Brandi Clark, Executive Director
Brandi is a native of Texas where she attended Texas A&M University. She has dedicated most of her career to non-profit administration working for arts organizations including the Houston Symphony, Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen, Fifth Avenue Theater and the Pratt Fine Arts Center. Most recently, she was the executive director of the Cascadia Art Museum in Edmonds, Washington
Jenna Green, Operations + Program Manager
Jenna enjoys communicating with conference presenters, organizing conference sessions, and managing GAS programs such as the Work Exchange Program and the Member Exhibition Program. Jenna received a master’s degree in Museology from the University of Washington where she studied museum interpretation, education, and evaluation. She is excited to be working at an international organization and in her free time loves to travel, practice hot yoga, and drink coffee.
Kristen Wagstrom Ferguson, Development + Membership Manager
Kristen spends her time both in and out of the office building relationships with GAS members and donors. Kristen has a master’s degree in Art History from the University of North Texas, a background in museum education and over 12 years of non-profit experience working with both arts and social service organizations. Her free time is spent exploring the Pacific Northwest with her husband, Alex, and their dog, Maggie.
Lauren Bayer Echevarria, Communications + Social Media Manager
Lauren specializes in crafting compelling stories, engaging with diverse audiences, and bringing awareness to GAS and its world-class programming. Lauren brings with her a Master’s of Arts Management from Carnegie Mellon University and over 10 years of marketing and communications experience at non-profit organizations, including Living Computers: Museum + Labs, Chicago Sinfonietta, and the Tucson Museum of Art. Lauren spends her time outside of the office watching movies, playing with her two tuxedo cats, and making deliciously elaborate pie art.
Mae Quach, Communications Assistant
The Glass Art Society is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors.
The GAS Board is made up of a group of individuals representative of our membership base. Factors such as geography, medium, skill set, and current position in the glass community are used to ensure a balanced group.
Interested in joining the GAS Board or have someone you’d like to nominate?
The Glass Art Society is looking all over the world to fill seven seats on the Board of Directors at the end of this fiscal year (September 30, 2021).
Jessica Jane Julius is an artist, educator, collaborator and performer who creates glass installations, objects and imagery that examine how fear is infiltrating the ways in which we navigate the world and presents a look at the anxieties and complexities of our current “culture of fear.”
She is the co-founder of the artists’ collective and performance group, The Burnt Asphalt Family, who produces collaborative, participatory and edible works. Together they have performed at prestigious venues including the Corning Museum of Glass, the Chrysler Museum and Urban Glass. Her mixed media works have been exhibited at venues including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Museum of American Glass, New Jersey and MarketView Arts, Pennsylvania. She has been awarded a York Cultural Alliance grant and residencies at The Creative Glass Center of America in Millville, New Jersey and The Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington. Currently, Julius serves as the Department Head of glass at Tyler School of Art and Architecture and has a private studio in Philadelphia.
Natali Rodrigues is an Associate Professor (glass and drawing) at the Alberta College of Art and Design. She received her MA(VA) from the Australian National University in 2003, and BFA in 1999 from ACAD. She has an active practice investigating liminality, silence, and transformative experience. Her objects and drawings have been exhibited in North America, Europe, and Australia. Natali joined the Glass Art Society Board of Directors in March 2014 and became President in June 2017.
Nadania Idriss has a very wide breadth of experience that includes the historical study of glass in specific cultural context. She is making a considerable investment in acknowledging historical glass achievements alongside steps forward in contemporary glass. Berlin Glas e.V. is just one facet of her international involvement.
Worked at British Museum in London, the Institute du Monde Arab and as a professional consultant at UNESCO in Paris. Curator for “Glass! Handle with care! Fragile art 700-2010” at the Pergamon Museum, Berlin
MA in Islamic Art and Architecture from the University of Victoria, postgraduate at the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies.
Heather McElwee is the Executive Director of Pittsburgh Glass Center where she has worked since 2001, overseeing educational programming, exhibitions, fundraising and strategic direction for the organization. She has curated numerous shows in PGC’s Hodge Gallery including “Lifeforms”, “Pittsburgh Biennial” and “Turned On: Lighting Hooks Up with Sculpture”.
Heather obtained her BFA from The Center for Creative Studies under the direction of Herb Babcock. She earned her Masters degree in Arts Management at the H.J. Heinz School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University in 2007. She has studied at Pilchuck Glass School, Penland School of Crafts and the Corning Museum of Glass as well as being a glass instructor at the Pittsburgh Glass Center. Her own artwork is an investigation of the relationship of vessel to architecture, and has been shown in galleries across the country.
Heather has been interested in the artists’ role in creative place making since she moved to Pittsburgh in 2001. She has been a supporter of arts organizations across the city and has served as board president (2015 to 2017), of The Brew House Association whose mission is to provide artists with the support needed to foster invention, creation, & collaboration, & encourage the pursuit of artistic excellence.
Caitlin Vitalo is a contemporary sculptor and glass artist whose work investigates and reveals systems of power and privilege. She is currently the Education Coordinator at the Hunterdon Art Museum in Clinton, NJ.
Vitalo began her artistic career working with glass at the Worcester Center for Crafts in 2004. She graduated with a BFA in sculptural studies from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 2010 and an MFA from the Tyler School of Art and Architecture at Temple University in 2018. She has exhibited most recently at the Hillyer Art Space in Washington D.C. and Gallery One Artspace in Raleigh, NC. www.caitlinvitalo.com
Through 25 years of working in glassblowing, Benjamin Cobb has honed his mastery of glass, traveled across the globe, and worked with hundreds of artists. An east-coast transplant, Cobb holds a BFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology and has been a demonstrating artist at glass studios as far afield as Sweden, the Czech Republic, Italy, and France. He’s taught at Penland School of Crafts, Pilchuck Glass School, and many other glass programs in the US. He’s a recognizable leader and voice in the glass community and has contributed to the success of countless works of art.
In his own work, Cobb draws inspiration from the natural world, as well as the scientific process. His work has been exhibited at the Museum of Glass and the Museum of Northwest Art in LaConner, WA, and dozens of galleries across the country.
Benjamin joined the Glass Art Society Board of Directors in October 2019.
Bio coming soon!
Since 1996, Eric Goldschmidt has devoted his efforts to practicing and developing his work having learned while studying and assisting with many of the World’s most talented glass artists. These experiences have given him a vast array of techniques and inspirations from which to draw. He combines this wealth of knowledge with his own interests in the subtle energies of the natural world, delicate forms, and the capture of raw human emotions to
create original new works.
Eric held the position of Resident Flameworker at The Studio of The Corning Museum of Glass for 6 years. He then worked with Arribas Brothers Company where he designed, developed, and produced works at Walt Disney World. He returned to The Corning Museum of Glass in the spring of 2008, and as Supervisor of Properties of Glass Programs, he develops demonstrations that help to educate, inspire, and spread the word of the very fascinating glass World to hundreds of thousands of visitors per year.
Eric joined the Glass Art Society Board of Directors in October 2019.
Glen Hardymon (g glass) is a retired transactional attorney, long-time collector and now a flamework artist. He is a former trustee and board chair at Penland School of Crafts. He maintains his studio in his home on Lake Norman in NC.
Michael Hernandez’s work combines materiality and symbology to make commentary on nature and the human condition. Hernandez has been working in glass since 1996. His work employs glass in a range of approaches and media through sculpture, installation, and light-based works. He earned his BFA in Glass from Emporia State University (2003) and his MFA in Sculpture/Dimensional Studies from Alfred University (2010). Hernandez is currently Assistant Professor and Head of Glass at Palomar College in San Marcos, CA.
Karen Mahardy is a glass artist from Seattle, Washington who uses experimental kiln processes to create folded glass sculptures. Originally a glassblower and sculptor, Karen embarked on developing her unique process and work while working on her MFA in glass at Rochester Institute of Technology. Her work explores distilling the energy of a specific place, experience, or relationship down to its minimalist essence. She does this by using the language of geometry and architecture and focusing on the point where the work is in a state of becoming and contains action as if movement were frozen in time. Karen is also an experienced marketer, with over 25 years of experience in varying roles. She currently heads up Integrated Marketing Campaigns for Tableau, a technology company that makes breakthrough products that help people see and understand their data. Karen is currently leading campaigns to drive ticket sales for Tableau’s annual customer conference and lead generation for it’s embedded product and vertical lines of business in Healthcare, Financial Services, and Retail.
Karen joined the Glass Art Society Board of Directors in October 2019.
Award-winning artist, designer, craftsmen and educator, Lynn Everett Read has focused on glass working for more than two decades. Lynn’s early pursuit in watercolor paved the way to an interest in glass because of its transparency of color, optical intrigue, malleability and material versatility. His creative spirit and passion for glass has intensified since his first apprenticeship in a glassblowing studio while achieving a BFA in Sculpture from the Maryland Institute College of Art. His diverse artistic background ranging from painting, sculpture, woodworking and theatrical set-building continues to play an important role in Lynn’s inventive approach to glass working. He has earned a highly regarded reputation for distinctly creative work that employs a wealth of techniques. With work in public and privet collections as well as numerous periodicals his work has remained fresh and inspired by the process of discovery working with glass.
Vitreluxe Glass Works was founded by Lynn in 1999 with the desire to build an advanced glass studio with some unique alterations to allow for versatility and efficiency. The name Vitreluxe was derived from two words: vitreous, the brilliant luster of glass and deluxe, the mid-century benchmark of quality. Since the studio’s first spark ignited, Vitreluxe has grown into a maker’s mark of superior quality. Today the studio has implemented a system to melt glass with electricity that is generated from 100% renewable energy. Each piece is handmade in Portland, Oregon by Lynn and a dedicated team of artisans that take pride in the details and is signed with the Vitreluxe inscription. Lynn has reserved his namesake for one of a kind and limited edition pieces of functional and artistic works.
Lynn joined the Glass Art Society Board of Directors in June 2016.
Debra Ruzinsky is a glass artist, educator, and director of the Appalachian Center for Craft in Smithville, TN. Part of Tennessee Tech University, the Center teaches glass, metals, clay, wood, and fiber, embracing traditional skills and fresh perspectives in materials-based making.
Debra uses lost wax, mold-making, and casting processes to create sculptural glass works that explore opacity and translucence, delving into ideas about belief and identity. Her works have been exhibited and collected throughout the US and internationally.
Debra earned a BA in Design from UCLA and an MFA in Glass from RIT, and had a prior career as a designer and maker for film, commercials, and theme park environments.
Michael Saroka is COO of a company focused on fulfilling the vision of architects and builders and anticipating what’s coming next in the creative world of architectural decorative glass. At the forefront of the glass manufacturing industry, Michael heads a team at Goldray Glass delivering innovative solutions and creative product designs in glass manufacturing. In 1996, when Michael joined the family business begun by his parents, Goldray Glass was a local company in Calgary, Alberta with big ideas. Today, Michael helps lead more than 90 Goldray employees in this growing and diverse glass manufacturing business known for its innovative products and developmental expertise. As COO, Michael thinks of himself as the keeper of the company’s heartbeat, ensuring the culture, resources, training, manufacturing and software processes support the Goldray staff and customers. Sometimes known as the company ‘firefighter’ because of his strengths as a problem-solver, Michael is tenacious about chasing solutions when something appears to be unsolvable. It’s his greatest joy to seek out new glass technologies and processes that push the boundaries of what’s possible in glass manufacturing today. Leading a company full of bright minds, Michael’s daily responsibilities as COO include finding continual improvement in the company’s workflow, software systems, processes, and product development; discovering creative solutions for customers who want the best and latest in glass technology; and participating in the forward motion of the architectural community while collaborating with other leaders who are bringing unique glass solutions to the world stage.
Michael joined the Glass Art Society Board of Directors in October 2019.
Masahiro Nick Sasaki is a Japanese glass artist. He was born and lives in Nagoya. He studied glass art at Aichi University of Education and Toyama Institute of Glass Art. After working at Utatsuyama Crafts Workshop as studio coordinator for five years, he taught glass art at Osaka University of Arts and Nagoya University of Arts for five years. Currently, he is teaching at Aichi University of Education as an associate professor and has headed the glass program there since 2008. Sasaki has won a number of honors, including the award of Grand Prix’ from the Exhibition of Contemporary Glass Koganezaki 2009, a merit award from the International Exhibition of Glass Kanazawa 2010, and a merit award from the World Exhibition of Arts and Crafts Kanazawa ‘99. His work was featured in New Glass Review 30 and 31, and has been exhibited and collected nationally and internationally.
Sasaki joined the Glass Art Society Board of Directors in March 2014.
Demetra Theofanous has been internationally recognized for her woven glass nest and flora sculptures and is included in numerous private collections, as well as in the permanent collection of the Racine Art Museum. Notable awards include a GLANC Scholarship, a Juror’s Choice Award from renowned collector Dorothy Saxe, a Glasscraft Emerging Artist Award, a NICHE Award, a Juror’s Choice Award at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, and the Leigh Weimers Emerging Artist Grant. She has exhibited internationally, including at the Triennial of the Silicate Arts in Hungary, San Francisco Museum of Craft + Design, National Liberty Museum, Alexandria Museum of Art, and in the Crocker Art Museum’s prestigious Crocker-Kingsley Biennial. In 2017 she was an Artist in Residence at the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art, where she also had an exhibition of the work created during her residency period.
Demetra operates a private studio in San Francisco, CA where she continues to develop her signature work. She is also an educator, teaching extensively at top educational institutions such as Pratt Fine Arts Center, Pittsburgh Glass Center, and Bay Area Glass Institute. Demetra was a 2015 demonstrating artist at the Glass Art Society Conference, where she also served as a Conference Co-Chair, and is President of the Board, for the Glass Alliance of Northern California. All of Demetra’s pieces are one of a kind, produced solely by the artist, and created in limited number.
Co-Chair 2015 San Jose GAS Conference; educator at Pratt Fine Arts Center, Pittsburgh Glass Center, and Bay Area Glass Institute.
Lisa Zerkowitz has a Bachelor’s degree in Studio Art from the University of California, Santa Barbara, not far from her native Los Angeles. She received her Master’s degree in Art Education from the Rhode Island School of Design while simultaneously completing the undergraduate program in Glass. Lisa’s work is nature-inspired and combines the use of cast and blown glass, in addition to steel, ink, and bronze. Apart from her exhibition work, she collaborates on a line of studio glass with her husband Boyd Sugiki, under the name Two Tone Studios. They often travel together to teach glassblowing workshops.
Lisa joined the Glass Art Society Board of Directors in October 2019.
Paige Lizbeth Morris is a contemporary artist whose work is an ongoing exploration of despair and pleasure. She is interested in the fluidity of language and conversational deflection. She scrutinizes constructs regarding the public vs. private in an attempt to delicately expose personal vulnerabilities as an act of resistance. Morris has exhibited work domestically in New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Texas. She has taught at various institutions including Salem Community College and Tyler School of Art and is a glass fabricator for contemporary artist, Ebony G. Patterson. She holds a BFA in Glass from Tyler School of Art at Temple University (2012) and currently resides in Richmond, VA where she is an MFA Candidate in the Craft + Material Studies Program (Glass) at Virginia Commonwealth University.