Helmed by Walter Horace, the eldest of Lees’ sons and a stained glass expert, Judson Studios thrived from the start, beautifying the booming metropolis of Los Angeles with works that represented the best in traditional and modern design. Today, Judson is the oldest family-run stained glass studio in America, still proudly offering an exquisite, handcrafted product made by local artisans, and continuing to serve the community that has sustained them through the decades. Located in the Highland Park section of northeast LA, the studio was founded in the Mott Alley section of downtown in the mid-1890s, but moved to its current location in 1920. The Judson Studios building was named a Historic-Cultural Landmark by the City of Los Angeles in 1969 and listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.
    In April of 2017 Judson Studios’ Resurrection Window, the largest single composition fused glass window in the world, was dedicated. Created for the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, the groundbreaking work measures 37 feet tall by 93 feet wide. For the ambitious project, Judson Studios collaborated with world-renowned artist Narcissus Quagliata to bring then Judson designer Tim Carey’s vision to life. This represented the first time a notable liturgical window was created entirely from fused glass. To accomplish the daunting task of producing this first ever fused window wall, Judson Studios expanded from their workspace in Highland Park to a new addition in South Pasadena. More than 5,000 square feet of modern factory and kiln capabilities enabled the studio, with Quagliata’s assistance, to complete their most challenging commission to date. 
    The changes necessary for the creation of The Resurrection window have completely expanded and redefined the studio’s offerings and capabilities, allowing Judson Studios to take on more work in fused glass and to collaborate with artists who don’t normally work in glass. As Director of Innovation, Quagliata works with the studio to further develop capabilities in fusing while also helping to guide Judsons’ growing artist development program. 
    Recent collaborative projects include: the Santa Clarita Fire Station 104 by Anne-Elizabeth Sobieski, commissioned by the Los Angeles County Public Arts Commission in 2020; “Embracing the World,” by Amir H. Fallah, was one of the studio’s first artist collaborations in its new fusing studio in 2017; “The Muralist, ”by David Flores. Judson Studios took a design by Flores and translated it into a stained and fused glass panel. The work was displayed as part of his solo show at Sullivan Goss Gallery in Santa Barbara, California, in October of 2017; “Portals,” by James Jean, includes three panels titled “Portal Verso,” “Portal Interior,” and “Portal Recto.” Judson Studios took designs from Jean and crafted them into a stained and fused glass triptych. The work was displayed as part of his solo gallery show Azimuth at Kaikai Kiki Gallery in Tokyo, Japan, in April of 2018. Judson’s 2019 collaboration with Jean titled “Gaia” is a nearly 8-foot-tall, three-dimensional crystal made entirely of fused glass and bound with lead in a custom steel frame. The piece was displayed at another of Jean’s gallery exhibitions, this time at Lotte Museum in Seoul, South Korea.
    To commemorate the studio’s expansion and growth,  Judson Studios along with Angel City Press recently released a new book, JUDSON: Innovation in Staine

    • 1 hr 8 min
    Grant Garmezy: Elevating Sculpted Glass to Narrative Work

    Grant Garmezy: Elevating Sculpted Glass to Narrative Work

    Grant Garmezy: Elevating Sculpted Glass to Narrative Work With a passion for hot sculpting animals in glass, Grant Garmezy perfected his ability to capture not only form, but expression and movement, elevating each piece from just sculpture into a narrative work of art. From his Dragon Ranch in Richmond, Virginia, the artist continues to draw inspiration from the environment of the American South.
    Says Garmezy: “Nature is truly perfect in its creation—impossible to reproduce. I do not strive to recreate the natural world exactly; instead, I try to capture the essence of the animal I am sculpting, not only in its physical features, but also its attitude and spirit.”
    Garmezy’s work is created through the process of off-hand sculpting, meaning he sculpts the glass freehand while it is heated to about 2,000 degrees. Using an extremely hot torch and a variety of hand tools, the glass is manipulated without the use of molds. For that reason, each and every piece is truly unique. The artist works with at least one assistant, but most of the work requires the help of an entire team of skilled artists.
    Born on a farm outside Nashville, Tennessee, Garmezy began his artistic career as an apprentice to metal and jewelry fabricator, Ben Caldwell. In 2003, he traveled to Richmond, Virginia, to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). While in the Craft/Material Studies program, he studied under Jack Wax, a furnace worker, and flameworker, Emilio Santini. Garmezy received the 10 Under 10 award from his alma mater, honoring 10 noteworthy and distinctive alumni of VCU who graduated in the past decade.  
    In 2008, Garmezy was awarded the International North Lands Creative Glass Residency in Scotland. While there, he was presented with the Benno Schotz Award through The Royal Scottish Academy for most promising young sculptor in the UK. In 2010, the artist served as teaching assistant for Karen Willenbrink and Jasen Johnsen at Pilchuck Glass School and the following year was awarded a position as an assistant at the new Chrysler Museum of Art Perry Glass Studio. During his time in Norfolk, he helped to break in the new studio and had a hand in shaping it into what it is today. 
    In July 2013, Garmezy was invited back to Norfolk as the featured artist for a Third Thursday performance at the Perry Glass Studio. At the conclusion of the evening, Grant surprised now wife Erin—and the entire audience—by taking a knee and proposing marriage to her. The special moment was very fitting to their relationship and is fondly remembered by all who were there to witness it. The husband-and-wife team returned to the Perry Glass Studio in September 2020 for the Visiting Artist Series, where they focused on a new series of works featuring reptiles and snakes coupled with sculpted flowers. 
    The pastoral environment of Garmezy’s youth— specifically interactions with livestock, wildlife, and natural settings—manifests in collaborative sculptures with Erin, which are typically pairings of flora and fauna. Erin moved from blowing glass vessels at the furnace to sculpting glass plant life on a torch when she studied with VCU professor Santini, and later Robert Mickelsen and David Willis. 
    Having traveled as far as the Northlands of Scotland, and Seoul, South Korea, to demonstrate his craft, Garmezy has studied with Scott Darlington, Ross Richmond, Martin Janecky, Raven Skyriver, Marc Petrovic, Karen Willenbrink-Johnsen and Jasen Johnsen. He has been invited to exhibit his work all over the world, including Seoul, Edinburgh, Prague, Paris, and Istanbul. Upcoming 2022 workshops will take place at the Toledo Museum of Art, May 9 – 13
    and at the Glass Furnace in Istanbul, May 30 – June 9
    In 2020, Garmezy embarked on the most ambitious project of his career – hot sculpting 200 glass drago

    • 1 hr 7 min
    Sylvia Laks: Costa Rica’s Best Hope for Redefining Stained Glass as Art

    Sylvia Laks: Costa Rica’s Best Hope for Redefining Stained Glass as Art

    The work of Sylvia Laks possesses a certain mystical quality that captures the viewer. Looking at her stained and painted glass is akin to a supernatural event, such as gazing into a crystal ball or seeing the future in a magical river. Sheer beauty and mystery draws you in; the search for truth inspires in-depth study.
    Laks lives and works high in the mountains of Heredia, Costa Rica, 5,500 feet above sea level in a beautiful, peaceful area surrounded by trees and vegetation. She and husband, Enrique, have a home and two-story studio on the same property, surrounded by many flowers. An extremely versatile artist, Laks takes on all kinds of commissions covering every theme possible, from ornamental jobs created in stained glass to elaborate, fully painted portraits – her forte.
    Catholic church commissions comprise about 30 percent of the studio’s work, and the remaining 70 percent is the creation of new windows. Twelve artisans work for Sylvia and Enrique regularly, and they have trained a stable of eight additional artists they can call upon when needed, such as during the creation of fully painted windows for the main Catholic Seminary in Costa Rica.
    Laks has also been commissioned to create glass art for government institutions such as Patronato Nacional de la Infancia (an institution that takes care of abandoned children), Albergue de la Mujer Agredida (an institution that provides shelter for battered women), and the Colegio Federado de Ingenieros y Arquitectos de Costa Rica (which approves all constructions in the country), in addition to many hotels and residential commissions.
    Most of her autonomous panels have been commissioned by private galleries and for private homes in Germany, the US, and Costa Rica. Laks shows her work at her own permanent gallery and also at the Centro Cultural Costarricense Norteamericano’s art gallery, which is part of the USA Embassy and the State Department.     
    Recognition of Laks’ work in the US began in June 2010 when she won First Place in the Stained Glass Association of America’s (SGAA) annual conference exhibition, becoming the first non-American to ever receive this peer-voted award. Laks’ winning piece, Faces 1, depicts the eldest artisan at her studio prior to his retirement. “I felt unbelievably surprised winning this award. I was further excited because very few people in Costa Rica consider stained glass a medium of artistic expression.”
    In 2011 Laks’ studio became the first international studio ever accepted as a fully accredited member of the SGAA. This was the result of an intense one-year process, in which then SGAA president, Jack Whitworth, traveled to Costa Rica with his wife Cindy to inspect the studio and its commissions. 
    Laks’ panel, Calamity, appeared on the spring 2011 cover of Stained Glass Quarterly. This piece speaks about the sadness of several international events through its images of Muslim terrorists, armies, Osama bin Laden, and George W. Bush. “For me, the most painful feelings are inspired by the children who lost their lives. This is happening so often in today’s world. I try to express these feelings in my paintings. I feel uncomfortable with the lack of meaning in what is considered art today. This is a reflection of our modern society.”

    • 1 hr 3 min
    Amanda Simmons: Examining Our World through Kiln Forming Glass Powders

    Amanda Simmons: Examining Our World through Kiln Forming Glass Powders

    As a trained scientist prior to creating with glass, Amanda Simmons is fascinated by how our world works and how it can be fixed. Inspired by subjects as diverse as the physics of our expanding universe or how drugs function on a molecular level, the artist has been discovering new ways to explore the properties of mass, heat, time and gravity in the creation of 3D vessel forms. Intense color and patterns result when opaque glass powders react to light, varying in translucency as the form elongates during the firing process. Works are finished using many coldworking processes to shape and mark the glass including sandblasting, hand lapping, diamond point and wheel engraving.
    Simmons states: “My practice as a glass artist has become a conduit to further learning by making objects in a material whose language I understand, addressing subjects that interest me in the natural world. Our achievements as a species are impressive but equally frustrating in the cycles of social and environmental injustice, from which we never seem to learn. I want to investigate these cyclic routes and the lessons unlearnt, incorporating this narrative into my work, cultivating and inspiring change in a positive and visual method.”
    Originally trained in biomedical sciences (pharmacology) and clinical sciences, Simmons became interested in glass in 2002 after a stained glass course with Ray Bradley and then pursued a postgraduate in Glass and Architecture from Central St. Martins College of Art and Design, London, in 2004. Following a recent two-week residency at Lyth Arts Centre in Caithness, the artist began exploring the continuing research of the Flow Country and its massive capacity to store carbon in the many layers of peat. Working from watercolor prints inspired by the patterns and colors of the land and sky, she produced some of her largest gravity formed glassworks to date for her first solo exhibition Outer Spaces, held July 2017 at The Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh. 
    Simmons’ Dahlia Universe series, kilnformed solstice platters, were selected for exhibition in the 2019 British Glass Biennale. Creating work that often examines natural world contrasts, the artist kiln formed platters signifying the changes in season with the thought of our universe expanding like a growing flower. The works investigate whether we could use the biological theory of convergence to explain how our universe was made. Another series, Southern Hemispheres, was inspired by three months travelling and working in Australia. These pieces represent the first small-scale investigations of the resilient Australian native botanicals, posing the question: Do the survival techniques of these plants relate to our current crises in environmental and political situations? 
    Creating work from her studio in Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland, since 2005, Simmons is the winner of The Gold Award from ORIGIN 2010: The London Craft Fair and finalist in Bullseye Glass Company’s Emerge 2012. United States and UK exhibitions include Craft Scotland 2013 and SOFA Chicago. Most recently, Contemporary Applied Arts exhibited Simmons glass art in their material-focused exhibition COLLECT: The International Art Fair for Modern Craft and Design. Her work can be found in public collections including: The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, England; National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland; Perth Museum and Art Gallery, Perth, Scotland; and Ernsting Stiftung Glass Museum, Germany. 
    An important part of Simmons’ practice is to educate and mentor, a way to pass on the skills developed over 19 years of kiln forming glass. Her 60-minute Master Class Video, available on Bullseye Glass Co.’s website, shares the full process by which she creates her tall vessels. She says: “I enjoy mentoring students starting out in their careers with glass, including business advice, professional development, and a range of glass techniques.”

    • 1 hr 8 min
    Sonja Blomdahl: Queen of Symmetry

    Sonja Blomdahl: Queen of Symmetry

    Strong. Calm. Serene. So are the vessels of Sonja Blomdahl. In an industrial neighborhood near Seattle’s Lake Union, the artist turned loose her vivid colors into the unsuspecting gray of her spacious cinderblock and cement studio. If a Scandinavian flavor is detected in the hue of her celestial orbs, it is by chance as she credits rainy Seattle as her primary inspiration. But Blomdahl is in fact of Swedish descent, leaving some collectors of her work to wonder if the Scandinavian sense of style and design is in her blood. 
    After graduating from Massachusetts College of Art with a BFA in ceramics, Blomdahl studied at Orrefors Glass School in Sweden for six months, providing her with a solid background in efficiently handling her material. Upon arrival at the glass factory in 1976, she had $300 in her pocket. When her apprenticeship was over and in need of cash, Blomdahl went to work as a cleaning woman in a Swedish hospital to finance trips to Italy and the British Isles. Back in Massachusetts, she blew glass in a New Hampshire studio for nine months until Dan Dailey, a former teacher at Mass Art, invited her to be his teaching assistant at Pilchuck. 
    Three weeks at Pilchuck in the summer of 1978 proved to be a pivotal time in Blomdahl’s career, for it was there that she viewed the Italian master Checco Ongaro demonstrate the double bubble or incalmo technique. She honed this process over the next two years while working at the Glass Eye Studio in Seattle and teaching glassblowing at Pratt Fine Arts Center. After her first exhibition at Traver in 1981, Blomdahl stopped working at the Glass Eye, bought a three-month Euro Rail pass and traveled around Europe. There, she had the opportunity to produce new work in Ann Wolff’s studio in Sweden – a wonderful experience that further entrenched Blomdahl’s desire to establish her own hotshop. She shipped the work made there back to Seattle and had a second sell-out show at Traver, allowing her to build a studio in 1982, where she worked for the next 25 years.
    Currently on view in Venice and American Studio Glass, curated by Tina Oldknow and William Warmus, Blomdahl’s work was the focus of solo exhibitions at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art, Montgomery, Alabama; Martha’s Vineyard Glassworks, West Tisbury, Massachusetts; and the William Traver Gallery, Tacoma, Washington. Permanent installations and collections include American Craft Museum, New York, New York; Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, Little Rock, Arkansas; Museum of Decorative Art, Prague, Czech Republic; Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York; and Kitazawa Contemporary Glass Museum, Kitazawa, Japan, to name a few. She has held teaching positions at Pratt Fine Arts Center, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine, and the Appalachian Center in Smithville, Tennessee. 
    Blomdahl’s focus has been the vessel. She states: “In the vessel, I find the form to be of primary importance. It holds the space. In a sense, the vessel is a history of my breath: It contains the volume within. If I have done things correctly, the profile of the piece is a continuous curve; the shape is full, and the opening confident. Color is often the joy in making a piece. I want the colors to glow and react with each other. The clear band between the colors acts as an optic lens; it moves the color around and allows you to see into the piece. The relationship between form, color, proportion, and process intrigued me.”

    • 59 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
67 Ratings

67 Ratings

Asdfasdfasdf5656 ,

Thanks for featuring these great artists!

Lots of fun

henaoglass ,


Sooooo happy that the Glass community finally has a place where to meet and understand more about our medium and other things. I’m enjoying the first episode and admiring how humble Daisy Fuin is. Such a pleasure... will continue with the second one. Thanks again and excited for more episodes!!!!

Shaniebelle ,

So much info & inspirational!

I’ve really been enjoying this podcast... I started at the beginning and am only part way through Season 2, but I’m loving it. I am a novice fused glass artist and thought that some of the interviews with artists from other disciplines might not be as interesting or useful for me. But that’s not the case! I typically view the artist’s work online as I listen to the podcast, and that makes the meaning and technique really come to life. I’ve also learned about a fused glass artist I didn’t know about - and I’ll be taking a class from her soon. Thanks, Shawn & Glass Art Magazine!!!

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