Jeffrey Phelps



My work in glass has been an exploration of innovative techniques melded with the ancient glass arts of fusing and blowing glass.

I studied Graphic Design at the University of Arizona in the mid-1970's and began cutting stained glass in 1976. My early work produced stained glass window creations which encompassed a variety of styles and themes, emphasizing color and design and incorporating figurative narratives. Ultimately, these narrative pieces led me to begin working with fused glass in order to allow the incorporation of detail into th work which could only be rendered without the use of a lead line. Fusing also challenged me to experiment with the process. I began creating utilitarian items, specifically bowls, which were fused and slumped out of stained glass.

My early work in fused glass was primarily technical experimentation and I was quite happy if objects were made that defied thermal shock and hung together. Design was a luxury with the focus being on color. Following an opportunity to study at the Pilchuck Glass School in 1987 with Instructor Klaus Moje, I wanted to explore beyond the technical experience. I began creating bowls with a more geometric 3-D extruded quality which interacted with light and depth of color and added a dimension to my work that my earlier examples had lacked. This led to the creation of my Murrine and Barrine Bowl Series of fused glass works.

I have been a student in the blowing department at the state-of-the-art Pittsburgh Glass Center since it opened in 2001 and have been an instructor of stained, fused and slumped glass classes since the spring of 2002.

My new work is a culmination and combination of many of the techniques that I have learned over the years of cutting, fusing and now blowing glass. This innovative process combines two ancient glass forming techniques - fusing and blowing - and is the result of my constant search to find the best form in which to display my design in the most complementary light. The final blown form is now a canvas on which to exhibit the fused glass design.