About Chris ~ Bio ~ glassblowing in Vermont
Chris Sherwin, Vermont glassblower
About the Artist
More About Chris
Where it all begins
Born and raised in Vermont, Glass has been an integral part of my life for more than 27 years; I’ve been a Vermont glassblower for 20 of those years. In addition to glassblowing, I’ve also enjoyed exploring a variety of media and materials, such as music, ceramics, drawing, painting, and woodturning/wood burning. I first encountered glassblowing in 1991, as an “elective” during my senior year at Southern Connecticut State University, in New Haven, CT, while earning a B.S. in Liberal Studies, with a concentration in Special Education. After two years of working in Maryland as a residential house counselor & direct-care worker for individuals with Developmental Disabilities, I returned to my home state of Vermont to begin my ‘lifepath’ as a glassblower.
In 1993, I hired on as an apprentice with Simon Pearce, Inc., a prestigious glass facility in Windsor & Quechee, VT, renown for their high-quality production of functional crystal. I became a journeyman glassblower and team leader, and my particular concentration was in stemware and handled pieces (pitchers, Irish coffee mugs, and tankards—see first pic above on LEFT!!) as well as various bowls and vases.
Off to the West Coast
In 1997, my fiancé and I moved to Chico, California, where she pursued her BA/Masters degrees in Speech Pathology and I worked as a glassblower at Orient & Flume Art Glass, an internationally-renowned glass studio, known for their iridescent vases, intricate paperweights, and torchwork designs. For the next seven years, I watched and learned from some of the “masters of the trade,” experimenting with new colors and techniques, developing and refining my own skills, and specializing in iridescent and torchwork design. I sold many solo and collaboratively-designed pieces on the “O & F” production line, and had my own successful retail section in the Orient & Flume showroom. Middle Pic Above is finishing a Vase in 2000.
Back to Vermont
In 2004, after our respective educations, wonderful adventures and life experiences, we returned home to New England to raise our daughter in the same close-knit community setting we grew up in, closer to both our families. For the next year I worked to set up my glass studio, and in August 2005, Sherwin Art Glass was officially recognized by the State of Vermont as a business, complete with a scenic location overlooking the Connecticut River in Bellows Falls, VT. My studio runs with environmental concerns in mind; my furnace and all equipment (except my torch) runs off the hydro-power generated by the dam here in Bellows Falls, about 100 yards from the studio. It feels good to be “green glassblowing” in the Green Mountain State, working in a medium that generally uses a lot of fossil fuels! Reduce - Reuse - Recycle!
Living & Loving Life
Our wonderful daughter is off to Graduate School now, pursuing her M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology…..I live about a mile from the studio with my wife, Cheryl, a Speech-Language Pathologist in the WNESU School District, and several furry, four-legged friends. When not blowing glass, I enjoy many outdoor sports and activities (especially disc golf, kayaking/fishing, hiking & tennis), playing guitar, Brewing Beer—7Balls Brewing—now onsite at the 33 Bridge Street Studio/Gallery, and spending quality time with my family and friends…. It’s a Good Life! :^) Peace, Chris
“…The Beauty of Nature in Glass…”
“I work in the medium of glass and specialize in torchwork design and application. Using hand-pulled canes of glass made specifically for each design, and a hand-held oxy-propane torch, I melt and shape the tips of the glass canes and apply them to the glass form being created, to achieve the desired design. It is best described as ‘Painting with Glass.’ After the decoration is complete, all of my work is hand shaped with wet newspaper. I like to get as close to the glass as possible and using newspaper allows me to feel how the glass is moving with my hand. Some of the pieces are formed into paperweights, others blown into various vessels. Design ideas come from the beauty I find in Nature, as well as from family, friends, and studio visitors. When designing a piece, I try to allow the decoration or floral pattern dictate the form of the piece so as to provide harmony between the two. The torchwork process is intensive; all of my work is done ‘on the pipe’ and once started, a piece demands concentration and attention to detail and form through to the end. Almost all of my work incorporates some aspect of the torchwork process. The pieces vary in length of time to create, from ten minutes to almost three hours.
After spending almost twelve years at two renowned glass studios, with unique, but very different styles of glassblowing, I returned home to New England and started Sherwin Art Glass to allow my own style and creativity to flourish. Having a wonderful, supportive and loving network of family and friends in my life allows me to focus on this exciting stage in my career. My goal is to bring the creative and technical aspects of torchwork design and application together with the freedom and elegance of hand-shaped forms to create harmonious, high quality, collectible pieces of glass art.”
Art in Bellows Falls provides a platform for creatives of the Great Falls region of VT and NH, sharing ideas and strategies to promote economic sustainability among its constituents, as well as educating the general public and demonstrating the significant role that creatives play in the regional economy.
American Crafts Council: Member
Bellows Falls Downtown Development Alliance: Member
Glass Art Society: Member since 2010
Greater Falls Regional Chamber of Commerce: Member and former Executive Board Member, Secretary 2011
League of New Hampshire Craftsmen: State-juried Member, Sunapee Craft Fair Participant and Booth Holder
New England Paperweight Collectors Association: Member, Board Member, Artist, past Guest Speaker
Paperweight Collector’s Association: —Member, Artist/Dealer
Vermont Crafts Council: Member, Open Studio Weekend Tour Participant
Vermont Glass Guild: Member, Board Member ~ Treasurer, past President, Founding Member; created 2010
Vermont State Craft Center, at Frog Hollow: State-juried Member
Walpole Artisans, Inc: Member, Board Member: Secretary ~ past President, Jury Committee, Walpole Artisan Tour and Cooperative Gallery Participant!