This form was inspired by the intricately carved combs of the Northwest Coast (minus the tines). This piece was a technical break-through for me because it was sculpted by hand without the use of moulds. The head was created by selectively heating a thick glass bubble and simultaneously pushing from the inside while sculpting the outside.
My great grandmother, Susie Johnson, grew up in Sitka, Alaska. My uncles were out hunting and killed a bear, not realising it was a new mother. They brought back a bear cub which she raised. At that time there were many Russians in the region and one of them made and sold taffy (candy). The bear was attracted to the smell and quickly developed a taste for it. Susie made money by picking berries in the woods and used the proceeds to buy taffy for her pet bear. The time came when the bear was too big and dangerous to keep around people and she had to get rid of it. This made her very sad.
Preston was born in San Francisco, California, in 1963. In 1984, he began his studies at the prestigious Pilchuck Glass school in Stanwood, Washington. Today, he remains connected to the school as both a sessional instructor and a board member, while pursing his own very successful career as an artist. Pilchuck has always fostered a milieu open to new ideas that has drawn many of the most promising students, as well as established working glass-artists, to the Pacific Northwest Coast.
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