Featured Artist Archive > May, 2012
click picture to enlarge
click picture to enlarge
began blowing glass over 20 years ago while a student at Franklin
Pierce College. Early in his career he was based
in Santa Fe, New Mexico as an apprentice in a small studio production
environment. Those years of full immersion in
the glassmaking process provided a deep and personal understanding
of this amazing material and the techniques used to manipulate it.
the years that followed, Jeff had the good fortune to work with
many well known names in glass art before opening his own studio
"Marblehead Glassworks" in 2000. It
was here that he developed his unique style based on the Venetian
method of off-hand glassblowing. He has honed
his technique and skills over the course of his twenty year career
as a glassblower.
works solo, which is uncommon in the furnace glassblowing tradition,
and requires precision timing and keen ability. His work has been
an evolution, a movement from traditional decorative arts vessels
in the Venetian style to more personal and whimsical vessel forms,
and finally to the world of paperweights, marbles, and sculptures.
Abstract landscapes, seascapes and brainscapes appear within
his paperweights. Traditional elements are often
combined in contemporary color schemes where wild expressions of
color and emotion are captured within a sphere of glass.
Mentuck draws inspiration from the underlying structures
and engineering found in nature and the best efforts of man.
Thin strands of glass spiral in complex patterns like DNA,
or the veins of a leaf. Layers and depths confuse the eyes and draw
the viewer deeply into the composition. Three
dimensional compositions are designed to evoke an emotional reaction
within the viewer.
quote the artist:
glass has fully captured my attention and imagination. I have
always had an interest in science, art, and fiery danger. I think
that's why I was drawn to glassblowing. The glassblowing studio
is like an applied physics laboratory that focuses on the forces
of heat, gravity, and perseverance. Despite the dramatic flames
and physical effort, the most important part of the process is
design. It's like a never ending puzzle. I
head into the studio and try and arrange all of the pieces together
in some pleasing fashion which inevitably leads to a new idea
and a new arrangement. Some paths lead to an overwhelming feeling
of gratification and success. Some are tumbling
dark holes of failure and self doubt! The driving
philosophy and goal is to simply make the coolest thing I can
make as well as I can make it. If I am able
to do that, then I have faith that someone will appreciate my
recent years Jeff Mentuck has been the Artist in Residence at the
Salem State University Glassworks studio. "Sharing
my passion and dedication to glassblowing with students has brought
a more thoughtful and artistic sensibility to my work.
Stepping out of the production environment has allowed me
to develop my ideas more fully and take the time to realize them."
example of Jeff Mentuck's paperweights displays fields of bubbles
and complex canes floating in what Jeff describes as "an ethereal
protoplasm of clear glass". Ideas and experiences are represented
by blooms of murrini and sparkles of dichroic, memories and emotions
spiral through each other in the form of ribbon and latticino canes.
It is chaotic but perfect, like a snapshot of a busy intersection.
Mentuck lives in Salem, Massachusetts with his wife Brett and their
family. His paperweights have been shown in galleries throughout
the US and can be found in collections worldwide. When not in the
glassblowing studio, he can be found with his family on their paddleboards,
enjoying the beauty of the outdoors. Jeff can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
and more of his work can be seen on his website at http://mentuckglass.com.