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Rik Allen: Reflecting on Futuristic Antiquity via Glass Spacecraft and Apparatus

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Release Date: 08/04/2023

Jonathan Capps’ Global Practice of Interdisciplinary Collaboration, Social Engagement, and Cultural Exchange show art Jonathan Capps’ Global Practice of Interdisciplinary Collaboration, Social Engagement, and Cultural Exchange

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

The inspiration for Jonathan Capp’s art comes from the experiences that shape his life. Whether hiking the Appalachian Trail, coaching Little League Baseball, becoming an archaeological illustrator halfway around the world, or competing on Blown Away, he channels those experiences into ideas and fully embraces life as a part of his art. Capps states: “I welcome new ideas and innovations in the studio, bringing fun, energy, and an inspiring enthusiasm into the hot shop.” Raised in Knoxville, TN, Capps spent much of his youth outdoors, camping, hiking, and playing baseball. After...

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David Graeber: Preserving Nature for Eternity in a Paperweight show art David Graeber: Preserving Nature for Eternity in a Paperweight

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Early in his career, Paul Stankard used to trade paperweights for gasoline and car servicing with John Graeber. In 1989, through his uncle John, David Graeber wound up casually visiting Stankard’s studio and weeks later was invited to come and work with him. Young Graeber started learning about glass in the deep end of the pool. Thirty-five  years later, he continues to work with Stankard about a day a week.  Having mastered numerous glassmaking techniques and having developed his own working style and visual aesthetic, in 2009 Graeber started his own art glass...

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Morgan Peterson: Winner of Blown Away 4 show art Morgan Peterson: Winner of Blown Away 4

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Said Blown Away Season 4 winner, Morgan Peterson, “I’m not just the creepy weirdo lurking in the background anymore. I’m right up front.” As champion of Netflix’s 2024 glassblowing competition series, the Seattle-based artist received a whopping cash prize of $100,000, a paid residency in Venice, Italy, with glass legend Adriano Berengo, and a residency at the world-renowned Corning Museum of Glass. Growing up in Boston, MA, Peterson’s watched horror films and Unsolved Mysteries with her Godmother, introducing her to the unnerving  and creepy style so associated with her...

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Clifford Rainey: A Life's Travelogue in Cast Glass show art Clifford Rainey: A Life's Travelogue in Cast Glass

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Principally a sculptor who employs cast glass and drawing as primary methodologies, Clifford Rainey creates work that is interdisciplinary, incorporating a wide spectrum of materials and processes. A passionate traveler, his work is full of references to the things he has seen and experienced. Celtic mythologies, classical Greek architecture, the blue of the Turkish Aegean, globalization and the iconic American Coca-Cola bottle, the red of the African earth, and the human figure combine with cultural diversity to provide sculptural imagery charged with emotion.  A British artist...

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The State of Stained Glass show art The State of Stained Glass

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Enjoy this stained glass panel discussion with top industry professionals and educators Judith Schaechter, Stephen Hartley, Megan McElfresh, and Amy Valuck. Topics addressed include: what is needed in stained glass education; how the massive number of Instagrammers making suncatchers and trinkets affect stained glass; how to promote stained glass in a gallery setting; and how to stay relevant as stained glass artists. The panelists: By single-handedly revolutionizing the craft of stained glass through her unique aesthetic and inventive approach to materials, Judith...

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Kazuki Takizawa Uses Glass Art to Address Mental Health Issues show art Kazuki Takizawa Uses Glass Art to Address Mental Health Issues

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Kazuki Takizawa’s 2015 installation entitled Breaking the Silence represents the artist’s interpretation of a person’s breaking point and the juxtaposition of balancing inner struggles with oppressive external forces. The installation incorporated performance aspects and sound, where slanted vessels filled with water until submitting to the liquid’s weight, falling over onto a table. Takizawa’s work provided a new perspective for interacting with glass, going beyond form and technique to provoke a deeper level of engagement. Impressed by how humble and open Takizawa was...

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Jessica Loughlin’s Kiln Formed Glass: An Homage to the Observation of Light show art Jessica Loughlin’s Kiln Formed Glass: An Homage to the Observation of Light

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Jessica Loughlin’s work is characterized by a strict reductive sensibility and restricted use of color. Fusing kiln formed sheets of opaque and translucent glass together in flat panels or in thin, geometric compositions and vessels, she alludes to shadow, reflection and refraction. Loughlin’s work is influenced by the flat landscapes and salt lakes of South Australia, and the recurring motif of the mirage appears in much of her work. Each piece makes its own poetic statement.  “My work investigates space, seeing distance and understanding how wide-open spaces, particularly of the...

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The Glass Galaxies of Josh Simpson show art The Glass Galaxies of Josh Simpson

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Apollo 8, which launched on December 21, 1968, was the first mission to take humans to the moon and back. While the crew did not land on the moon’s surface, the flight was an important prelude to a lunar landing, testing the flight trajectory and operations getting there and back. Capt. James A Lovell, Apollo 8 astronaut, shared his memories of that historic mission: “Then, looking up I saw it, the Earth, a blue and white ball, just above the lunar horizon, 240,000 miles away…I put my thumb up to the window and completely hid the Earth. Just think, over five billion people,...

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Wesley Fleming: Flameworking the Realism of the Microcosmos show art Wesley Fleming: Flameworking the Realism of the Microcosmos

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Wesley Fleming brings the fantastic realism of the microcosmos to life in glass. An ambassador for smaller denizens of the earth, his passion for nature sparks awe and curiosity in others. Growing up in the countryside, his favorite pastime was exploring beneath logs and rocks in the woods or reading science fiction and comic books. Hence the natural world and his own imagination became his muse. Says Fleming: “I hope to rekindle awe and curiosity for nature with my fantastic realism. I’ve focused more than two decades honing my flameworking skills and trying to capture the essence of...

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Robin and Julia Rogers: A Collaboration Resulting in Provocative Glass Sculpture show art Robin and Julia Rogers: A Collaboration Resulting in Provocative Glass Sculpture

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Physically and metaphorically Robin and Julia Rogers put their minds, hearts and hands together to create sculptural works in glass – their chosen material because of its inherent qualities of luminosity, viscosity, and seductive flow. Their inspiration is drawn from the natural world, personal experience, family life, music, psychology, and science. Robin and Julia state: “Complex and mystifying, the human mind drives us, but the subtle inner workings remain, to certain extent, unknown. Delving into the psyche, our work explores the human mind to reveal a metaphorical interior of...

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Art and technology share a symbiotic grace in the glass spacecraft, rockets, and scientific apparatus of Rik Allen. Most of his work is made primarily of glass and metal, which expresses a paradoxical symbiosis. The relationship between the rigid strength of metal with the inherent fragility of glass creates an alluring tension. While many of his pieces reference his curiosity about science, they also convey humor, simple narratives, and a lightheartedness that is embodied in much of science fiction’s antiquated vision of the future. The theme of “futuristic antiquity” reflects Allen’s interest in the literary fictional worlds of Jules Vern, H.G. Wells, Arthur C. Clark, and Isaac Asimov and their influence on the scientific community. His sculpture is also inspired by the accounts of early scientific pioneers of the 19 and 20th centuries, such as Nicola Tesla, Robert Goddard, Wernher von Braun, and other great scientific minds.

Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Allen earned a BA in Anthropology from Franklin Pierce University, New Hampshire. His earliest and formative glass studio experiences and education came as a studio assistant in Providence, working with a number of wonderful artists to include Daniel Clayman, James Watkins, and Michael Scheiner. Allen relocated to Washington in 1994, where he joined the William Morris team at the Pilchuck Glass School for 13 years, specializing in engraving, cutting, and finishing glass sculpture.

Allen has had numerous solo exhibitions of his sculptures throughout the country, including at the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame, the Museum of Northwest Art, Traver Gallery, Blue Rain Gallery, Schantz Gallery, and Duncan McClellan Gallery. His sculptures have been acquired for a number of public and private collections, including Glass Museum in Tacoma, Imagine Museum, Toyoma Institute of Glass, Blue Origin, Boeing, Amazon and SpaceX. In 2016, his work appeared in a feature cover story published by American Craft magazine and in 2018, he was awarded “Grand Artist of the future” by Imagine Museum.

In 2005, Allen established a glass and sculpture studio with his wife, artist Shelley Muzylowski Allen at their property in Skagit County, Washington. In addition to being artists, the couple has taught internationally at the Toyama Institute of Glass in Toyama, Japan, and the International Glass Festival in Stourbridge, England. They have also taught nationally, including the Penland School of Craft, Pittsburgh Glass Center, and at Pilchuck Glass School.

A lifelong Star Trek devotee – whose earliest memories of creation involved making scotch tape and cardboard phasers and communicators – Allen was contacted by Eugene (Rod) Roddenberry, son of Star Trekcreator Gene Roddenberry and current spokesman for Trekkies everywhere. Intrigued by Allen’s work after seeing a piece one of his friends owned, Roddenberry commissioned a sculpture of the original series’ Starship Enterprise. The sculpture was to reflect the basic design of the original Enterprise, but also incorporate Allen’s personality into a sculpture that was of his own original design and overall interpretation.

Allen, in collaboration with wife Shelley, has created and will install two large public sculptures, Sticken (the Orchard Octopus) in September, and Heronious One in November in Bellevue, Washington. He will have an exhibition of new work in spring 2024 at Blue Rain Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and will collaborate with Dave Walters this fall.