In the Studio with glass artist Ben Johnson
By Carolyn Martens
Glass artist Ben Johnson has exhibited his work in a number of prestigious venues across the country including the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Society for Contemporary Craft. He has also been distinguished as a Rising Star at the Museum of American Glass.
How would you describe your art?
“I use centuries-old Italian glass-blowing techniques to create contemporary decorative vessels. These techniques taught by Italian masters in the United States have heavily influenced the American Studio Glass Movement and have been passed down through various glass centers. This influence along with an interest in color and the optical qualities of glass are my inspirations.”
What is your process?
“I start with a chunk of glass color on the end of a solid rod. Then I gather clear glass over it until it is the size of a football. Once it is liquid hot, I attach another steel rod to the glass and stretch it to the diameter of a pencil. This stretched glass is cut up into smaller rods that are fused into a sheet to create the lines in the final piece. Using a blow pipe, I apply the sheet over the top of a glass bubble. The pattern is finished and the form is created.”
How did you get started?
“I was first introduced to Italian glass blowing in a Venetian-style glassblowing workshop at the Corning Museum of Glass in 2002. Two years later I traveled to Murano, Italy, to study at the Scuola del Vetro Abate Zanetti. These experiences have influenced the contemporary work I create today.”
How do you recommend displaying your work?
“With natural or controlled lighting, as light is the best way of showing the translucency of the material.”
Find his work at ArtSplash Gallery in the Arts District and at benjaminjohnsonglass.com.