Tell us about yourself!
My history with glass is an unusual one. I studied Painting and Art History while attending the Kansas City Art Institute. I was first introduced to kiln glass there during an elective course. I had a wonderful teacher who taught me the fundamentals of kiln fusing. There were limited facilities, space, and no real glass department to teach the ‘right’ way to work with the material. This challenged me to come at glass from the ‘outside,’ not bound by tradition, which has given me free rein to experiment. Wanting to further investigate the medium, I pursued my MFA in Glass at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia where I still reside as a working artist.
What draws you to the material you work with, and why have you chosen the processes that you use in your work?
In general, I aim to make the glass unrecognizable from its own materiality. I prefer for it to read as ice, sugar, honey, or even caviar. I enjoy the diversity of glass as a material. It can appear to be in action—growing or dying, melting or freezing. I can use it as a drawing material or as a way to build up mass as a sculpture.
What themes do you pursue in your work?
Recently, the main themes I address are fashion, adornment, and ornament. These themes all have vicious life cycles. Newness is simultaneously associated with demise and death. Though fashion and adornment are closely related to the body, ornament can expand to architecture and environment. I begin to blur the boundaries of body and object, different social classes, the beautiful and the repugnant, and the outside and the inside.
What is your dream project?
I would love to do a project or installation in a space like Catherine’s Palace outside St. Petersburg or Versailles in France. Responding to such opulence would be a challenge. It would be hard not to get lost within the decadence, but it is something I’ve always fantasized about.
If you weren't working in this field, what career would you choose?
I think I would still have to be making with my hands, but just with a different end goal. I really enjoy home design/decor. I’m a wannabe upholsterer. I like the idea of giving life to old pieces of furniture. I have a bad habit of ‘saving’ pieces from the side of the road or from thrift stores. I own so many chairs it’s getting absurd.
What's something about you that most people don't know?
A few years ago, Elle magazine asked me to make a glass headdress for Rihanna for the December cover, but it fell through. I guess that's the nature of fashion.
Why are you a member of GAS?
I became a member when I started grad school. It allowed for me to become more aware of the glass community that I was entering into. It has been valuable for me to see how other glass artists are pushing the material.
See more of Kate's work here