I recently came across a young man, Chris Pittard, who is an up and coming glass artist particularly in the area of blown glass. Like many glass artists, it was a glass demonstration that he saw that ignited his own fire – no pun intended! He has been blowing glass for two years now. At 17, I think it is wonderful that he is getting started so early in his life. He began with smaller pieces like cups, hearts, and paperweights, but under the tutelage of his mentor, Cary Sloane, he has vastly increased the range of pieces he creates.
If you have never seen glass being formed into an object, it is an amazing process. A metal blowpipe is used to blow up and gather the glass. A pair of shears is used to cut and shape the glass.Wet newspaper bundles, metal molds, wooden paddles, wooden blocks and jacks, which are giant metal tweezers, are also used to shape the glass.All of this is done in the presence of a very hot furnace.
I asked Chris where his inspiration comes from, and this is what he said, “I would say my inspiration comes from being a surfer. The sensation I experience when I’m relaxing in the water is the same one I experience while glassblowing. I typically allow nature to inspire my color selection, often I’ll start with a basic color or two and then add colors I envision would look good on the spot.”
He also told me that his mother is influential in his art. (Way to go mom! I love that.) In addition, there is a small shop in a town just north of Del Mar, California, where Chris lives that inspires his work. Chris said, “The shop owner, Darrel, is the most thought provoking man I’ve ever met. He couldn’t be a happier nicer man. His shop is crammed, I mean crammed, with treasure ranging from troll dolls to jewelry to incense. Darrel bought some of my first lampwork pendants. The color spectrum in his store is very influential.”
At 17, Chris has a great opportunity to develop his skill and artistic style. Wherever he ends up after high school, he plans to pursue his glass art. Studio time can be expensive, but he hopes to experiment more with murrine and millefiori. When Chris isn’t working with glass he is surfing, hanging out with friends, or studying. He also likes to play the ukulele and piano, though he says he isn’t very good at either. Below are a few of my personal favorite pieces that Chris has made. Check out the work of this talented young artist on his website: www.chrispittard.com