In learning about art all across America, I have had the most wonderful conversations with Artful Home artists. The influences on their work are widespread, from nature to nurture, culture to isolation.
I begin the journey in my own backyard, the San Francisco Bay Area. It is to this area that I first migrated in the early 70’s, initially because of the openness to creative thinking and living. When I entered the California College of the Arts (and Crafts, as it was then known, now CCA) I was introduced to an extraordinary group of Bay Area artists, whose influence continues today. Marvin Lipofsky, Viola Frey, Jack Mendenhall, Trude Guermonprez, Michael McClure, Lillian Elliot and Nance O’Banion were among the leaders in their fields. Between the energy at CCA, the Bay Area Figurative Art movement at the San Francisco Art Institute and at UC Berkeley, and the new craft revivals at Cal led by Peter Voulkos and Ed Rossbach, the area was teeming with energy.
Today, one of the liveliest extensions of this energy is found in studio glass in the SF Bay area, and a number of noted artists work and live here. A major contributing factor to the support of art glass in the Bay Area includes the strong glass program at CCA in Oakland, headed by Marvin Lipofsky, a father of the studio glass movement, 20 years. This program has acted as a draw to glass artists from all over the country who came to adopt the Bay Area as their own.
Evidence of the attention to glass is one of the few well-equipped public access studios in the nation is in SF, called Public Glass. It offers classes in all manner of working with glass and makes it easy for locals to take a class and rent studio time to create. Monthly they hold an event called “Hot Glass, Cold Beer”, which invites the public in to view work, view the process, and support this unique public studio.
The diversity in Bay Area art glass is well represented by Artful Home artists.