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Joshua Opdenaker aka JOP!

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Release Date: 10/01/2021

Sonja Blomdahl: Queen of Symmetry show art Sonja Blomdahl: Queen of Symmetry

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Strong. Calm. Serene. So are the vessels of Sonja Blomdahl. In an industrial neighborhood near Seattle’s Lake Union, the artist turned loose her vivid colors into the unsuspecting gray of her spacious cinderblock and cement studio. If a Scandinavian flavor is detected in the hue of her celestial orbs, it is by chance as she credits rainy Seattle as her primary inspiration.

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Elbo: Redefining Pipes as Art show art Elbo: Redefining Pipes as Art

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Indisputably one of the most renowned artists in the industry today, Elbo is co-owner of Everdream Studio in Evergreen, Colorado, where he works alongside a number of top industry artists. The artist made a name for himself in the pipe world via his dinosaur motif and diverse portfolio of original design work.

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Nancy Gong: Marrying Science, Technology and Art show art Nancy Gong: Marrying Science, Technology and Art

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

An accomplished glass artist with world-wide recognition in contemporary architectural glass art, Nancy Gong’s focus is on large and small commissioned work including installations, fine art designs, sculpture, donor walls, gifts and awards. Her designs embrace traditional techniques of stained glass craftsmen and stone carvers, combined with new materials, fusing, laminating and other new and emerging technologies.

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Peter Bremers: Transformation and Transcendence show art Peter Bremers: Transformation and Transcendence

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Creator. Healer. Traveler. Dutch-born artist, Peter Bremers, is renowned for his glass sculptures inspired by nature’s most extreme landscapes and the transformational journeys he has taken around the world. Deeply touched by the majesty of nature, Bremers conveys his awe and gratitude through his sculpture while using his travels as an inexhaustible source of inspiration.

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Between Us: John Littleton and Kate Vogel’s Contributions to Glass show art Between Us: John Littleton and Kate Vogel’s Contributions to Glass

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Well-known early on for their signature blown glass Bags, the subsequent cast glass work of John Littleton and Kate Vogel provided a new outlet for complex contemplations, questions and reflections. In this dramatic departure from their lighthearted Bags, faces and hands are used in various poses and combinations to explore states of mind, relationships, and even spiritual themes.

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Robin Grebe show art Robin Grebe

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Inspired by Cycladic fertility icons, early Byzantine paintings, and folk art, Robin Grebe’s figures serve as a canvas or setting for her narratives. Using birds and plants as metaphors for mythic flight, spirituality, the intangible, and nature’s uncontrollable forces, Grebe transforms her personal search into a shared exploration.

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Joshua Opdenaker aka JOP! show art Joshua Opdenaker aka JOP!

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

The first in Philly’s Fishtown area to make a name for himself in the field, today there are at least five glass studios and 18 glassblowers on Opdenaker’s street alone. From group builds such as those of the Molten Art Classic to individual skill-building works such as goblets, JOP! glass’ pioneering spirit continues evolving with the scene.

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Sylvia Nicolas show art Sylvia Nicolas

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

One of the leading ecclesiastical artists in the United States, Sylvia Nicolas is a member of an illustrious and prolific stained glass family. She is the fourth of five generations specializing in the liturgical arts and the daughter of Joep and Suzanne Nicolas, both famous artists who immigrated from the Netherlands to the U.S. in 1939 to escape the rising tide of Nazism. Joep Nicolas was sometimes referred to as “the Father of Modern Stained Glass.”

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Crista Van Slyck-Matteson show art Crista Van Slyck-Matteson

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Crista Van Slyck-Matteson’s multi-media art speaks of her love for wild spaces and deep connection to the Pacific Northwest. An accomplished sculptor, she allows her finely-honed intuition to guide spontaneous sculpting of natural world observations. Matteson’s work also utilizes technical mold-making skills to create exact replicas of found botanical forms. She combines these skills to create magical-realist sculptures.

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Jason McDonald: Investigating Identity, Racism and Representation show art Jason McDonald: Investigating Identity, Racism and Representation

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

In his current work, glassblower Jason McDonald tells important stories about social inequality through his intentionally made, well-crafted objects. His successful interweaving of those two trajectories continues to evolve through life-changing experiences such as his participation on the popular Netflix competition series Blown Away 2 and his recent week-long Murano, Italy, study with Maestro Davide Fuin as the recipient of the Windgate-Lamar Fellowship.

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Ranging from the absurd to the edgy and aggressive, Joshua Opdenaker’s glass reflects his never-ending struggle for perfection in theory and execution. His art is not expressed solely through the finished piece, but rather the physical dance of creating it. Innovative techniques and concepts inspire contemplation via ever-changing themes, making JOP! glass impossible to classify and leaving it in a class of its own. 

Born in Philadelphia, Opdenaker graduated from the University of the Arts with a BFA focus on stone carving in 2002. After years of carving stone, he began lampworking borosilicate glass in 2001 on the recommendation of his friend JAG. Flameworking became his technique of choice for sculpting, and the artist turned his focus to making glass pipes. While still an outlaw art form, the methods and creation were kept secret and not often spoken about in public places. Thus, he took on the moniker “JOP!” derived from an arrangement of his full name. In 2003, Opdenaker teamed up with Philadelphia Glass Works and became their permanent resident artist. 

After establishing his studio in Philly’s Fishtown, JOP! joined forces with Elbo in 2014 to open Front Street Gallery in Kensington, Philadelphia. The gallery endeavored to bring the city’s most influential, beloved glass artists into the limelight allowing fans and collectors to admire and purchase their newest work. It was essentially a who’s-who of modern flameworking, featuring Philly artists like Zach PuchowitzSnic BarnesMarble Slinger (of Degenerate Art fame), Just Another Glassblower, and more. Front Street Gallery helped put Philadelphia on the map as a destination for the ever-growing glassblowing movement. 

Invited to judge the 2019 European Flame Off in London, Opdenaker has exhibited his own pipes around the world, often blurring the line between pipes and sculpture. In 2008, represented by Silica Gallery, JOP glass was exhibited at SOFA, The Sculpture Objects Functional Art and Design fair.He creates in a broad range of styles to include his highly recognizable chicken rigs, medical series, giant cassette tapes, and his piece de resistance – The Baby Mecha Ganesh – a three-foot-tall, smokable baby with six arms. 

Opdenaker states: “If nothing else, view my work as original. Technique and craft can be learned, originality cannot. You either have it, or you do not.” 

The first in Philly’s Fishtown area to make a name for himself in the field, today there are at least five glass studios and 18 glassblowers on Opdenaker’s street alone. From group builds such as those of the Molten Art Classic to individual skill-building works such as goblets, JOP! glass’ pioneering spirit continues evolving with the scene.