My fascination with glass started with a small glass knob on the steering wheel of a 1954 Chevy. It had a clear face with a green four leaf clover floating inside. I loved just looking at it. Later in life my aunt Ada, a classical artist fed my artistic side with a book on soap carving, hence came my love of sculpture. A family friend made jewelry from stones he found and got me interested early. After a few years of art school, resulting in an certificate in fine arts, I set out to hone my skills as a glass artist.
In the winter of 2001 I heard of a beginners lampworking class at the Spokane Art School. Having never worked with scientific (Pyrex) glass and a torch before, I soon realized this was a medium I could work with in my home studio without the need of complex furnaces and specialized equipment. I took beginning instruction from William Hagy at Spokane Art School. I continued instruction under Christopher Chorvat at his studio.
Although this type of glass has disadvantages of scale and expense,it also has the advantage of the extreme optical clarity of the glass and the momentum of the studio glass movement, along with the creative alchemist's that are creating the vast and ever changing color palates in glass that we lampworkers use. I use clear glass rod of varying diameters and add color by melting color rods using a specialized torch with a flame of a propane and oxygen mix then manipulate the glass with carbon paddles, tweezers, jacks, shears and gravity. The borosilicate (pyrex) has a working temperature of 2,280 degrees.
My goal as an artist is to engage the viewer and evoke an emotional response. I love the process of creating art objects from the primal ingredents of silica, boron, copper, gold, silver, and rare earth minerals. Through the use of propane and oxygen, I hope to create objects as beautiful and durable as our earth from which the compositon of the glass began.
Ken is passionate about art in all of it's forms, visual, performance, conceptual, and music. He appreciates our abilities as humans to create objects, images and sounds that can only come from the depths of our minds. That makes no sense in the natural world, a free flowing torrent of imagination. He does his best work when he has no preconceived notions when beginning a project and flying by the seat of his pants. After all the formal training is over and his techniques have been honed and his discussions have ebbed, he arrives at that point where there is no more fear of failure and his mind is peaceful. This allows him to become a conduit for creativity to flow from mind to hand. That is the place he is most comfortable. It is like mastering a musical instrument. Once you have learned to read notes and have some mastery of your instrument is when you are free to explore and express.
Like life, it is the sum of each person's experience that allows everyone's difference to be uniquely exhibited. And for Ken, that is exactly what makes art so important. It is so uniquely human with a language which is at the same time personal yet universal, both current and historical. He feels that what he makes today will become artifacts. These glass artifacts are an account of his existence in time frozen within the matrix of this material. His creations will far outlast him.
Nature, science and the human condition both past, present and future is where Ken finds inspiration. The ocean and all the mysteries found there intrigue him as well as our universe. He views all media of our underground, underwater, and outer space experience. There is no limit to the bizarre images and theories concerning the Earth and beyond. Hubble telescope photo's that he can't wrap his mind around are a constant source of amazement.
Ken's wife, Carole, has always been his biggest support. Carole always encourages him to spend all the time he needs working with glass and helps him in countless ways. Before they married she asked him what his hopes and aspirations were. He told her that he wanted to have a good background in art followed by becoming a glass blower. He was able to accomplish both through education and hard work.
It is Ken's intent to create a sense of wonderment in whoever views his work. He intends to educate people about lampworking and how it differs from other types and ways of working with glass. He would like to make the best glasswork that he's capable of and that it will be cherished and handed down as heirlooms to future generations.