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Featured Glass Artist Dawson Kellog

August 2006

To increase glass art awareness Memories-In-Glass periodically interviews artists whose glass work and skill stands out from among the rest.

This month we are featuring the work of glass artist and teacher Dawson Kellogg.

Artist Dawson Kellog and Jim Tressel
Artist Dawson Kellogg teaching OSU Coach Jim Tressel on how to make a glass football

Q: How did you get started in glass art?

A: I got started in glass after many years of construction type jobs, I went back to school. I tried a little bit of everything, looking of some career path that I could be happy doing from day to day. Construction was good money but not happy people. I took ceramics and really took to it. Glassblowing was next door and after watching for two semesters I tried it and was hooked.

Q: Where did you study glass?

A: I started at Palomar Community College in my hometown of San Marcos California. I need to transfer to a four year school to finish a degree and San Francisco State had a glass program and Art Education program. It was also San Francisco, a great city. I received a partner Scholarship from Pilchuck while I was there and that really set glass in my mind as something to do for life, somehow. I later received a full scholarship and stipend to Kent State for my M.F.A. I was there for three years and received two more scholarships to Pilchuck. The whole time my mantra was "just do it, the money will come”, with regards to how to make a living. I was luck enough to get a part time job at Columbus College of Art and Design right out of Kent. It is a small one-teacher program with good funding, but small and not known for glass. I added a kiln casting program to make it a full time position with full time pay and benefits. I found a contract from my first year at CCAD and laughed at how little the pay was back then. But, it was a job in glass. Throughout all of this I was teach summer workshops on the road, out of a portable studio, with my longtime glass friend Ed Broadfield. We were a funny team. He is a 6'5" Hippy/Biker looking guy, with the best collection of tyedye you can think of and a lot of real world experience and I was a clean cut, idealistic college kid he often referred to as "bing bang" because I had lots of unchecked energy. When ever I would get on his nerves he would just click his teeth and growl at me. Ed could squash me like a bug if he could catch me, but we shared a 18 foot van conversion motor home, so I didn't want to cross that line. He liked to pull pranks and really liked to "pie" people, as in, pie in the face. So you had keep sharp and on your toes. We had a lot of fun through the years doing the "dog and pony show".

Glass Art

Q: What influences your art?

A: There are so many influences out there it is hard to say. I have been doing mostly commission work for a number of years now and avoiding personal work to the point that it a bit of a problem. I don't think that I really have a style. I have always had some attraction to ancient culture. All that Art history in school. I have always loved Bertil Valine (misspelled I am sure). I got to talk with him at Pilchuck a good deal and helped him set and light a show here in Columbus a few years ago. He is just a great person. He has this huge infectious energy. I can't really say that I have any one influence. I like to make lots of things, better said, "I like to make things. The making is the fun part after that it just needs a home".

Q: How long should someone study in a studio glass program?

A: Tough question. It depends on where and what you want to do. Off-hand glassblowing or solid working, torch working, casting. Do you want to make a living at it or just a hobby. How much money and time do you have. I had a studio partner in Grad school who use to say about glassblowing that," It takes three years solid and then you realize that you suck." You are never really done learning.

Glass Art

Q: How do you handle creative blocks?

A: You could say that I handle creative blocks by doing commission work. I have been blocked for years.

Q: We all know Chihully but are there any other glass artists out there we should study?

A: Dale did wonders for the glass movement, maybe too much. It is kind of like most art forums, there are some amazing artists out there whose work we will never see and there is some real mediocre work out there that is plastered all over the place, and visa- versa. So much of it is marketing and exposure. The blue chip artist will always be out in front, they earned it with hard work and persistence, the work is the work. Good or bad. I think the most interesting things that I see are from the young artists just finishing school or a few years out. Wheaton Village has a young artist show each year that is a good cross section and the G.A.S. conference has a student show each year. Shows like that have some fresh ideas that are still a little raw. Sometimes things get a little too polished or slick and they become too much of a product and less a piece of art.

Q: What are your other interests?

A: Other interests or distractions? Eating out at really nice restaurants and then trying to cook something similar for my wife and friends at home. Shooting sports. Here in Ohio, there are many types of shooting sports. As long as it doesn't involve killing some animal, I am in. My golf game is getting better. I am 18 handicapper, but have been shooting more around 14 lately. I would like to get back to playing music and maybe learn Spanish. Q: Any recommendations for new artists starting out in the glass field? A: Don't be a "rockstar".

 

If you are interested in learning more about Dawson Kellog and his work then go to omgglass.com

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