For two decades David's creative energies primarily found an outlet in music, but a blowpipe and a glass furnace has firmly replaced his guitar.
David has studied at the prestigious Pilchuck Glass School, founded by Dale Chihuly and John and Anne Hauberg in Stanwood, Washington. In 2010, David was invited to Seto City, Japan as Artist in Residence, spending a month lecturing, demonstrating and making work through an award from the Seto City Art and Cultural Foundation. Early in his career, he learned through a wide range of talented local artists combined with a great deal of experimentation and visits with Afro Celotto, maestro and former assistant to Lino Tagliapietra in Murano, Italy. David has received awards for his work including an artistic merit scholarship for his studies at Pilchuck.
David is actively involved in the glass arts community as Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Directors at Public Glass (San Francisco's center for glass art) and former member of the Board of Directors, Glass Alliance of Northern California. David maintains a private studio within Public Glass where he creates his work and occasionally instructs. He enjoys and finds inspiration in international travel, SCUBA diving, photography, architecture, science and nature.
Born and raised in New York, David Patchen now resides in San Francisco. David's work, known for its intense colors and intricate detail, is in numerous private collections and exhibited in select galleries in the U.S., Canada and Europe.
I find glass as seductive as it is challenging. As a particularly unforgiving medium it exposes an artist’s vision in designing for its unique properties and their skill in executing work. I’ve always been captivated by how glass can hold elements in suspension, bend light, and layer color in three dimensions as well as the process of working with it in its liquid state.
My current work is an intensive exploration of detailed patterns, colors and transparency created through multi-layered cane and murrine—colored rods and patterned cross-sections of glass. Creating my work begins with meticulous planning and designing of colors and patterns. After I pull the cane and murrine, I carefully compose these elements to design the final work, all days prior to blowing it. I enjoy this process of thoughtful creativity and the contrasting intensity of executing work in the hotshop, where the limited window to shape molten glass requires precision and urgency. The dual challenge of designing and executing complex work satisfies both the artist and the craftsman in me and I continually find it exciting to create a piece I’ve poured days over, watching it come to life in the fire.
While varied in composition and design, I most often create work within a series of graceful forms which I consider three dimensional canvases. The diversity and variation in my work reflects my desire to explore a variety of ideas simultaneously. Some visual themes that recur include windows with views into or through a piece, contrasting transparency and solidity and disrupted repetition. Colors in contrasting and/or complimentary tertiary tones woven into complex patterns challenge expectations of the amount of detail glass can carry and its place in the art world. My indirect influences include textiles, ethnically distinct colors and shapes as well as the marine environment.