"I try to make my art reflect the peace and harmony of the beautiful environment of the Teton Mountain Range. I choose to live in the midst of beauty, and try to create lyric vessel forms which reflect the sublime quality of this fabulous place."
Laurie Thal moved to Jackson, WY in 1975 after graduating from the Art Institute of Chicago. She packed her car and moved west, hoping for a lifestyle that would allow her to practice her craft and enjoy the outdoor western environment. She started her own studio that year, refining her skills over time, working to create timeless classic vessels of simple beauty.
"I never thought I'd be able to make a living blowing glass", Thal said. She's done more than that, however, being commissioned by Hillary Clinton, then first lady, to create a unique glass ornament for the White House Christmas tree in 1997.
Collaborating with artist Lia Kass, her newest vases intertwine image, form and texture. Lia's illustrations expand to take advantage of the layering of color Laurie infuses in each piece. The art they create floats in a pool of light and color.
Her work was featured in 2002, 2006 and 2007 at the Governor's Capital Art Exhibition, an honor given to only 50 artists across the state of Wyoming each year. She also received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship Award for 2002. Her work is exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the country. In 2009, The White House selected a vase by Laurie and Lisa titled "Peacock" as an official gift from President Obama and the United States to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India. This vase was presented to the Prime Minister at the White House on the occasion of President Obama's first official visit of a foreign leader.
The process itself is like a dance, manipulating glass from furnace to workbench. The metamorphosis from color bar chunk to fragile creation is truly captivating. With the temperature approaching 2,400 degrees, Thal shapes the glass into delicate bowls, vases, glasses and perfume bottles with cherry wood blocks, layering color over color with a final gather of clear glass.