Tell us about yourself!
I'm originally from the San Juan Islands in Washington state. When a friend moved to Maui after high school, I followed. I learned flameworking on the job at a small gift shop where I was placed in a window display making colorful animals for tourists.
What draws you to the material you work with?
Glass interests me on so many levels. I fell into it when I was 18 years old and it's been 20 years into it now! When my interests and hobbies outside of glass matured, my skill level in flameworking also matured to a point where I could incorporate those things into my design.
What themes do you pursue in your work?
I'm an amateur botanist and an all around "plant geek." I have a keen interest in Hawaiʻi's native species, which unfortunately make up 2/3 of the US endangered species list. I try to show their fragile beauty and glass can be the perfect material to represent these species.
What is your dream project?
My dream project would be something like how the [Leopold and Rudolf] Blaschka's were funded. A permanent income stream to make a body of work that lasts for ages that represents nature that could be lost. I just want people to see my work and know that these fragile species exist.
If you weren't working in this field, what career would you choose?
If I weren't a glass artist I would probably be working in conservation, helping to save native ecosystems.
What's something about you that most people don't know?
I don't think most people know my age or gender or that my work is made of borosilicate glass. Flameworking skews to a certain demographic and gender and people love to jump to conclusions. Making botanical sculpture, people get a different impression of who they will meet ahead of time. I'm happy to break that mold.
Why are you a member of GAS?
I'm a member of GAS because for the longest time I thought there was no community for glass artists... There is nothing better than going to the GAS conference and finding out that there are so many of us! When we get together better work is created!
Visit Jupiter Nielsen's GAS member profile here.