Inspired by the world’s great art glass houses, BJ Katz’s vision has been to create a studio artistic community where she and others would work together creating exceptional works of contemporary art glass that combine imagination, originality, artistic quality and technical proficiency in public and private commissioned artwork. Her studio, Meltdown Glass Art & Design, has grown over its twenty year history. From humble beginnings in Katz’s Arizona garage, Meltdown Glass is now housed in an 18,400 sq. ft. state-of-the-art cast glass studio in Tempe, AZ. The studio contains Italian glass-working machinery to help perfect the final artwork and glass moving equipment that enables Katz and her staff to work on a monumental scale while reducing risk of injury.
Katz gives credit to the eleven other talented and dedicated Meltdown Glass studio staff who she has trained in her technique and approach. Katz now works as Katz + Klein with her art partner, Chris Klein. Teamwork is her studio’s philosophy, following the tradition in art glass.
Katz’s work is in numerous private and public collections including the permanent collection of the Corning Museum of Glass. Large-scale public art glass installations is Katz’s forte—art glass integrated into architecture. Katz competes for public art commissions. Over 150 completed commissions can be viewed on her websites. Katz considers her Facets of Womanhood sculptural series her personal life work. Facets is autobiographical, addressing deeper issues about life, womanhood, and her emotional and spiritual place in the world. While healing and transcendence have long been elements in Katz's artwork, in Facets she personalized these subjects through the inclusion of text and silhouetted images of herself to share her own experiences and beliefs.
Katz writes articles on art glass for publication in the fields of art, healthcare, glass, architecture and design. Articles have been written about Katz and her studio, and she has been consulted as a respected expert in her field for many magazine articles including to name a few, US Glass, Glass Magazine, Architecture and Interior Design.
Katz has been honored to receive awards including the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) Southwest Regional Craftsmanship Award in 2000 for Feeling Fall, an 8’ H x 40’ W art glass wall commissioned by American Express Corporation; The Artist Career Advancement Grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts in 2005; Masters of the Southwest award by Phoenix Home & Garden magazine in 2006; Art Renaissance Initiative’s 2008 Arizona Artist of the Year and her studio won Glass magazine’s Crystal Achievement award several times, to name just a few. Katz is invited to lecture to artists, design professionals, glass professionals and students, to judge art and glass competitions and received other forms of professional recognition.
Katz has been featured nationally on TV. She was one of seven women featured on HGTV’s Modern Masters special, Women Artisans in 2002. In 2006 Katz was on HGTV’s I Want That. Also in 2006 Katz and Meltdown Glass were honored to be invited to participate in an episode of ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition hosted by Marlee Matlin. In the episode, textured art glass as part of water walls were used to create a tactile home environment for a family that included visually and hearing impaired members.
Katz is deeply appreciative of the many professional opportunities that have been given to her. She is equally grateful for the creative inspiration that flows through her. Katz enjoys the artistic environment and innovative sharing that takes place in her studio, Meltdown Glass. She also values its sense of community, excitement, purpose and pride of accomplishment. And she loves being part of an international community of artists. Katz’s attitude has always been, “Sky’s the limit!” web sites: www.meltdownglass.com and www.bjkatz.com. Katz joined the Glass Art Society Board of Directors in June 2012.
Galaxy Wall 12' H x 40' W, cast glass wtih dichroic. (Katz + Klein, 2010)
Board of Directors (2012–2013)