The Book Project

“The Glass Makers”

A Book Project

- An Explanation -

(OF WHAT, HOW AND WHY)

It was said, somebody should write a book on the glass makers. So I decided to do one from my perspective as a glass maker starting in 1970. I thought I would attempt to write this book and highlight the glass makers who built their own studios and made glass for 30 years or more. Of course, with anything there will always be exceptions to the rule…

For those of you who don’t know me, I started in ceramics in 1966. A year later, I met Peter Volkous and he invited me into his office, asked me if I drank and we talked for three hours; from there we had a lifelong friendship. Ansel Adams was another person I had the extreme pleasure of assisting when I was doing photography for the Oakland Tribune. I went to California College of Arts and Crafts, graduating with a degree in Glass in 1970. I built my first glass studio in Berkeley, CA in 1970 and stayed on the same block doing glass for 45 years until 2015.

Randy with Mary White and Michael Cohn

Randy with Mary White and Michael Cohn

I have been considering doing this book for quite a while. Now that I’ve slowed down in the making of glass – I’ve started putting this book together.

I feel it is of utmost importance to write an account of who we are and in some cases who we were.

This book is intended to be about people who have been in their studios making glass for 30+ years, therefore the title of the book: “The Glass Makers”. This is NOT about teachers and institutions. This is about Glass Makers. This is about us – we who established our own studios and made our own glass for 30 plus years and helped to build and create this “American Glass Movement”. We were a big part in helping to create and support the galleries that grew and flourished all over the U.S. It will be a real look into what it took and what went into all the glass we made in our careers.

Some of the Glass Makers who have already been interviewed for the book include:

  • Bruce Pizzichillo
  • Craig and Anny Zweifel
  • Donald Carlson
  • Jay Mussler
  • John Cook
  • John Lewis
  • Michael Cohn
  • Michael and Ann Nourot
  • Robert Adamson and Janet Swalwell

It is not a book that will include all of the people who made glass. It will be about the glass people who have had their own studios – who have gone into their studios regularly and made glass.

This book will serve to be more of a historical account of what we did and how we did it from the artist’s perspective.

Karen and Donald Carlson

Karen and Donald Carlson

This is about using your voice to describe your adventures/travels and life in glass. The book will be about what you write – about your views with a perspective of a lifetime in making glass.

This is a serious attempt to capture the thoughts, emotions – highs and lows – the difficulties and the successes of the glass makers.

This is really meant to be more of a history of us – for the future. Please take these questions and thoughts seriously and realize that this will be a real reflection on who you are – past, present and future. So, please be insightful and honest about your feelings and thoughts.

We have been part of a unique group of people – few in our numbers – and fewer in those who built their own studios and every day, year after year, went into their studios and challenged both their bodies and minds – to do what very few have done; design and build the equipment to make glass, design and make the glass itself to learn by experimentation and failure to overcome, through trial and error and continue to struggle to find success in creating – using the mystical liquid material called glass.

The art of transforming sand into glass is a rare talent – which few people ever get the opportunity to do and fewer still ever achieve – in becoming a true glass maker. By luck – by design – or – by accident, there are those of us who have (for more than one reason or another) found ourselves in this rare and very honorable profession of being glass makers.

Here is a sampling of questions to spark your thoughts about what to write about – (IF YOU NEED IT)

There’s always the standard stuff:

  • How did you discover and become interested in learning glass?
  • Where did you get your start – dates
  • Who was it you learned from and where?
  • Who was it you learned from and where?
  • When did you start your studio and where?
  • Disappointments, set backs and how you persevered
  • If you could go back and change anything, what would that be?
  • Who were your mentors/heroes/teachers?
  • Who/what inspires you to do glass?
  • Was it always your desire to make art?
  • Did glass come naturally to you or did you have to work at it?
  • Did you come into glass with any business knowledge or like many of us, learn as you go?
  • Looking back did you achieve what you wanted?
  • Etc. etc.

I will be the first editor of what you write. If there are questions or need for clarification, I will contact you via email. The book will be professionally edited and published by a company out of N.Y. City.

This book is NOT a place to grind an ax – or to say bad things about anybody. Yes, we have all had some bad experiences and we’ve learned from them and have grown – (and, this would be good stuff for the book) but I ask you to leave out names. For individuals or galleries or organizations you had bad experiences with – please refer to them in vague generalities – such as “they” or “this organization” or – a gallery or galleries that I dealt with.

If galleries were fantastic or people were great to deal with – then names ARE requested.

Example:

“The Real Mother Goose: Stan and Judy who have been the very best people, and have run one of the finest galleries I ever dealt with. I remember when they lined up at the Rhinebeck Crafts Fair 1971 and everybody came running to my booth when they opened the gates, ever since then, we have had a wonderful relationship that includes doing wonderful business”

Randy with Craig Zweifel

Randy with Craig Zweifel

Basically, each chapter of this book will be about a different glass artist. It will have a picture at the beginning of the chapter of you and if there is a partner – of you and that partner together, should you wish. I hope to be able to have at least two other photos of your work – to show your earlier work, then show your work at your zenith – or now – whichever represents you best. But, this is not a book of photos, but a story or journey of the glass maker. Your writing is very important. I am asking many people to submit for a chapter per person.

You might also have thoughts on who should be in the book and why, whether living or not. Should you have any suggestions or people who you think meet the book’s loosely defined parameters or criteria, feel free to email them to me at rstrongglass@gmail.com.

Keep in mind – this is about glass makers – NOT about teachers or institutions.

The book will have an “In Memory Of” chapter to honor those who have passed on, such as the Lundberg brothers, Jim and Steve, Henry Suma, Drew Smith, and Brioni as examples of Glass Makers who should be included. If you have any stories, funny, crazy, wonderful, times spent with any of these Glass Makers, any suggestions would be helpful. I am also asking everyone to write something about those who are no longer with us – if you knew them – something that shows them in a cast them in a good light. It would be a shame to leave out those who deserve to be mentioned in this chapter.

Due to space and financial limitations I will not be able to include all the Glass Makers, but will do my best to cover the people who have been making glass in their studios for over 30 years.

This is not meant to answer all the questions but to give an introduction to what it will basically entail.

Please click on the links below to download the questionnaire, release form and more information about the book:

Questionnaire

Release Form

The Book Project Info

Thank you very much,

Randy Strong

707-318-4202

rstrongglass@gmail.com

November 15, 2014