Monday, May 14, 2012

SOFA New York Boasts small sales

SOFA, the show at the Armory last April 20--23, 2012. According to their newsletter among reported sales were the following: a major porcelain sculpture with celadon glaze by Sueharu Fukami for $120,000 from Floating World Gallery (Chicago); a  Steffan Dam glass installation at Heller Gallery,  New York for $60,000; an Iconic Libensky/Brychtova cast glass sculpture at Litvak Gallery , Tel Aviv  for $60,000; a Richard Jolley blown glass at Scott Jacobson Gallery ,  New York for $45,000;  Vivian Beer's Forth Bench for $28,000 and Philipp Aduatz's Melting Chair for $19,500, both at Wexler Gallery Philadelphia; a piece by Jun Kaneko called "dango"  for $25,000 Duane Reed Gallery, St. Louis, MO; a  Kent Townsend bubinga cabinet from Jane Sauer Gallery, Santa Fe, NM) for $23,000; and a Kurt Weiser painted porcelain vessel for $16,000 Ferrin Gallery, Pittsfield, MA, and finally a bamboo sculpture by Morigami Jin for $12,500 from the TAI Gallery, Santa Fe, NM.
The auditorium floor looked like this.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Blown Glass Lessons

Student works from the blown glass class at Nourot Studio in April 2013. Look at all the pieces they made!
Sign up now for our Spring classes. We can make up when we get six people registered so take a day and challenge yourself!
Six hours of instruction on a Saturday or if a weekday works better we schedule you then. Cost is $347.00 All the tools, colors and safety equipment provided. You come back the next day and learn how to finish and polish. All skill levels accommodated.
email us on gmail nourotglass
Call us at the studio for more information. 707-745-1463
Go to to see our visitors site. and for the artist site. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Next to the Fire

Jimi said: "C,mon let me stand next to your fire." At the Nourot Studio you can get as close as you dare to the molten glass. Blown Glass class was held last Saturday April 21, 2012 for five students. The results were rather good. Not everyone can take the heat, especially on the hottest Spring day of the year. We were too busy showing our students how to gather, shape and blow their unique glass creations to notice the raising temperatures. But when the last piece went into the oven we all headed home for a needed cool shower.
Here are some people learning to blow glass for the first time. Chuck from Petaluma, California had his wife buy him a lesson. He made a really nice set of paperweights and a blown vase as well. Lois who made a pierced paperweight, was taking her third class. Sisters Clo and Lisa worked together. Experienced slump glass artist Diane made a really nice blown form that needed little finishing the next day.
Lessons of blown glass making with the maestro last 5--6 hours. You will get to make 4 or 5 things. The class costs $325. and is scheduled when there are six students signed up. Nobody will go away without a real appreciation of the difficulty and beauty of the glass arts. No two pieces are ever exactly duplicated when blown by hand. That is what makes blowing glass so exciting and fun. You get to see the glass bend, twist and expand into shapes seen only in the mind of the glass maker. Why not try a lesson and challenge your creative side?

 Nourot Glass Studio has also done "corporate team building" for Genentech in Vacaville, California. Those 10 production workers were using a really different skill set at the glory hole than they usually did concocting laboratory mediums and drug bases. It was fun seeing people with a scientific background wonder about the nature of molten glass. Their day to day work involves mixing an exact formula of compounds, resulting in a pure and chemically correct mix.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


The recent presentation piece by Nourot from Chevron, Inc. to Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea was a gift. Their friends at our local Chevron plant came by and picked it out for them in January. From this picture we know they got it there (on their corporate jet, no less) in good shape, but sometime after this snapshot was taken they fumbled and broke the bowl. You can see that they set it down not centered on the base. Don't feel bad for them. We can replace it easily.
Sorry, but we don't recommend gluing the bowls down when they are this size. Maybe guys used to heavy industry should be gifted a block of crystal. We've got those, too.
No joke, actually once we sold a glass cinder block for an industry who was known for making these here in Northern California. Cement contractor art glass. Hey, why not?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dan Dailey Show in Massachusetts

Are you on the East Coast? Near Boston is the Brockton, Massachusetts Fuller Craft Museum. This last month an exhibit of the works of Dan Dailey began on February 18. Dan Dailey, those of you who have read our biography on our site will know was one of the founders of the Pilchuck Glass School in the early 1970's. Dan Dailey's works are influenced by industrial methods and forms. He often added metal bands and fitted other metallic gizmos to the surface of his pieces. In the exhibit at the Fuller Museum there will also be drawings and video.
The glass art exhibit will run through September 12, 2012 and admission and other info can be found on the Fuller Museum site. Hours are Friday through Sundays 10AM-5PM; Thursdays 10AM to 9PM.
It has just come to our attention that the Fuller Museum is posting on Twitter bits about "Dan Dailey: Working Method" under the hash tag #glassart. Gosh! We didn't know there was a hashtag for that. Maybe we should join the conversation, as they say.

Fuller Craft Museum
455 Oak Street
Brockton, MA 02301
T 508-588-6000
F 508-587-6191

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

30 or 40 or 50, I forget

Tom Philabaum is a glass artist in Tucson, Arizona. His studio has a long and interesting history. This month he is hosting a show celebrating the studio glass movement in America. He calls it 30, 40, 50 because his gallery is 30, most of the artists he's showing have been making their glass for 40 years and the studio glass movement itself began about 50 years ago.
His special guest artist and speaker is Henry Halem, who will speak on March 3rd at the nearby Tucson Museum of Art  about his role in the history of glass making in America. Knowing Henry he'll speak very little about himself and mostly about the artists he admires. When I googled Henry Halem to get his picture, it was everything else about glass but not him!
Henry Halem was the first president of the G.A.S. (Glass Artist's Society) and founded the glass program at Ohio State.
The Philabaum Glass Gallery is open weekdays and Saturdays. Check out the site at
You can reserve a seat at the glass making demo by calling the studio.
You can read about the show here.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Holiday Sales Lag Behind Retailer's Hopes

It's been a long three years since the economy went berserk. For retailer's it's meant a really bumpy ride to the bottom; or at the very least dozens of months of doldrums. It feels allot like being becalmed. Where did the people go?? Or when they do come in the door, why is it so hard to connect with their wallets? It seems they want the experience of shopping without the monetary consequence. I'll save that rant for another day. Now I looked up the results of the season on Tiffany's and on the site (where some great hand crafted works are showcased) and I see that the dreary sales we've experienced in our gallery are likewise being experienced by the "big guys" in our industry.

Luxury goods is our realm. Sounds kind of highfalutin' but that's the case. Nourot makes glass that is a luxury item. Unless you have been nurturing your contemporary art glass collection and funding it's acquisition regularly, you just are damned reluctant to splurge now on a new important work.
Any who, the Tiffany chain reports that the Holiday sales last month were weak. Even though 50% of Tiffany sales come from outside the USA, the outlook is "anemic" according to the web's Financial Times website. The Tiffany stock has recently fallen 10.5 percent to $59.94. To be honest, what does it say to give something from Tiffany's in the current economy? Hey, money is no object to me, I am a master of the universe. This year that sentiment was held in check. Forget you, Santa Baby.

Nowhere could I find a similar report on the exact outcome of the craft-business site But there is evidence that it's hurting, too, because they had a 50% off sale last June and ran another one early in 2012. Can't be a stock reduction, I don't think they stock items. They just get the vendors (artists) to promise to hold stock for drop shipment when the site makes a sale for them. The margin there has to be pretty small.
Come to think of it, is Tiffany stuff made in America? Likely it's assembled in America from foreign made components? Anybody who knows drop us a line and let us know.
Future prediction is this: anybody still in business in 2012 knows how to cut costs. And how to make a sale. Look for more great deals everywhere until the banking and housing markets stabilize. Can't say how long that'll be. Perhaps now is the right time to look for deals on the luxury market.
Information taken from and FinancialTimes'

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Etsy Top Seller 2011

From the file: Why I hate Etsy. Here is the item that their newsletter (I keep subscribed in vain hope that Etsy will have something to add to our American Made tradition)says is the most talked about, most shared item of 2011. Did it sell as well? You bet.
Doesn't it look like something made in 6th grade industrial arts class? Ok, maybe if I could examine the quality up close maybe it'd look nicely hand crafted. But the subject matter still remains sophomoric. I mean kinda teeny bopper, people. Is this what is meant by listening to your audience? Guess I should check out what sold best on the Tiffany site and The Guild's
You can't beat Etsy for a large selection. Today the jewelry query brought up 3,280,313 items for jewelry!!
Can you believe the prices on Etsy? $22.00? $35.00? Perhaps like us, you will quickly surmise that the operations that produce the hand mades are micro enterprises that don't cut the mustard, bring home the bacon or make for any fun money that keep one from selling the cow.

The success of the makers who sell on is in the buzz they generate, not the cash they generate. Will anyone ever go there to find items of lasting beauty and value that were made by professional artists? You let me know. I can hardly bear to look.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Trends in Hand Blown Glass

It's just a day away:2012. Today I'm pausing to note that the term "hand blown glass" finally has some meaning in America. When the Nourot Studio was formed years ago, the term was tagged onto anything that was hollow, almost. The actual hand blown part was faked. Sort of like the term "all natural" on a juice drink nowadays.
There just wasn't any real hand blown glass being made until the studio glass movement of the early 1970's in America. Steuben and Blenko did some, but mostly their glass was partly moulded. Maybe Blenko made some wholly hand blown vintage flask bottles and pitchers. And yes, the Wheaton New jersey works did make Early Colonial reproductions for the tourist trade. The point is there was no industry in hand blown glass then.
Today in late 2011, there is a really wide group of people making all kinds of blown works. You probably know that. But look at the ranking of the top ten cities.
Maybe it's time for a new contemporary glass gallery in each of these places.
Google trends tells us the top 10 cities that search for the term "hand blown glass" are:
San Diego
St Louis
Boston and...
San Francisco

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Custom Pieces Just in Time for Christmas

Glass blowers often say, "I can make that!" But will they? The client's imagined piece has to pass through the ears, eyes and hands of the glass artist. Technical and process issues intrude, but often times the result is more than OK. Here is a pattern request: make it clear at the top near the red edge so light passes through the rim. Done, done and done. You have to try it more than once, you see, it's like learning a new song. This lustre piece has green bits in it, too which makes it unique as well. Well done. Next? A small series of little commemorates for a Congressional office. Thanks guys for buying American made.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Show Opening in Benicia Tonight

Tonight at the Rellik Tavern/Coffee Shop/ Art Gallery/ Meeting Hall there is an event you may want to catch. Artist Sandra Summerfield Kozak will be showing her paintings and answering questions about her art.
Looking good, Sandra. You can read more abut this show on the Arts Benicia site HERE
The Rellik also has a facebook page
In case you don't know, the Rellik is a Uber Salon and the place to meet in our town. Kinda strange, I remember when we did not even have an espresso machine here. Yes, that was long ago. Our facebook page is here if you want to, check it out. Mostly full of ornaments and Holiday news this month. I promise more high brow stuff next month.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Most Unusual Christmas Tree Ever

What is wrong with this picture? Friends have hung their tree from the ceiling!! The ornaments show off better this way, they say. We think it's pretty wacky. The cat is the usual reason people try to get creative with tying down the Christmas tree. Now these people from Benicia, California have hung their tree sideways from wires so that the point f the tree hovers just above your head when you walk into the room. You can see the all red satin Nourot ornament just between the windows near the "bottom" of the tree! Probably would find allot of Tim Burton movies in their DVD cabinet!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Holiday Sale Days 2011

Today, Thursday December 1st we open for our Holiday Sale. We'll be celebrating 37 years in business through Sunday December 4th with demonstrations of glass making and refreshments in the gallery. A large selection of ornaments and smaller things this year awaits your shopping list. We'll be offering 20% off all in studio made pieces.

Benicia artisans don't do a Holiday Open House; so it's rare to have Open Studios in December. Bring your out of town friends to see the glass blowers show how it's made here along the historic waterfront in Benicia, California. The Bay Area's glass makers to the Pope and US Presidents will also be giving glass blowing classes. You can register for a one day workshop December 17th on the Walnut Creek Civic Arts website:

Hand blown tree ornaments like these will be displayed along with unique works by Micheal Nourot and Nick Nourot. Don't miss this opportunity to get up close to the 2,000 degree molten glass in the glass shop and see the guys turn hot glass into objects of beauty right before your eyes.

Benicia has many Holiday events like the Friday December 2nd evening walk on First Street. There will be singers and wine, food and Victorian costumed revelers. The City of Benicia has a Christmas parade on Saturday morning.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Anti-accuracy is Us

Today we were solicited by a company wanting to know if we might like to try their 3D scanner so that we could make our products exactly alike. It's pesky isn't it when things don't "fit"? They are obviously overstocked on their fancy 3D scanners if they are asking us to buy one!
At the Nourot Glass Studio we have tried always to avoid repetition, exactitude and regulation of all kinds.
This fancy 3D scanner has important uses to serve like in the machining industry and medical products industries, for example, let's hope it does not infiltrate into the studio artist arena.
Here is what they say the scanner can do: "The Steinbichler 3D scanner has important uses to serve you. It can provide data for you in less than an hour, for most parts. You can then directly compare to your 3D CAD design ( In case you don't know Computer Aided Design--CAD is how plans are drawn in the 21C) to see where the problems lie. The attached tech sheet (756 pages no doubt) illustrates how this process was used to identify problems with an automotive trim die."
Perhaps it would have an application in art jewelry where it is cast and you want to avoid undercuts in the mold....
Anyway take me OFF your list please Mr. Steinbichler! We love, love,love being inexact and letting the glass be what it is. It is sometimes weirdly unpredictable and fascinating in it;s many varied temperatures, viscositys and strengths. Bring on a world of unlike objects! Preserve our individuality somewhere, please. Oh, and buy American Made. Thanks for reading.

People picture credit:
Four non-set of goblets from the early days of Nourot now in the vault collection.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Hot Glass at the SOFA Chicago Art Show

Last important show of the fall for contemporary craft works is the Chicago SOFA at the Navy Pier's Festival Hall.
The opening is tonight Thursday November 3 from 7 to 9PM. Preview tickets are available in advance from

Artist list here: or at the door.
Litvak Gallery (Tel Aviv) returns with another stellar booth installation, featuring Peter Bremers, Dale Chihuly, Vaclav Ciglar, Bohumil Elias, Bohumil Elias; Jr., Stepan Pala, Zora Palova;, Julius Weiland and more!Other top glass artists represented at the fair include: Howard Ben Tré(Habatat Galleries, Royal Oak, MI); Philip Baldwin and Monica Guggisberg (David Richard Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM); José Chardiet (Thomas R. Riley Galleries, Cle
veland, OH); Richard Jolley (Scott Jacobson Gallery, New York & Berengo Studio 1989, Murano & Venice); John Kiley (Traver Gallery, Seattle); Vladimira Kumplar (Heller Gallery, New York); Latchezar Boyadjiev (PISMO Gallery, Denver, CO); Silvia Levenson(Bullseye Gallery, Portland, OR); Libensky/Brychtova (Habatat Galleries, West Palm Beach, FL); Richard Marquis (Elliott Arts West, Santa Fe, NM); William Morris and Yoichi Ohira (Barry Friedman Ltd); Ginny Ruffner (Maurine Littleton Gallery, Washington, DC); Paul Stankard (Jane Sauer Gallery, Santa Fe, NM);Preston Singletary and Dante Marioni (a new collaboration! at Blue Rain Gallery, Santa Fe, NM); Lino Tagl
iapietra-with a booksigning! (Schantz Galleries, Stockbridge, MA); and Bertil Vallien (Hawk Galleries, Columbus, OH). Stankard and Vallien will speak in the Lecture Series. Don't miss the panel discussion Who Made This?

The Corning Museum of Glass Hot Glass Roadshow's live demonstrations
by SOFA-represented artists and Corning master glassblo
wers; or new! creation of a glass mosaic by The Society of American Mosaic Artists (SAMA). Here Richard Jolley blows some glass using the Corning Museum of Glass' mobile roadshow.
Picture credit SOFA website: wood seat by Wendell Castle, who was the instructor at RIT when I was there at the School for American Craftsmen.