Editor's note: This is the third in a series of stories profiling some of the artists taking part in the second annual Art on the Rockies, set for Saturday and Sunday in Edwards.
The studio glass movement began in 1962 when a ceramics professor, a chemist and engineer started experimenting with melting glass in a small furnace and creating blown glass art. This approach to glassblowing blossomed into a worldwide movement, producing such flamboyant and prolific artists as-Kit Karbler, the proprietor of Blake Street Glass Studio in Denver. Karbler studied art-at Ohio University and UCLA, before becoming a renowned modern glass artist.
"The primary purpose of my work is not to hold objects but to hold your imagination and light," Karbler said as he moved through his action packed, glowing hot glass studio. Artisans twirled red hot dabs on the end of their blowing rods in an intricate dance of collaborative art making.
"A trained team of young artisans in the hot and cold shop are at hand to assist me in the enormous task of implementing my artwork to fruition," he said. "With the help and skills provided by these people, I am able to produce the unique and labor intensive, beautifully handcrafted glass sculptures sought after by collectors worldwide."
It's a very athletic and precise practice to make molten glass into the frozen images we see in Karblers work. "At first it's soft, simple and beautiful - like making candy. But when you are working with 40 pounds of glass at 2,000 degrees it's like wrestling an alligator. You have to conquer it before turning it into a vessel."
Karbler's glass will be on display at the Art on the Rockies art festival this weekend at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards. This free, outdoor art festival is sponsored by the Vail Valley Arts League, a volunteer non-profit group promoting a visual arts identity in the Vail Valley. Art on the Rockies will feature 120 artists from 16 states, international fine artists and Colorado. Painters, sculptors, glass and ceramic artists, fashion fibers and jewelry and mixed media visionaries will be in Eagle County for these two days. Music performances by DJ Unconventional Science and Peter Fontanese will fill the summer air. Wine, champagne and Crazy Mountain Brewery beer will be served by the Edwards Rotary during the weekend brunch event. Children will enjoy free art projects sponsored by Scully's Art Supplies of Eagle-Vail and The Youth Foundation.