Tomo Sakai and Eric Cruze

cruze + sakai studio

"In our work, we are passionate about exploring the beauty of glass through experimentation and technique. Our goal is to combine a high level of traditional craftsmanship with a modern design sensibility—a fusion of materiality and simplicity."

One of the processes that has inspired Tomo Sakai and Eric Cruze is the creation of fused murrini and filigrana, Italian terms for glass canes that are handmade from the furnace. When these clear and colored glass canes are melted together in the kiln, the resulting fusing reveals the flow of material at high temperature, and forms a unique, three-dimensional surface. Not an image of nature, but an authentic organic object. In their public art projects, they are committed to exploring the genius loci, or spirit of place. They believe each project should be uniquely connected to its site, and they have completed several projects in different materials.

Sakai and Cruze use a broad range of techniques to create their work, using the different shops of the glass studio. They hand pull glass canes from the furnace in the hot shop, fuse and slump the glass pieces in kilns in the warm shop, and then grind and finish the work in the cold shop. There are many steps in the process, each requiring experience and skill. The process is a labor of love and determination. Other processes include casting and engraving glass. With cast glass, molds are placed in the kiln, charged with glass, and fired at high temperature. Extensive grinding and polishing in the cold shop is required to finish the cast pieces. For engraving, Sakai uses her 150-year-old Czech glass engraving machine to draw patterns and images on glass.

Eric Cruze studied architecture and worked as an architect for several years before discovering glassmaking. He studied with Curtiss Brock at the Appalachian Center for Crafts and Frantisek Janak at SUPSS in the Czech Republic. Tomo Sakai studied glass at Tama Art University in Tokyo, Japan, and then went to the Czech Republic for advanced training in glass engraving and coldworking.

Selected Exhibitions & Awards
Cast & Coldworked Exhibition, FOCI Minnesota Center for Glass Arts, Minneapolis, MN, USA, 2018
New Glass, Northeast, The Guilford Art Center, Guilford, CT, USA, 2020
New Glass Now, Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY, USA, 2019
New Glass / New England, Worcester Center for Crafts, Worcester, MA, USA, 2019
7th International Symposium of Engraved Glass Show, Kamenicky Senov Glass Museum, Kamenicky Senov, Czech Republic, 2017
Spring Garden - Public Art Installation, Becker College, Worcester, MA, USA, 2018
Hira - Public Art Installation, UMass Medical Center, Worcester, MA, USA, 2018
Spring Flora - Public Art Installation, Worcester State University, Worcester, MA, USA, 2014
New Glass Now, Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY, USA, 2019