What's new with David Patchen Handblown Glass

What's happening:

New Series: Bloom

My work has historically been focused on color, pattern and detail with simple, elegant forms serving as 'canvases' for the compositions.  However, for a few years I've been exploring sculpture and one concept has evolved into a new body of work called Bloom

Early on I experimented with the theme of things hidden and revealed, and with Bloom I wanted to pursue a form that offers something unexpected and precious that rewards close inquiry.  Bloom is natural and organic, non-representational, curious and hard to place.  Since human brains are pattern matching machines ("oh, that looks like x"), I wanted Bloom to seem oddly familiar but without a single point of reference--rather leaving it to the viewer to consider what it could be, how it came about, what inspired it, what it communicates and what it could mean.  Bloom are all one-of-a-kind works that vary in color, texture, interior pattern and overall form, but they are all of one 'species.'  What are they and how do you think they evolved?

I've launched this series with a show at Stewart Fine Art in Boca Raton.

Interview in American Craft

I was recently interviewed by Monica Moses, the editor in chief of American Craft magazine.  Our conversation spanned the challenges of working in glass to the inspiration for Bloom, aesthetic vs. conceptual, sculpture vs. glass sculpture and more.  The interview is here: One Glass Artist's Evolving Style


Lots of shows recently!  I participated in a great show called "Distant Visions" with Childs Studio Arts and Duncan McClellan Gallery in St. Petersburg, FL last month that resulted in lots of red dots.  This month is a glass invitational at Marshall-LeKae Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ.  Last week was a show/lecture/demo as part of a fundraising event at Public Glass in San Francisco in conjunction with Gump's.  Also running is the
aforementioned Bloom show at Stewart Fine Art in Boca Raton.

Recent Commissions

I'm occasionally approached by designers, galleries or clients who are interested in work and may even have a space already selected but can't find the right piece for it. 

Recently was an especially fun challenge for a local designer with a Silicon Valley client.  They commissioned a Parabola-style piece 31" tall with very specific dimensions
, pattern and colors.  This piece turned out beautifully (and within <1/4" of spec in every dimension) and inspired me to make more of these large works.

New Representation

This winter I began working with
Desert Art Collection in Palm Desert, CA who now have a nice selection of work.  I'm seeking representation in Los Angeles and Chicago and prefer to work through personal recommendations.  Please contact me if you have recommendations for appropriate galleries.

Frequently Asked Questions:
  1. What do you have available?
    There are two ways to view available work:
    - Check out what galleries have by clicking through the various gallery links on my site.
    - Check out the "Available" photo albums I maintain online. This is where galleries and designers can review and select work (it's much easier to update than my website).  The photos are organized by series--here's a link to the Available Albums.  Feel free to bookmark it so you can check back to see what's new at any time.
  2. Can I commission something in specific colors or size?
    Sure, feel free to contact me via email or phone. 
  3. How do you get the detail and pattern in the glass?
    The techniques I use are referred to as 'cane' (patterned rods) and 'murrine' (patterned tiles).  Both involve layering colors and stretching the glass into long rods, then when cold creating a mosaic out of these patterns, heating them back up and attaching them to a blowpipe.  None of the patterns are store-bought--it's all handmade by me in a very time-consuming and exacting process.  While I don't yet have photos on my site showing how I make these patterns, there's information on Wikipedia about both techniques.  There's a slideshow on my website of how I use these patterns to make a piece here.
  4. Your work is very Italian in style; are you influenced by Lino/Barovier/Afro/etc.?
    Every serious glassblower today has been influenced by Lino Tagliapietra.  "The Maestro" singlehandedly changed glassmaking in the U.S with his first trip to Pilchuck in '79.  But the Italian techniques of cane and murrine popularized in the last hundred years by Italians in Murano originated in the middle east over a thousand years ago.  So while I share technique with Italians, I also do with Egyptians.  As far as direct comparisons to Murano, my work is imported by a gallery into Vienna, Austria because "Murano doesn't make work this detailed, vibrant or tight".  While I appreciate other work in glass, I try to avoid seeing other murrine work because I want to maintain my own voice.
  5. Do you ever get burned?
    Sure, but it's usually pretty minor.  The glass is crazy-hot so it's rare to inadvertently touch it.  Glassblowers mostly get burned on a hot tool or piece of equipment.  But after doing it for many years what's hot and what's not are second nature so even minor burns are uncommon. 
  6. Why is the glass orange?  I don't see you making that much work that's orange.
    When glass is really hot it glows orange.  The colors aren't true until the piece is cooled fully--usually the next day.

Stay in Touch

Feel free to contact me at or call 650-740-9794

If you're going to be in San Francisco, I'm always happy to host visitors to the studio.

© 2012 David Patchen Handblown Glass, All rights reserved.