There are moments for me, as I travel through the interwebs, where I wonder if the word ‘artist’ has become overused and underrated. Overused in the sense that we often quickly label someone an artist without truly understanding whether or not they actually embody the implications of the word. At the root of the word, an artist is a master of technique. An artist is someone who has excelled in their creative endeavors to such a degree that, when we think of them and their work, we think of someone who may beceome a standard bearer. They become someone intrinsically connected to their medium of choice, as if it came into being just so they can master and manipulate it.
Yet, I also believe that it is an underrated designation. We live in a world where, in some circles, to say you are an artist is to relegate yourself to some sort of esoteric hobbyist, incapable of actually building a means of maintenance from your chosen craft. Fortunately, I’m privileged to showcase artist who contradict both notions. Daily, I’m thrilled to highlight those who embody true artistry, of whom the label ‘artist’ is a badge of honor, worm with deserved pride. Such is the case with Bernard Katz and his amazing glass creations. Bernard’s contemporary glass structures are astonishing beautiful. They’re the kind of art that immediately grabs the soul when you encounter them. Frankly, I find myself breathlessly enthralled by his entire collection.
I’m grateful that Bernard was willing to answer a few questions for my continuing Handmade Profiles series. Enjoy the interview and please feel free to visit his online showroom and to leave a comment below.
1. What inspired you to begin your collection?
Inspiration has always been a tricky question for me. Nailing down my inspiration to just one concise thing can be difficult. To explain this more, I wrote an article about the complexity of inspiration. I can say, earlier in my career, my work had strong inspirations from nature. My Tree and Root series of work expresses this connection.
Later, with connections still found in nature, I began moving away from vessels and began exploring sculptural forms. This departure can be seen in examples from this collection of work. My most recent work has become more about the interaction between forms. There is a “communication” between the forms from the Melange Series and Hozhoni Series.
2. Can you name a favorite source of inspiration?
In recent years, I began further exploring the communication and interaction between forms. I think watching, from a distance, the interaction between my wife and daughter has had a big influence. I sometimes observe their body language with each other as they are doing simple everyday things.
3. What materials do you love to use?
I mostly work with hand blown glass. The unique quality in which it captures and plays with light has always intrigued me. Glass can utilize many other interesting factors… It can be opaque, translucent, or transparent. It can be very smooth and shiny to very rough. It can be any number of these combinations at the same time.
4. Do you have a dream collaborator?
If I could go back in time, I would be interested in collaborating with either Henry Moore or Barbara Hepworth. Experiencing their thoughts first-hand about “form” would be fascinating.
5. When you need a musical muse, who do you turn up the volume for?
My musical tastes are very eclectic… But if I am going to turn up the volume while blowing glass, then I can’t go wrong with funk.
6. How do you use social media/blogging to promote your work?
Social media has been very instrumental in allowing us to engage with people. Using blogs, videos, and social media sites has helped us better connect with people. We try to tailor our content differently for each social media outlet. We promote ourselves by building trust and engagement, not by constant overt selling pitches.
7. Where do you see your shop/project going?
We enjoy creating one of a kind sculpture… But we also enjoy the challenges of working on bigger installations and custom projects.
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