American artist Jake Pfeifer is among the next generation of craftsmen carrying forward ancient glass-making traditions. The Somerset County resident creates art glass combining classic Italian and Swedish techniques with his own contemporary effects.
“At age 14, I fell in love with the thick, free-flowing gather of hot glass, the blowing, molding and adding color,” Pfeifer says. “I could see the technical challenges, but also the range of possibilities in using glass as an art medium. I began learning to blow glass and create glass-art pieces. I have never looked back. It is my passion.”
The artist’s early years were challenging, admits Pfeifer. In 1993, at age 5, he was diagnosed with a rare childhood cancer—a stage III, inoperable tumor behind his eye and within his brain. After the equivalent of a lifetime dose of radiation and three types of chemotherapy, the prognosis was a 5 percent chance of three-year survival.
Miraculously, around the same time he discovered art glass, he was considered cured.
A graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology’s School of American Crafts glass program, Pfeifer trained at top studios such as Belle Mead Hot Glass in Hillsborough and Vandermark Merritt Studio in Branchburg.
Today his work is in high demand for its technical mastery, bright colors and sculptural shapes. “The themes and patterns of my work are varied. Some simple, colorful, playful pieces have no specific message. Others are serious, magical, mysterious and complex.”
His handmade-art business, Hot Glass Alley, offers glass vessels, functional pieces, seasonal ornaments and gifts in a broad palette and price range. Each piece is polished, signed and dated by the artist.
“I appreciate when people look at my work over and over, and find something beautiful each time. My goal is for each piece to promote an understanding and appreciation of glass art. Each one-of-a-kind vessel is part of my life journey,” Pfeifer says.
Pfeifer’s art can be acquired through galleries in 30 states, including Studio 7 Fine Art Gallery in Bernardsville (5 Morristown Road; 908-630-9770). To see the artist discussing his craft, check out the video below:Click here to leave a comment