A native of Minnesota, I first discovered an enthusiasm for glass while using traditional pottery glazes in high school. Attempting to achieve maximum metallics with raku firing, I experimented with the craze of the glaze and compatibility. In 1981, working in the St. Cloud State University hot glass shop, a second gather of glass found its way to the floor. In an instant, seeing the swiftly growing puddle, I decided to continue blowing a cup and to turn that pool on the floor into the foot of my first goblet. Glass fever rapidly took over.
In 1984, I began a two year apprenticeship with James Clarke in Boulder, Colorado. I returned home to attend the University of Minnesota and was in the studio daily, looking out over the Mississippi River, often enjoying midnight to 4am blow-times. I received a BFA in 1986 before heading back to Colorado to work in several area studios. In 1989, I moved to Washington, and became a part of the Artist”s Co-op of Whidbey Island, working with many inspirational people. I also taught pre-school, worked in social services, studied Reiki, and built my own glass studio. In 1998, I overloaded a U-Haul and brought it all back home to Minnesota. I opened Al’s Center Saloon in Center City in 2000 and welcomed a son in 2002. In 2005, I joined Foci – Minnesota Center for Glass Arts, in Minneapolis, as a studio artist, mentor, and instructor, doing demonstrations on and off site.
Appreciation and respect for the glass is my most significant influence. I’m exhilarated by the demands of the process and enjoy meeting the challenges of timing and intuition required. In the studio, it’s important to stay in the moment, open to the ever-present opportunity to defy gravity with only a few sheets of newspaper between my hand and the molten glass. While glass artists often work in teams, I prefer a solo practice as I design and create sculptural and functional work. Form is my first consideration; I focus on tactile surface textures that enhance reflections and interior views as I shape goblets, tumblers, vases, bowls, hats, drums, and fish, remaining open to whatever fun challenges come up.
Currently, I’m exploring more expansive, virtuoso forms to even further push the limits of my skill and experience. The Earthen series combines smoky colors for a petrified effect. Influenced by meditations on water, my Still Water pieces feature fluid edges and large flat, flowing blue surfaces that reference lakes and rivers, sharing elements with the Splash series that captures vertical cresting motion.
FIND AL’S WORK at
Al’s Center Saloon, Center City MN
(more about the neighborhood at chisagolakes.org)
FOCI – Minnesota Center for Glass Arts, Minneapolis MN
W2, The Grand Hand Gallery, St. Paul MN
Gustaf’s Galleries, Lindstrom MN
Austin ArtWorks, Austin MN
Al is a member of ArtReach St. Croix
- hand washing recommended, vinegar will remove water spots
- food and beverage safe, not microwave or oven safe