Glass Blowing (with Josh Simpson)

I’m 8 inches away. If I hold still for 8 seconds my shirt will catch fire.

Most forms of art are meant to be admired from afar.  We look, we interpret.  We consider how beautiful it is or how it makes us feel.  However, there are entire schools of craftwork that open up art to a much greater definition.  Art for practical use.  Art that we can literally feel.  Art meant to not just be looked at, but to be touched, and more importantly, used.  Today’s guest, Josh Simpson, is one of the best in the world at one of the oldest crafts in existence, glass blowing.  Josh will teach us all about the basics of glassblowing and explain the difficulties of working with such a unique medium.

I was left entirely to my own sense of how to teach myself how glass blowing was done, and I had no external influence on design.
In some ways looking back I think I was almost the Bobby Fisher of glass blowing. I was utterly and completely lost in glass blowing. I worked literally 7 days a week 365 days a year for 5 or 6 years.

Interview Contents

2:30 - Josh’s story of how he got started glassblowing.
10:00 - The value of not having a teacher.
12:30 - Having a different technique from traditional glass blowers.
15:00 - Being obsessed with glass blowing.
16:05 - The basics of glassblowing.
21:00 - The benefits of working with glass now.
24:00 - The inspiration of space.
28:00 - Art meets useful objects.
31:00 - The process of making these complex pieces.
36:45 - Do you know how they will look before they come out?
39:00 - The risk of getting burned.
40:10 - The difficulties of making a massive planet.
48:10 - Being one of the best at what you do.
51:30 - Advice.


Josh's Website

PBS Doc Where the Earth Meets the Sky:The Glassworks of Josh Simpson

PBS Doc Defying Gravity



Michelle & Jim Wortner

Janelle Swanson

Jimmy Seymour


Blake Fletcher

Livin it up!