How did I become a maker? As a child my parents recognized my abilities. They provided tools and a workbench in the basement where I made all types of model airplanes and took things apart. Saturdays meant classes at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Summer camp was an immersion in arts and crafts. In middle school I took every industrial arts class available, and then went on to major in aeronautics at Cass Technical High School.
While attending Wayne State University in Detroit, I married the painter Sharron Loree. In 1964 our daughter Megan was born. In the midst of Detroit’s urban redevelopment, I became a scavenger of architectural artifacts. At our student housing apartment, I cast hydrocal reproductions of some unusual old wood carvings. These were the beginning of an exciting “cottage craft” business called Gargoyles. My reproductions were good and so were sales. After graduation in 1965, my young first family moved to Manhattan to make its fortune.
My first New York workspace was in the basement of our apartment building. Our son Julian was born on the night of the 1965 blackout. In 1967 Gargoyles opened as a walk-down store/workshop space on Sixth Avenue in Greenwich Village. It was a great time and place to be young and have a doorway to the world. Selling retail and wholesale, the business expanded and we began making mirrors with ornate frames and having glass objects mirrored.
Because of my fascination with curved mirrors, I rented a Tribeca basement loft that had been part of the White Street Glass Factory. Tons of abandoned glass were available for the taking, and in 1969 I started bending sheet glass in electric kilns to fabricate my own curved mirrors. The overcooked “mistakes” would later become the basis for the development of three-dimensional slumped-glass forms. A fortuitous experiment with nichrome wire gave me the compatible structural line over which glass could be formed. New techniques for manipulating flat glass were explored and developed.
In 1970, in the midst of cultural ferment, Gargoyles lost its lease, and was sold. I got divorced, and decided to be a sculptor. The next year I had my first one-person show of the new glass sculptures with Ivan Karp at Hundred Acres Gallery in Soho. Thus began ten years of life as a struggling artist doing every kind of job that came up – painting, carpentry, plumbing, and the unusual projects that New York businesses always need – to earn the money to live, support my children, and buy time in my studio.
Washington, DC Craft Show - Collector's Award, 2007
Who's Who in America, 2005
Felissimo Design Award - "Diamond Bowl", 1996
Glass Benders Hall of Fame, 1995
New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, 1988
National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, 1984-85
Museum of Modern Art - commission to create a collection
of glass vases
The New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority -
commission to create sixteen, 10 foot tall glass panels