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Jim & Renee Engebretson

"Our work is an exploration of fluidity and line, glassblowing and sandblasting, design and execution of design."

Much of Jim and Renee Engebretson's approach to glass has been shaped by the rich natural environment surrounding their home and studio in the lush St. Croix Valley of Western Wisconsin. Grass, trees, and their interaction with the elements of light, wind and water, inspire them to incorporate natural imagery into their work. Working together for over 25 years, the Engebretsons have developed a unique creative partnership in which each of them plays a distinct role. They use traditional glass blowing techniques combined with more contemporary processes to create their one-of-a-kind and limited production work.

Jim begins most pieces with a small piece of colored glass, which he covers with several layers of clear glass. He blows and shapes the glass into vessel form. When the piece is finished, it is a clear vessel with a thin layer of colored glass on the inside. Renee then hand cuts original designs out of a heavy-duty tape, placing each piece one at a time on the interior of the vessel. By sandblasting the vessel, the thin layer of color is removed from the unprotected areas, leaving the design in colored glass. Some pieces are masked on the outside as well as the inside, allowing the artists to carve away areas of glass and enhance the sense of visual motion.

Renee started in glass as a student at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, one of the country's oldest undergraduate glass programs. Jim studied first under Doug Johnson at UW-River Falls, then attended the Rhode Island School of Design where he studied with Dale Chihuly. Jim Engebretson became the director of the glass program at UW-River Falls from 1977-2010.

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  • Artwork
  • Artist Videos
  • Exhibitions & Awards
Selected Exhibitions & Awards
Wisconsin Arts Board Fellowship, 1996
Wisconsin Arts Board Individual Artist Grant, 1994
Collections
Northwest Airlines, Seattle-Tacoma Airport, Seattle, Washington
Goldstein Gallery, University of Minnesota, St. Paul Campus
Bank of New Richmond, New Richmond, WI
Bayer Corporation, West Haven, CT
Ridgewells, Bethesda, MD
Lend Lease Corporation, Atlanta, GA
Wild Rice Restaurant, Bayfield, WI
St. Paul Heart and Lung, St. Paul, MN