February in the Thompson St. studio

There are a few advantages to sharing a space with a good friend who also happens to be a professional photographer...  A few offhand: He is always traveling and bringing back stories and images and artifacts to share from Burma, Laos, Syria, and Ethiopia (to name a few recent trips). He knows his computers and is willing to assist me in my mostly toddler-level hunt-and-peckingHe doesn't make any dust and is quiet, but for an Ernest Wranglin album here and there. He won't suffer a fool, and'll let you know it. He rings the "beer bell" at just the right time... And sometimes he'll walk over and take a photo and say, "you need a studio picture for your website blog, dude". 

Do yourself a favor, dear reader, and look at his work. You won't be sorry:  http://www.andrewstanbridge.com/

Nothing like a big south-facing window in the wintertime...

Detour at the Light

The public has spoken: custom-made glass light fixtures are in demand. All you have to do is look at the prices on some of the lamps at Design Within Reach or its equivalent to see that people are eager to drop a lot of cash on their "house jewelry". Over the years I've made a replacement pendant or two, but I have consciously avoided the lighting category of glass-ware for several reasons. One reason is that there is a huge layout in time and money up front to familiarize yourself with all of the hardware and fittings that are available from the many companies, and which parts/sizes are compatible with other parts/pieces. Second, there is that whole electricity thing, and all the safety issues surrounding it. Third, and most vexing in my opinion, is the intimate specificity that people have surrounding their lighting whims, conditions, and existing fixtures and structural layouts. To be frank, folks can get really particular...

deco Pendants 2
Deco pendants 1

There are interesting aspects of glass light-making however. The thing I find most interesting, of course, is the potential for dramatic and dazzling optical effects, combined with the endlessly fascinating interplay between qualities of reflected and transmitted light. Add the entire color spectrum to nerd out on, and you have the recipe for some small amount of fun.

teardrop pendants1.jpg
teardrop pendants 2

The "deco" pendants In the first two pictures come with pre-wired interchangeable colored cord sets, in any color. The bulbs are 10" long Edison filament bulbs in 40 and 60 watts. The filaments dance around a little in a charming manner. The teardrop pendants, above, are wired by myself with unfinished steel and antiqued bronze hardware. The bulbs are half-gold and come in 40 and 60 watts. These look good hanging up fairly high above, where the filaments are not glaring in your eyes. The range of glass colors is vast- I've been playing with some more muted ones with fun names like tourmaline, aubergine, smoky-topaz, and gold amethyst. Stop by the studio or the Portland Museum of Contemporary Craft and check 'em out! We'll see where this road leads us!


"Signs of Changing Tastes": SOFA Chicago 2014

With the weather becoming increasingly inclement and pumpkins appearing on porch steps surrounded by blowing leaves, one may begin to feel either excited and/or nervous, depending on what your relationship is to the great art fair known as SOFA Chicago 2014. I am usually equal measures of both come the first week of November, as the herculean effort on the part of galleries and artists alike to pack and ship so much fragile and expensive artwork into one building is as inspiring as it is terrifying. So much creative output by so many artists -some of whose work I've admired for my entire career- collected in one space gives the show a palpable atmosphere of tension. 

This year, I was given the opportunity by the Wexler Gallery to show two pieces, my large hanging Illuminated Sculpture, as well as a new installation of 16 black and clear glass objects on a shelf called Indefinite Sum #2.

SOFA 2014 Chicago

What truly made the setup more fun than usual was to be able to do it with a friend, the extremely talented Joanna Manousis, whose stunning wall piece, The Dominant Sophia, was right next to mine in the booth. Between her reassuring confidence and all of the wonderful help from the Wexler crew: Adill, Nick, Chris, and Melissa, hanging a 100-part, 200 lb. glass sculpture over wealthy collectors' heads by a thin chain 60+ feet from the ceiling seemed that much less stressful. 

As luck (?) would have it, both of my pieces were sold to private collectors, as was Joanna's! This seemed to have pleased Mr. Wexler, who can be seen in this short video and article on the Urban Glass Quarterly Blog: Red Dot Report: Signs of changing tastes at SOFA Chicago 2014. The article, by Andrew Page, is interesting in that it emphasizes the demographic shift that seems evident in the show's collector-base. Large sales by younger artists like myself and Joanna, which used to be much less common, seem to be becoming more so. One can only speculate as to the reasons for the post-recession interest in making what would arguably be a more risky investment, but I would argue that a new generation of buyers are intrigued by artists who are willing to take greater risks and experiment with new formats. These would be artists who conceive of  work that evolves and takes on different meanings as ideas and techniques are layered into their practice, rather than being (oftentimes unfortunately) pigeon-holed into making different-colored versions of a "signature" piece. The Wexler Gallery seems to have this idea in mind, and I am extremely fortunate to benefit from their foresight and support. 

Laura Kramer, represented by Heller Gallery.

Laura Kramer, represented by Heller Gallery.

SOFA Chicago

The range of work presented at the show was, in my opinion, a mixed-bag. There were some examples of largesse in both size and ambition, technical tours-de-force, and also some quietly elegant works that were either humbly well-executed or deeply inspirational or both. Most of the works in the latter category seemed to be in the Heller Gallery booth, my favorite being the work of Laura Kramer. There is also, as always, some work included that leaves you scratching your head as to whether or not the cutting edge of craft and design has been adequately deliberated. There's no accounting for taste, of course...

New Studio

In June of 2014 I moved my coldshop into a beautiful large new space at 522 N. Thompson St in Portland. No furnaces here- just coldworking and finishing equipment. The windows face south, and the light is great. I feel very lucky in time and place to have been invited to join the other artists and makers in the building. Here are just a few: 

Golden Rule Design and Screenprinting
Stanbridge Foto
Portland Apothecary
Wood and Faulk
Emily Katz
Brendon Farrell
Sarah Barner


andy-paiko-new-studio-N. thompson building
andy-paiko-new-studio-N thompson -building
andy-paiko-new-studio-N thompson Building

"Indefinite Sum" in San Jose, CA

San Jose State University is home to a vibrant glass art community, with one of the oldest glass programs in the country (over 40 years!). Its roster of visiting artists is formidable: Chihuly, Lino, Elio, the de la Torre brothers, Fritz, Mark Zirpel, Hank Adams, Laura Donefer, Hiroshi Yamano, Bella Feldman, John Lewis, Mary White Pamina Traylor and Katherine Gray, just to name a few. My friend, artist, and fellow Cal Poly alumni Cassandra Straubing is now the head of the glass department there. I was invited to do a solo show in September of 2014 in the Natalie and James Thompson Art Gallery, as well as a demo in the hotshop and an artists' talk. Not being one to turn down such an opportunity, I loaded up my old Toyota and headed down there. Naturally, all of the faculty, staff, and students I met in my time there were wonderful! Thanks, SJSU.

andy-paiko-SJSU-wall-screen-indefinite sum

Urban Glass Quarterly #135

While visiting Philadelphia for my solo show "Fragile Force" at the Wexler Gallery in March, I had the unique opportunity to meet and speak with author and art critic Robin Rice. That and subsequent conversations led to a feature article in Urban Glass Quarterly, issue #135 and surprisingly, the cover image! Ms. Rice's inspired reflection on my work was surprising and flattering, and gave me insights into associated ideas I had never before considered. 


"In Paiko's work, the strength and the clarity of glass is enhanced by voluptuous yet delicate ornamentation that overlies and underlines larger compelling structures. Each variation whets the appetite for what may come next." -Robin Rice 

andy-paiko-glass-magazine-urban glass quarterly

Interestingly, in the same issue, there was a piece written by Rick Schneider titled: "In dispute with Glass Secessionism". Having appeared on lists of purported "glass secessionists" by even the term and movement's originator, Tim Tate, I found the article a very thoughtful critique of an often contentious premise that there is a new wave of studio artists working with glass in a fundamentally different way than the "established" studio glass artists have been since Toledo in 1962. Personally, I have no firm opinions on either side of the debate, nor do I try to do model my work as being anything other than what it is at face value, but the ideas surrounding Glass Secessionism are quite interesting. You can read more here in an article by Monica Moses for the American Craft Council, interviewing Tim Tate, entitled "The World Beyond Studio Glass". Judging by the response Rick Schneider got to his article on the Glass Secessionism facebook page, there are some folks for whom this is a very serious matter indeed.

Collective Design 2

One of the things I like best about working with the Wexler Gallery is getting the opportunity to travel to some of the many shows they do annually. The Collective Design Fair in New York City is quite possibly one of the most eye-popping, with booth after booth of astonishing sculpture, furniture, lighting, jewelry, and contemporary design objects. It is a rich mix of both vintage and contemporary pieces, established and emerging artists and designers. The crowd that the venue draws is equally as interesting to look at as the work. 


This year, Wexler exhibited my suspended "Illuminated Sculpture", as well as two new exclusive absinthe fountains and the "Reliquary Group".

andy-paiko-collective design fair-wexler

As if the Collective show wasn't mind-twisting enough, no visit to New York is complete without a visit to the downright staggering collection of objects (and glass!) at Creel and Gow. If you haven't been, go ahead, treat yourself. They have it all.

andy-paiko-creel and gow
andy-paiko-creel and gow

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Gala

Back in the spring of last year, Sherri Wexler contacted me to propose the idea of making a piece of glass for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Gala Auction. The Wexler family contributes a good deal of time and effort on the foundation's behalf, and inviting artists to make work for the auction helps raise money for the JDRF

Together we came up with an idea to make a pair of pieces, based on my recent "reliquary jar" series that responded to kids' reactions upon being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. We asked them to say the first word that came to mind when they thought of their diagnosis.  Roughly half of the responses were negative: "SAD", "SCARY", "ROLLERCOASTER", "ANGER". The other half were more positive, with a sense of determination: "COURAGE", "RESPONSIBILITY", "HOPE", "CARE", "CURE".  Since a Type 1 diagnosis marks the beginning of a journey, I used the symbol of a ladder to convey personal ascent and descent, depending on one's attitude. The bright ladder jar was etched with the kids positive associations (ASCENT), and symbolized growth, while the dark ladder jar was etched with the negative ones (DESCENT) and was more austere. The pair together represented the dualistic feelings a person has that is coping with diabetes. 


Ladder to Light

Blown, sculpted, etched, assembled glass, hemp twine, wax.
Tallest; 7”L / 5”W / 24”H


"Fragile Force" Solo show at the Wexler Gallery

It is one thing to be officially represented by such a renowned gallery as the Wexler Gallery in Philadelphia, but it is an entirely larger honor to be given the opportunity to do a solo show. Working with Lewis and Sherri Wexler and their team there, Melissa, Joy, and Nick, was as pleasurable as an otherwise nerve-testing event could possibly be. The show was up during March and April 2014.

andy-paiko-fragile force-wexler gallery
andy-paiko-fragile force-wexler gallery

SOFA Chicago 2013

For the past two years, and with considerable logistical effort on their part, the Wexler Gallery has honored my work with a place of honor in their booth at the Navy Pier for SOFA. 2013 was notable for the sale of the Optic Twist Screen #2 to the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison, Wisconsin for their permanent collection.

The SOFA in the name stands for Sculpture. Objects. and Functional. Art. Officially it’s the 21st Annual Exposition of Sculpture Objects & Functional Art + Design Fair.

“A gallery-presented, international art exposition dedicated to bridging the worlds of design, decorative and fine art. Works by emerging and established artists and designers are available for sale by premier galleries and dealers.”

40 Under 40 at the Renwick

In 2012, I received a mysterious email out of the blue from a man by the name of Nicholas Bell. It turned out to be an invitation to submit a portfolio of my work to a gallery for a juried exhibition. It was not the first time this had happened to me. It was, however, fundamentally different in several ways. The first thing that stood out was the title attached to Mr. Bell's position: The Fleur and Charles Bresler Senior Curator of American Craft and Decorative Art at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC. That sort of stopped me in my tracks. Needless to say, that with the help of my good friend and talented graphic designer, Jimmy apRoberts, I submitted a portfolio. 

To make a long story short, out of thousands of talented potential artists and designers, I was chosen as one of the artists in the Renwick Museum's 40 Under 40: Craft Futures show. Far beyond any career goal I could have ever conceived of on my own, the opportunity was an honor and experience I will never forget. 

andy-paiko-40 Under 40-craft-futures

The owners of my Spinning Wheel, Peg and Bob Van Andel, in an entirely selfless, gracious, and generous philanthropic gesture, donated the piece for the show, and it is now included in the Renwick's permanent collection. There was a beautiful book printed by the Smithsonian, and several articles in major publications: American Craft, Washington Post.

Pictured here with the work of Stephanie Liner and Christy Matson

Pictured here with the work of Stephanie Liner and Christy Matson

During the opening, there was a live demonstration of the wheel's functionality.

During the opening, there was a live demonstration of the wheel's functionality.

Cleo got to see DC!

Cleo got to see DC!

In addition to the show itself, and to top off the experience (!!!), The James Renwick Alliance decided to add me to their Distinguished Artists' Lecture Series while the show was on exhibit.