Creation of the Week 59 - Charles Collins' Glassworks

Art is broad reality, the multifaceted expression of the human experience, our innate search for beauty and truth that is nothing less than the thirst for God in our hearts. Among all the art forms out there, at least in my opinion, one of the ones that best blends practical application with aesthetic power, is the art of glass blowing.

Creating something that is designed to be both useful and beautiful is remarkable. Add working at mind-boggling temperatures into the mix, and you have quite a unique craft. And that’s exactly what Charles Collins loves most about this medium, and we’re featuring his work this week. He recently created a set of whiskey glasses that are not only hand-blown, but are inlaid with gold leaf. I reached out to Charles for an intro:

My name is Charles Collins. I was raised in Mobile, Alabama, one of five children. I have an older sister and three younger brothers. I graduated from the University of South Alabama as a four-time letterman in Track & Field throwing the javelin. While earning a degree in Sports Management I started blowing and manipulating glass in my senior year. During that first class three years ago, I fell in love with the art form.

After graduation, on a leap of faith, I moved to Houston, Texas to intern at Western Academy, a private liberal arts school for boys. I have just completed my first year as a full-time teacher for Western Academy as the Art Director, P.E. Coach, Assistant Football Coach, and Head Track & Field Coach.

Upon moving to Houston, I found a small glass studio, Three Dimensional Visions, where I continued my passion for glass blowing. After a few months of renting time at the studio, Three Dimensional Visions offered me an internship which turned into a part time position as an assistant Gaffer (glass blower). With this opportunity I was able to start my own Glass Crafting business. I blow glass because I love the danger of it all and the beauty that results.

Gathering glass at 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit, stretching, shaping, blowing, to form something that compliments the light so well is like nothing else. The way the glass feels, how it moves, and the limitless applications are all very exciting. Glass Blowing and coaching are my passions, I am blessed to be able to do both.
— Charles Collins

To me this is the sign of a true artist and artisan: his passion and excitement for what he does. He talks about glass blowing the way I talk about pulled pork, but that’s a separate issue. As someone who’s been interested in glass blowing for a while, I found it fascinating to hear about the art form from an insider, someone who actually does it for a living. After reading his introduction I spent more time than I’d like to admit to watching glass blowing videos on YouTube. Don’t start down that path; you’ve been warned.

Here are a few samples of his work.

I think Charles’ example is remarkable because he has discovered his main passions in life, and what’s more has put in the hard work that it takes to master them and make a living doing them. As a collegiate athlete, a coach, and an Artist and craftsman, his dedication to what he does is an invitation to all of us to find what we love, and then master what we find. Maybe our achievements won’t happen at 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit, but that same effort and determination are invaluable assets in the pursuit of our art, and of our dreams.

Feel free to contact Charles, or hire him for customized glass creations.

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by Nik Sternhagen

Marketing Specialist at Catholic Support Services