Chandler glass blower fired up for exhibition at arts center

David Vogt pulls a five-foot, stainless steel hollow rod with a small glob of molten glass at the end out of a red-hot oven.Vogt rolls the glowing glob across a stainless-steel surface, blows through the tube to expand it, and then re-heats it.

Before the hour is up, the glass blower will have transformed the molten blob into a beautiful bowl with flared sides. It was done with rudimentary tools and physical labor in a no-frills garage workshop.

"Glass blowing is about 2,000 years old," Vogt said, "and these techniques haven't really changed much."

Vogt is one of three Chandler glass artists whose works will be on display in "The Glass Menagerie" at the Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Ave. All three will attend the opening from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday.

In addition to blown-glass bowls, vases, flowers and more by Vogt, visitors can see fused glass - including platters, bowls and game boards - by Alex M. Shaffer and glass beads by Nancy Pilgrim.

"They'll be able to look at one medium and see how it can be used to create different types of objects by using different kinds of manipulation methods," said Eric Faulhaber of the Vision Gallery, one of the show's curators.

Faulhaber said glass exhibits are always popular because the works are so eye catching.

Vogt credited Seattle-based glass artist Dale Chihuly, who leads a team that produces bright, wild designs in museums, galleries and public spaces worldwide.

"He's made it possible for a lot of glass blowers to make a living," Vogt said. "Without his expertise and marketing and promotion, glass wouldn't be where it is."

It takes at least two years of full-time practice to become a good glass blower, he said. He said he earns $35 to $400 per piece.

Before retiring in 1994, Vogt was an engineer and owner of Acoustic Imaging Technologies Corp., an ultrasound equipment manufacturer in Tempe. He studied at studios around the country, including the highly regarded Studio of the Corning Museum of Glass in New York, and has designed and built many of his own tools.

"A lot of the glass blowers do have science or engineering backgrounds," he said. "It certainly appeals to engineers because of all the equipment."

600450 Chandler glass blower fired up for exhibition at arts center
Date: 13 December 2004

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