Meet our new featured artist this month: Rick Brazzale! He works in the hotshop, blowing glass with extreme imagination and skill.
How did you begin working with glass?
When I was 15 years old I told my friend I would be a glassblower. She told me I should know something about how it was done before deciding.
At 21 years old I would observe daily at a crystal shop in Gibraltar. I came back to the states to learn and became an apprentice. I have since had the privilege to do glass work in over a hundred studios in the U.S. and Europe, including 2 1/2 years in Venice, Italy.
What inspires you for your art?
Inspiration is found anywhere in nature, small lines, things that flow, commonalities. I notice colors from new fashion to fruit displays. I love to look back to history at different forms. Combine this with years and years of listening to feedback. Qualities that make older people and kids smile. Wow, if you really want a honest opinion of art, I ask a kid. There’s no pretense, no “je ne sais quoi” with children, they either like it or they don’t and they’ll tell you!
What are you working on now?
I am working on a private commission for a large scale wall hanging sculpture due this month. It is a gifted permanent display for a local corporation celebrating their 20th anniversary. I love designing work to honor a corporate brand. I think about how it will make people feel, see, and act, now and many years in the future.
What do you love to do when not in the studio?
I love being super involved in doing kids stuff with our little girl and boy. St. Louis is amazing; there are wonderful activities and destinations. We are Italian and love to cook. My bride, kids, pets, and I all love enjoying our home on The Hill.
Whats in your toolbox?
My tool bag right now absolutely overflows with cherished and hand-forged glass tools from old masters. I’ve also got Starrett calipers, beeswax, even a small abacus in there I use to keep count of animals and flowers.
What is your favorite thing about working in glass?
For me this question is like asking “whats your favorite part of the world?” Working with glass keeps me 100% in the moment. I’m not thinking about buying dog food or charging my kids’ tablets. I get to be connected to the movement of glass. I love the moment an idea in my head or my drawing on paper becomes real in the world. It’s wonderful to create and look forward to going to work in front of the fire, even on a cold rainy Monday morning when everyone wants to stay in bed. Come down to Third Degree and try it!
Come see Rick’s work in our gallery!
We’re open Monday-Saturday 10:00a-5:00p and Sunday 11:00a-4:00p.
Follow Third Degree on Instagram @stlglass