This weekend I had the opportunity to visit an old friend and fellow artist, Steve Hagan. He was exhibiting his hand-blown glass works at the Philadelphia Buyers Market of American Craft, a wholesale trade show for fine American-made crafts. The show sprawled across an entire floor of the Philadelphia Convention Center and was filled with beautiful jewelry, fashion, ceramics, glass and more. This year there were 160 new artists exhibiting their work – brave souls ready to begin or expand their small creative businesses – including Steve, whose work is truly exceptional.
I met Steve in the hot shop at Temple University’s Tyler School of Fine Art during a summer workshop in 1999. I was home for the summer and weaseled my way into the class to experiment with a process that was completely foreign and fascinating. I quickly realized that I’d never have the coordination, strength, or patience for the media, though I am still mezmerized by it. Steve, on the other hand, was a natural born glass blower – he was “bitten by the bug,” as he likes to say, early in his career and has never looked back. His skill and dedication to the craft are truly amazing.
We became fast friends, and I soon realized that Steve loves food just as much (maybe more) than glass. Making functional vessels with beauty that equals the food they contain is a no-brainer for him. There is such an elegance in the marriage of his passions.
It’s no surprise that his most recent projects make the hot shop into a garden where the most luscious, if inedible, fruits and vegetables are created.
I’m also crazy over his little glass fortune cookies:
And, his pint glasses made to look like they’re already filled with Guinness, Black & Tan, and Amber ales:
The craftsmanship and clarity of content in Steve’s work is a testament to the kind of skill that comes from practice, focus, and true love. He makes it look so easy with the simplicy and clean lines in his forms. Having faced the molten material myself, I can attest to the fact that it most certainly is not.
To see more of Steve’s work visit his website here.