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CARRIE GUSTAFSON

STATEMENT

 

I am so fortunate that, as an artist, I am afforded the luxury of quiet every single day. The peace I receive from being in my studio is immeasurable. And working in my studio has become a critical component to calming my own nervous system. It’s only recently that I have realized just how important this time is to my own wellbeing. But what I have found even more remarkable is the effect my work, created in tranquility, has on others. That the pieces I craft with love, care and time do indeed shine serenity, light and joy back into the world.

 

My work is largely influenced by the natural world – plants, flowers, seeds, and most recently crystals – and I have come to view working in my studio akin to cultivating a garden. A daily routine which has become a critical component to my personal sense of balance, as well as an outlet for creative discovery. There is an organic rhythm to my creative process. Like an inhale and an exhale – inhaling my surroundings and exhaling life into new pieces. With each new piece another door for exploration opens. And I have found that each work uniquely informs the next; as much as anything external or pre-meditative.

 

A larger piece can take several weeks to complete and the seemingly simple act of hand cutting and applying stencils - one at a time – has lead to great discovery. Watching the growth of new patterns and the interplay of positive and negative space is a creative journey in itself. My love of color is always present and glass – magical and radiant; made by way of breath’s imprint – retains importance as metaphor in my work. Experiments in glassblowing while a printmaking major at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) ignited my signature style of intricate patterns on vibrantly colored hand blown glass and I quickly found my way into the glass studio upon graduation. Studying glass at the Pilchuck Glass School (WA); Penland School of Crafts (NC); Studio at the Corning Museum of Glass (NY); the Rosin Studio, on Murano, Venice’s historic “glass island” in Italy.

 

For over a decade I worked with traditional vessels and I was captivated by the interplay that light, color, pattern and texture have with these closed forms. My career has gained credibility and recognition through seven Smithsonian Craft Show (2003 - 2013) as well as two Museum shows - Bellevue Arts Museum (2006) and the Fuller Craft Museum (2007). In 2011 I was honored to be the recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant. This, coupled with a residency at the Tacoma Museum of Glass, enabled me to embark on a new journey - breaking away from the vessel. The act of cutting open the vessels has presented me with a vast expanse of new possibilities and challenges, both technical and aesthetic. It has been a fascinating to witness just how different an “open” form reacts to light; this is an exciting new journey and potent metaphor for this stage in my life. Based on African currency bracelets this new format seemingly serves a dual purpose – for me a new way to see color and texture and light; and for the viewer, a fresh perspective. Perhaps due to the nature of the forms - which are reminiscent of artifacts and more easily identifiable with the pace of a museum – are seemingly more deserving of close observation – where as a vessel, which we identify as utilitarian, might more easily be overlooked. The year ahead will take this exploration, once again, in a new direction as I undertake a private commission for my first large outdoor sculpture. Filling me with gratitude that a new opportunity has again presented itself.