R Jason Howard is a progressive glass artist who specializes in borosilicate flameworking, a style of glassblowing that uses a powerful torch to create intricate, detailed, and colorful glass objects directly in the flame. He lives in his artistically rich hometown, Skaneateles, NY with his wife and children, blowing glass full time and running his production studio, Cicada Glassworks. Jason’s current work draws on a unique combination of traditional Italian techniques and self-invented processes to create large, organic, colorful forms, that push the boundaries of what flameworked glass can do. “I draw inspiration from the natural world around me, especially in my garden. I listen closely to the organic and musical harmonies of color and the vibrations of life.” He first began working with glass in 1997 as a senior studying ceramics at Hamilton College, with glass artist, Robert Palusky. Seduced by its alluring qualities of light, and the sheer technical challenge, glass experimentation soon turned to obsession and total immersion. After a two year internship as Hamilton’s ceramic studio technician, and a scholarship to the Studio of the Corning Museum of Glass, he began studying both off-hand glassblowing, and flameworking with renowned artists such as Cesare Toffolo, Emilio Santini, William Gudenrath, Robert Mickelsen, James Nowak, Suellen Fowler, and Loren Stump. He has also worked as a technical and artistic consultant for Northstar Glassworks, developing and reformulating colored borosilicate glasses, specifically including one of their more popular colors, “Onyx”. He is well known in the glassblowing community for custom tuning German torches, and now has a “J Howard Pro Model” available from the Herbert Arnold Company. He demonstrates at conferences, and teaches workshops and classes, most recently in Tokyo and Kyoto Japan.
You can see his work exhibited nationally, in galleries such as Snyderman-Works in Philadelphia, the Museum of Art and Design in NYC, Kittrell-Riffkind Art Glass in Dallas, the Glasshouse Gallery in Seattle, and also in the permanent collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Cafesjian Center for the Arts in Yerevan, Armenia, and the Kobe Lampworking Museum in Kobe, Japan. He has been consistently nominated for the NICHE awards, winning in 2009.
My current work is an exploration of change, time, and process. I’ve always thought of glass as a matrix of the space-time-heat continuum. Its form is a record of a series of events that happened to it along its formation, like strata within the earth’s crust. The invisible strata within the glass all move as one, but at different rates depending on location and temperature. Sometimes they flow quickly, sometimes slowly, but always together like an orchestra following the conductor with heat as the tempo. I draw inspiration from the natural world, and try to capture the universal flow that binds everything. Using traditional Italian techniques, modern developments in flameworked borosilicate glass, and a mix of my own invented techniques, I’m trying to draw from and acknowledge the past, represent the present, and bridge the future in the flow of change.