How did you get started making glass pumpkins?
When our daughter was small, we wanted to grow pumpkins and have a party for her and her friends so they could carve them for Halloween. But we had bad weather that year, so we didn’t get any pumpkins. We decided to buy pumpkins for them to carve, but we also blew some pumpkins out of glass to put out in the garden to make it look like we had pumpkins.
How did you get started blowing glass?
Michael came upon glassblowing in college, and I came upon it the month after college. As soon as we both found it, we dropped everything else and became glassblowers. We met through our common interest in glass. We started working together in 1979 and started our business in 1980.
What is your studio like?
We have a 6,000-square-foot studio in an industrial neighborhood close to San Francisco Bay. We made a 6,000-square-foot garden just outside our building. We designed the space inside and out to be aesthetically pleasing, because we’re here more than we’re home. We took the colors of paint from our house and painted the studio the same colors, but we designed a different style garden for the studio. It’s a Mediterranean/California art garden. The garden and the studio are designed so that they interface. From the lead glassblower’s bench, you can see fountains and olive trees, so whoever is the lead glassblower each day gets the best view. We use our garden here as a showroom because the California weather is so conducive to it. In October, we have a big event at our studio where we put hundreds of pieces in our garden and do glassblowing demonstrations in our studio and invite the public. The garden is just full of every organic shape that we blow: pumpkins, squash, apples, pears, leaves, and acorns.
What do you do when you’re not making art?
Michael’s an avid mountain biker, and while he bikes, I hike with our dogs. I’m also in the garden a lot. We’re both outdoors as much as we can be.
What do you keep in your studio to inspire you?
I have a lot of bird books, plant books, and treasures from nature’s bounty that I’ve picked up on walks.
What luxuries do you allow yourself?
I have a collection of very small chairs, and I do indulge myself with that. Also, when I go to a botanical garden plant sale, I never say, "No."
Who or what has influenced your art the most?
We’re most influenced by the natural world, so much of what we do is influenced by nature, but there are people we admire who are influences as well: Pino Signoretto, Brancusi, Andy Goldsworthy, James Turrell, and horticulturist Roger Raiche.
What’s next in your work?
I don’t know. There are always so many more ideas than we have time to accomplish that I don’t know what we’ll take a stab at next.
What do you love about what you do?
Michael loves starting with the raw materials of sand, soda, and lime, and turning that powder into a work of glass. It’s just a magical process. He really enjoys being involved in the entire process, from making the equipment, to preparing the raw materials, to making the artwork, to photographing it and presenting it. I really enjoy the focus and the intensity of the moment that is required to work with hot glass and the potential to make anything. It’s just a lot of fun to blow glass.
If you weren’t an artist, you’d be…
I’d have to be in somebody else’s body, because I can’t imagine any other way to live.
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