I began my career path in glass back in 2006 just before I began my studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. In the midst of earning both a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Bachelor of Science in Media Studies, I became interested in glass and decided to apply to the Pilchuck School of Glass outside of Seattle, WA to spend my summer (2008) exploring that interest and finding out where it might lead.
That summer, it became apparent that I needed to continue this pursuit. Though the University of Illinois had already phased out its Glass program, I was fortunate enough to make some important connections at Pilchuck and discover that I could continue my studies while simultaneously participating in the Glass program at Illinois State University, which was about an hour away from my own home at the University of Illinois. Thus began a patchwork of experiences that has since led to me taking 5 semesters of college courses, over a dozen intensive summer classes across Corning, Pilchuck and Penland, and working with/for countless glassblowers across over 15 different studios (and counting).
In this way, I believe that I created a patchwork of experience that is stronger than any one program because of the differing perspectives, experiences and instructions that it has allowed. I have not only learned a more diverse set of skills, each one from an instructor whose expertise it is, but also, alongside others whose expertise it is not, and could offer contrasting logics and highlight common pitfalls. I have also been given opportunities to collaborate with other students (some of whom are instructors or established artists in their own right) from different programs around the world and different media throughout the art realm.
In January of 2011, I moved to Australia to work and train at the JamFactory. For two years, I spent every day working with the material in some way. Through the design and realization of JamFactory products, studio commissions and my own production and exhibition practices, my skills improved dramatically in such a short time. Afterwards, I took a position as a studio technician at the Pittsburgh Glass Center which allowed me to continue growing those skills while learning a bit more about the equipment involved. In 2015, I moved to Texas, first working in Austin at East Side Glass Studio with Shara Funari and later moving up to Dallas to work for Carlyn Ray at Dallas Glass Art. Also that year, I took to the high seas to blow glass for the Corning Museum of Glass atop Celebrity Cruises’ Ships–adding to an already extensive adventure in my glass exploration.
Finally, in 2017, with enough traveling out of my system, I settled back in Austin, Texas to set up my own shop and get back to making my own work. With all of these tools and ideas at my disposal, I am still in a constant quest to hone my skills, find inspiration and realize my own, unique voice. I believe my experiences have prepared me to create a wonderful space for others to come and go and grow as I have but I plan to continue piecing together this patchwork of experiences, to never truly “settle” and I hope to never reach the end of this adventure.