This Article appeared in the Fall 2005 issue of "Arts Letter", a publication of the Wisconsin Foundation For the Arts.

Volume 30, Number 2

Eau Claire Kilnformed Glass Artist

Is a Surgeon by Day

How the art work is created

            The 2005 Governor’s award recipients will each receive an intricate original glass sculpture from his “Axxcept” series. These are created using several techniques within the kiln, and several finishing techniques after the firing.  The work includes a design element called an “aperture pour”.

            An “aperture pour” is a thick, circular, multicolored sheet of glass, created in a kiln by melting glass in a crucible with a hole or “aperture” in the bottom which allows a stream of glass to flow out of the container onto the kiln shelf.  Steve often uses a clay flowerpot, modified by enlarging the hole.

            “I’ve learned to create many colorful patterns by varying how I place the colored glass in the pot, in order to achieve the color pattern I want,” the meticulous artist states.  “I’ve experimented with many, many different colors in creating these swirly, chaotic, and colorful glass designs.”

            Once cooled, the aperture pour designs are cut, shaped, polished and used to enhance his compositions. The pieces in the “Axxcept” series contain a central design element consisting of a latticework of many small, square, aperture pour pieces, but also include something unpredictable within the pattern. These design elements are assembled, fired and ground smooth as a separate process.

 The panels themselves are then created by building a three-dimensional assembly around the Axxcept design element, consisting of strips and sheets of various colors of glass. Each piece is subsequently fused together in another kiln firing at temperatures around 1500F. The edges of the finished panel are then ground smooth, and the surface of the panel is sandblasted and textured. It then returns to the kiln for a final firing to seal the finish.

 The artist’s statement

            “I use glass to invoke memories of beautiful things, places and emotions.  I often use photos as an inspiration, and try to transfer the colors, textures and mood of the photos into a glass creation. When people look at my work I want them to be at the edge of recognizing something beyond the glass itself; I want the glass to draw from them a memory of an emotion or feeling at a subliminal level.”

Recognition for outstanding work

            Steve’s work was featured this year in an article, and on the cover of,   Glass Craftsman magazine.  In addition to selection for a two-person show at the Eau Claire Regional Arts Center Gallery, Steve has entered pieces in juried art competitions over the years and many have been exhibited in prestigious shows:

·        “Rainforest” was accepted by the jury into the October 2004 Pilchuck Glass Auction, and “Autumn” was accepted for the 2005 Auction.

·        “Polaris” was selected as a finalist at the 2004 Bullseye Glass Company competition.  The same year “Bamboo Forest” was a finalist in the Wisconsin ArtsWest 25 competition.

·        In 2003 he was invited to display “The Twinkie Plate” in the “Legacy” exhibit at the Bullseye Connection Gallery in Portland, Oregon.  “Legacy” was an international exhibition of fifty works by artists and their students.  Steve is a student of Avery Anderson, of Veneta, Oregon.

·        The spring 2003 ArtsWest 24 exhibition included two of Steve’s pieces “Garden” and “Cobalt Triangle Bowl.”

·        “China Black” was a finalist in the ‘Functional’ category of the Bullseye competition in 2002.

Beautiful photographs (by the artist) highlight unique features of each piece in his on-line gallery.  Go to:

Following his passions

            Asked how he sees himself--as a physician or artist--he replies, “I’m a surgeon, and I particularly like the technical aspects of being a surgeon.  Taking care of patients is rewarding, but also stressful. Being able to come home at night and create art from glass helps me relax.  When I retire as a surgeon, I hope to continue as an artist.”