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MELTDOWN GLASS MELTDOWN GLASS Artisan
PO Box 13098 Tempe, Arizona 85284
4806333366 bjkatz@meltdownglass.com home page:
 
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PERSONAL HISTORY Inspired by a passion for art glass, Katz believes that the apprenticeship of an artist is a lifelong journey. Drawing and painting were part of Katz’s daily life throughout childhood. Her parents exposed their children to a wide range of the arts from throughout the globe— visual arts, theater, dance, and music to name a few. Katz’s mother shared her love of nature with her children. Travel was a part of Katz’s upbringing and Katz’s mother took the family on long nature walks wherever they went. Katz loves spending time outdoors in natural surroundings which helps inspire her ideas. Katz draws inspiration from nature in her use of color and texture. Katz says “There is a harmony and rhythm in nature that I try to capture in my art glass so it has life.” As Katz grew up in the Chicago area she took classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She was drawn to and loved spending time viewing the extensive Asian art collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. She felt the spirituality that imbued Asian art. Katz attended Northwestern University, majoring in art, specializing in painting and sculpture. Fascinated and intrigued by glass, which is neither a solid nor a liquid, Katz began her art glass career in 1990, studying at Pilchuk Glass School founded by Dale Chihuly in Washington state. While at Pilchuk she met New Zealand artist and instructor Ann Robinson and sat in on Robinson’s glass-casting class as well as taking a glassblowing class with Fritz Dreisbach. At the end of her time at Pilchuk, Pilchuk’s then Art Director, artist and glassblower William “Billy” Morris, encouraged Katz to pursue a career in art glass. In the Fall of 1994 and the Spring of ‘95 Katz spent half a year learning kiln-cast glass techniques in Australia and New Zealand. She apprenticed with glass masters David Wright in Australia and Ann Robinson in New Zealand, working alongside them assisting with their work in their studios. David Wright worked on a large scale and integrated his art glass into architecture and this got Katz fired-up. Wright also worked and designed conceptually, translated his concepts into metaphors and finally into images. Wright’s conceptual way of working inspired Katz. Ann Robinson taught Katz to be rigorous with experimentation with new techniques and note taking to maximize her learning which Katz has maintained in her own studio. Notwithstanding being a seasoned professional with a gorgeous body of artwork, Robinson always strove for improvement in her glass techniques. Apprenticing to Wright and Robinson set the foundation for Katz’s career development. While in New Zealand, Katz toured Maori cultural centers and saw their artwork. Katz was struck by the stylistic similarities between Maori and Haida (Northwest Coast First Nations) artwork and has always wondered if there might be a past forgotten connection between the two cultures. Katz counts several well-known Haida artists as friends from the twenty years she spent living in Vancouver, Canada. Returning home to work in her Arizona garage/ studio, Katz experimented with the new techniques she learned in her travels and combined them in a unique way, creating her own approach and developing her unique artistic style. Katz began her art career by creating small-scale artwork sold primarily through galleries. Over time her reputation has grown. Collectors, art consultants, architecture, design and public art professionals now seek her out for small and large-scale commissioned artwork as well as her applying for public art competitions. Katz brought techniques in kiln-fired glass back from Australia and New Zealand to America at a time when American art glass was dominated by glassblowing and kiln-cast art glass was in its infancy. Katz has been a contributor to the development of kiln-cast glass in America. Katz visited Japan with the Glass Art Society’s 1998 international conference held in Seto, Japan. She came to know shibori (traditional tie dyed fabric) artist Madame Hiroko Ando while taking a pre-conference class from her. Artistically in her own studio, Katz was absorbed in creating her Winged Victory and Romanesque glass torsos at that time. Madame Ando felt that their artwork was complimentary and expressed an interest in showing the work together in North America. One of Katz’s glass torsos from the Winged Victory series, “A Walk in the Forest”, is in the permanent collection of the prestigious Corning Museum of Glass. Madame Ando and her husband subsequently visited Katz in North America. Katz was invited to be an adjunct artist with Derix Glass Studio in Germany which has been fabricating beautiful decorative art glass for artists, churches and public art installations for 150 years. In 2006 she worked with Derix Glass staff artists fabricating Spirit of Service for the Chandler Arts Commission. While in Germany she toured other glass studios, learning from their expertise in art glass and observing the studio organization and equipment. Three years ago, in 2008, Katz participated in a delegation to China organized by the office of then Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano. Women leaders in their fields in Arizona were invited by the Shanghai Women’s Federation, an NGO of the People’s Republic of China, to view and give constructive input into services for women, social services and healthcare among other social institutions. Also, the women in the Arizona delegation gave self-development workshops to young women students at SIAS International University, a Chinese/ American university located in the ancient city of Xinzheng near Zhengzhou, China. Katz gave two workshops-- one on the importance of maintaining an active interest and participating in the arts throughout one’s lifetime and another on using one’s personal life experiences and skills in resumes and interviews to help get a job. (There were far more educated young Chinese seeking work than available jobs in China.) After the group tour Katz visited the contemporary art district in Beijing. PROFESSIONAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS Katz’s body of completed artwork is considerable. She has completed over 150 art commissions, many of which are viewable on her website. She has extensive experience creating public and private commissioned artwork in public places. Many of Katz’s commissions integrate art glass into architecture, a niche in which Katz and her studio excel. Katz enjoys collaborating with art consultants, architects, interior designers and art collectors. She feels that collaboration often brings the best results. Katz gets pleasure and feels she benefits from commissioned artwork because it leads her in new technical and stylistic directions where she might not otherwise have gone, keeping her growing professionally and her artwork fresh and cutting-edge. New techniques, symbols and metaphors developed for commissioned artwork often appear in her artwork again. Many, if not most, artists involved in large-scale artwork leave the fabrication of their artwork to others. Katz loves the challenges of working in art glass making her artwork in her studio, Meltdown Glass Art & Design. Glass is a technically challenging medium which requires knowledge of physics as well as art for success and Katz loves the continual learning. Inspired by the world’s great art glass houses, Katz’s vision has been to create a studio artistic community where she and others would work together creating exceptional works of contemporary art glass that combine imagination, originality, artistic quality and technical proficiency. Meltdown Glass has grown over the years. From its humble beginnings in Katz’s Arizona garage, Meltdown Glass is now housed in an 18,400 sq. ft. state-of-the-art glass studio in Tempe, AZ. The studio contains Italian glass-working machinery to help perfect the final artwork and glass moving equipment that enables Katz and her staff to work on a monumental scale while reducing the risk of injury. Katz gives credit to the eleven other talented and dedicated Meltdown Glass studio staff who she has trained in her technique and approach. The staff works together as a team creating large art glass installations. Teamwork is a traditional approach working with art glass. Katz also writes articles on art glass for publication in the fields of art, healthcare, glass, architecture and design. Articles have been written about Katz and her studio, and she has been consulted as a respected expert in her field for many magazine articles including to name a few, US Glass, Glass Magazine, Architecture and Interior Design. Katz has been honored to receive awards from a number of organizations including the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) Southwest Regional Craftsmanship Award in 2000 for her glass art wall, Feeling Fall, commissioned by American Express Corporation at a former headquarters in Phoenix, AZ; The Artist Career Advancement Grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts in 2005; Masters of the Southwest award by Phoenix Home & Garden magazine in 2006; and Art Renaissance Initiative’s 2008 Arizona Artist of the Year. Katz has been invited to lecture to artists, design professionals, glass professionals and students, to judge art and glass competitions and received other forms of professional recognition. Katz has been featured nationally on TV. She was one of seven women on HGTV’s Modern Masters special, Women Artisans in 2002. In 2006 Katz was on HGTV’s I Want That. Also in 2006 Katz and Meltdown Glass were invited to participate in an episode of ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition hosted by Marlee Matlin. In the Extreme Makeover episode, textured art glass as part of water walls were used to create a tactile home environment for a family that included visually and hearing impaired members. Katz considers her Facets of Womanhood series her personal life work. Her Facets series is autobiographical, addressing deeper issues about life, womanhood, and her emotional and spiritual place in the world. While healing and transcendence have long been elements in Katz's artwork, in Facets she personalized these subjects through the inclusion of text and silhouetted images of herself to share her own experiences and beliefs. Five areas of life are opened up to the viewer's imagination: Embracing Life; Courage, Strength and Overcoming Adversity; Intimacy and Fertility; Understanding, Forgiveness and Humility; and Compassion and Giving. Facets was first shown in a one-woman art show in 2003 at the West Valley Art Museum in Surprise, AZ and is currently on display at the Meltdown Glass Studio gallery. Katz believes in giving back to her community and to society. Katz has two charities for which she holds fundraising events in her studio—two charter schools for disadvantaged minority children and youth-- StarShine Academy and the Martin Luther King Charter School of Excellence. Over the years she has donated artwork valued at over $40,000 to the Contemporary Forum, the Costume Institute and the Phoenix Art Museum. She donates regularly to the Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale. Katz donates artwork to many other charities including community and arts organizations. SELECTED PAST EXPERIENCE Because of Katz’s sizeable professional experience as an artist, Katz’s artist’s portfolio will be separated into six categories of artwork-- different types of commissioning agents/ settings-- which encompass her artwork in public places. Katz also has a considerable body of artwork in private corporate and personal art collections. 1) Public Art Commissions & Museums - On Reflection, Penguins In Love & Molting, Yellow-eyed Penguin Conservatory, Dunedin, NZ - Kamali Cats, International Cat Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands - In Flight, Intensive Care Nursery, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Phoenix, AZ - Sun Salutations, Jacksonville Public Library, Jacksonville, FL - Peace Portal, Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport Terminal 4 D Concourse, Phoenix, AZ - Spirit of Service, Desert Breeze Police and Fire Station, Chandler, AZ - Free Flow, Frisco Recreation Center, Frisco, TX - Dancing Water, Robert A. Lee Recreation Center, Iowa City, IA. - Flow of Life, Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Gilbert, AZ - Wind in the Wilderness, Surprise City Hall, Surprise, AZ - Ethos of Imagination, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Milpitas, CA (in progress). - Monterey Bay Marine Exploration Center, Santa Cruz, CA (in process). 2) Hotels and Restaurants - Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Orlando, FL - Captain Cook’s Restaurant, Tahitian resort, Epcot Center, Disney World, Orlando, FL - Millennium Broadway Hotel, Times Square, Manhattan - Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas, NV - Scottsdale Hilton Garden Inn, Scottsdale, AZ - Grand Hyatt, Hilton, Stanford Court and Sheraton Hotels 3) Entertainment - Tropical cast-glass art wall, Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) production studio, LA, CA - Sea horses 3-D sculpture, Royal Caribbean Cruise liners (collaboration) - “Soarin’ the Land,” signage, Disney Imagineering, Disney World, Orlando, FL - Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta, GA - Moody Gardens, Galveston, TX - Wild Horse Pass Casino, Phoenix, AZ 4) Government - El Centro Federal Courthouse, El Centro, CA - Forensic Science Center, Phoenix, AZ - Judicial Center, Phoenix, AZ - Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) Operations Headquarters, NY, NY - Veterans Administration Hospitals including Portland, OR, and currently in process Dayton, OH and Fresno, CA 5) Corporate, Commercial and Financial - Nexus of Imagination and Science, Johnson & Johnson, NJ - Ideas Create Reality, American College Testing (ACT) Headquarters, Iowa City, IA - Mother lode, Phelps Dodge (Freeport McMoRan) Headquarters, Phoenix, AZ - Feeling Fall, American Express Corporate Financial Headquarters, Phoenix, AZ - Fireworks, Desert Ridge Marketplace, Phoenix, AZ - Pernot Ricard, NY, NY - “Minnesota Wetlands,” Okabena, Minneapolis, MN - “Flow,” Genencore Center of Excellence, Cedar Rapids, IA - “Nature / Nurture,” Wells Fargo Bank, Tempe, AZ 6) Hospitals and Chapels - Tree of Life, Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council corporate collection. - Alter, Texas Children’s Hospital Chapel, Houston, TX - Nature, Women’s Oncology Center, Delnor Community Hospital, Chicago, IL - Chapel Art, Banner Baywood Healthcare, Mesa, AZ - Lobby Art, Dayton Children’s Hospital, Dayton, OH - Chapel walls, Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies, Orlando, FL - Windows, Diocesan Pastoral Center, Phoenix, AZ - Windows, Mountain View Assembly of God Church activity building, Las Vegas, NV - Eye of God Baptism bowl, La Jolla Presbyterian Church, La Jolla, CA - Enchanted Forest, 22 windows, Medical School Chapel, Midwestern University, Downers Grove, IL - River of Life, Mountain View Presbyterian Church, Scottsdale, AZ (collaboration) - Flow of Life II, Lobby Art, new expansion, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Phoenix, AZ SUMMARY Katz is deeply appreciative of the many professional opportunities that have been given to her. She is equally grateful for the creative inspiration that flows through her. She hopes to continue working in her studio for the rest of her life. Katz enjoys the artistic environment and innovative sharing that takes place in her studio, Meltdown Glass. She values the sense of community, excitement, purpose and pride of accomplishment that Meltdown Glass provides to everyone working there. And she loves being part of an international community of artists. Katz’s attitude has always been, “Sky’s the limit!”


My Artist Statement

Inspired by a passion for glass, I have created one of America’s preeminent art glass houses for kiln-fired glass. I started working with kiln-fired glass when the technique was barely known in North America. I serve as Principal and Art Director of Meltdown Glass which creates architectural scale kiln cast art glass that combines artistry and technical proficiency. Over the years my studio’s body of completed commissions and artwork has grown. Years of experience, experimentation and evaluation has been a good teacher.

The apprenticeship of an artist is a lifetime journey. I began my studies early. Born to parents who encouraged my passionate interest in art; they introduced me to literature, theater, music, dance, and a wide array of visual arts. Drawing, painting and sculpting throughout my childhood, I continue to enjoy all types of cultural events and participate in a variety of visual arts. As a lifetime learner, I am always acquiring new techniques and visual metaphors, and working with new materials. I spend a great deal of time exploring new ways of working with glass. I have taken inspiration from nature in the subtle use of colors and textures.

My career as a glass artist began with an exploration and experimentation with many techniques used in decorative glass. I now combine glass techniques in much of my artwork. Starting with a stint at the Pilchuk Glass School in Washington and then spending half a year learning kiln-cast glass techniques in Australia and New Zealand with glass masters, my thirst for pushing the edges of the envelope in kiln-cast glass began. Collaborating with other glass and design professionals, I understand the importance of all techniques in decorative glass. In addition to Meltdown Glass, I continue to create unique and beautiful glass artwork for galleries and collections around the US and for Public Art commissions. A piece of my artwork is in the permanent collection of the prestigious Corning Museum of Glass.

As a successful internationally known artist, I was invited to be an adjunct artist with Derix Glass studio in Germany. This German art glass studio has been fabricating beautiful decorative art glass for churches and public art installations for 150 years. As I travel around the country and the world, I gather techniques and information in the field of glass which then informs my art glass. A lifelong learner, I enjoy teaching and training others about decorative glass. As the Director of a successful art glass studio, I am frequently invited to lecture to groups of artists, design professionals, glass professionals and students on a regular basis.

In my role as a glass artist, I am consulted as a glass professional by design professionals and by the media. Many articles have been written including my opinions as a respected glass professional have appeared in US Glass, Glass magazine, Interior Design and Architecture to name just a few. I have also authored an article for Glass magazine on the relationship between glaziers, design professionals and producers of decorative glass.

I have been featured nationally on TV including being featured as one of seven women on HGTV’s Modern Masters special, Women Artisans. Meltdown Glass was featured last year on HGTV’s I Want That. Recently Meltdown Glass was part of a house redesign for an episode of ABC’s Extreme Makeover – Home Edition guest hosted by Marilee Matlin. Textured art glass was used in helping create a tactile environment for a family that included visually and hearing impaired.

I have received recognition in the form of awards from a number of organizations including the Construction Specifications Institute. In 2006 I was awarded the Masters of the Southwest Award by Phoenix Home & Garden magazine. I have lectured at NeoCon, the world interior design trade show, held yearly in Chicago. I could go on and on with my professional accomplishments, but the main thing I want to convey is that I believe there is no substitute for years of experience in the field.

My Location

I am located in Tempe, Arizona.

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