Red Hot Gala’s 2014 People’s Choice Award Winner Ethan Stern Comes to Museum of Glass

By Alex Carr, Digital Media Coordinator 

Last September, Seattle-based artist Ethan Stern received the People’s Choice Award at the annual Museum of Glass Red Hot Auction and Gala. Stern won for his piece Verdant Sea, and was  offered a 2015 Visiting Artist Residency as part of his prize.

Stern studied ceramic art at both TAFE College of Ceramics in Brisbane, Australia, and Alfred University in New York, but soon found himself drifting toward the art of glass. While attending the Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington, Stern began exploring techniques for engraving and carving glass, a process he continues today.

Stern began his five-day Visiting Artist Residency at the Museum this week and is working with the Museum of Glass Hot Shop Team to create pieces for both new and current series that he will eventually carve. Stern is experimenting with clear glass pieces for his new series Clear Coast, while also continuing his 2014 series Lunar Light.

Visiting Artist Residencies allow artists from all over the world to work on their craft without the hindrance of financial constraints. Stern notes, “when you’re experimenting, it’s nice not to have those pressures.”

ethan stern

Ethan Stern (on the left, in the hat) working in the Hot Shop with Benjamin Cobb (left) and Gabe Feenan (right).

With the pressure removed, Stern has been playing with the scale and shapes of his Lunar Light pieces, departing from his more traditional sharper edges to create round, oval, and even teardrop shapes.

And in contrast to the clear pieces he has made for Clear Coast, which he will later carve, Stern is also experimenting with layers of color as he revisits a previous project, Ice Coast, which Stern has previously made in white.

4.Ice Coast

Ethan Stern; Ice Coast, 2013; 10 x 10.5 x 4 inches; Photo by Russell Johnson.

While he did not enter his residency with the intention of making pieces for a specific exhibition, some of the pieces may be included in two of his upcoming exhibitions in the fall and winter of this year, one of which is a show at Seattle’s Traver Gallery in September.

Like many artists who exhibit their work and produce art in their own studios, Stern often finds himself tied to commitments, but coming to Museum of Glass to spend five days in the Hot Shop is a liberating change of pace.

“The opportunity to make things outside of those commitments is energizing,” says Stern. To see him using this artistic energy in the Hot Shop, visit Museum of Glass on Saturday or Sunday, or tune into the Museum’s live stream.

Alex Carr is the Digital Media Coordinator at Museum of Glass. When she’s not circulating the Hot Shop floor trying to get the perfect Instagram shot for the Museum, you’ll find her baking at home, running at Green Lake, or exploring Washington’s wineries.

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