Using traditional glass blowing techniques, Thor and Jennifer Bueno of North Carolina create unique wall compositions with glass pieces that resemble river stones and soap bubbles.
The artists: Thor and Jennifer Bueno
Thor: Grew up surfing in Southern California and started blowing glass in 1979. He studied with the late Italo Scanga at University of California at San Diego where he received a BFA.
As a founding member of The B Team, a performance group that used hot glass, he toured the world performing in public access facilities and universities. In 2004, he earned an MFA in glass from Alfred University.
Jennifer: Grew up in Seneca, SC, and earned a degree in glass from the Rhode Island School of Design. She also earned two MFAs, one from Bard College in sculpture and one from Alfred University in glass.
Her individual work is conceptual in nature and currently centers on satellite imagery.
The couple first began working together after meeting at Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, WA, 20 years ago. In 2008, they completed a three-year residency at Penland School of Crafts in the mountains of North Carolina.
The company/studio: Bueno Glass was formed in 2006 while the two were residents at Penland. After their residency, the couple settled and set up their studio in Penland, where they continue to find inspiration in nature.
Thor sculpts and forms the shapes in the glass blowing studio while Jennifer creates the color palettes and compositions for each installation.
The goods: Hand-blown, hollow glass objects in three sizes for wall installations ($1,500 to $50,000) in three series:
- River series. Pieces are shaped and colored like water-washed river stones.
- Silver series. Pieces have the appearance of liquid metal with a mirror-like finish. The finished work loosely resembles particles, orbiting electrons or clustered cells.
- Reverie, the newest series. Pieces, with subtle, rainbow-like colors, are inspired by soap bubbles.
What’s popular: Small to large site-specific wall installations, mostly for hospitals, like Mission Hospital in Asheville and Northside Hospital-Cherokee in Canton, GA. Small installations feature six to 10 pieces.
Other favorites: Zen branches with stacks of stones. Also cairns, a pile or stack of stones on a base.
Favorite glass artists: Dale Chihuly, as far as glass moving into the realm of public art. Also James Carpenter.
Big break: Getting a three-year residency at Penland School of Craft in North Carolina.
Award: Best decorative accessories at the 2015 International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York.
Honor: Included in the book: Glass Art: 112 Contemporary Glass Artists (2016).
What’s next: Commissioned to create an installation for a new hospital in Charlotte, where they get to do the install, something which doesn’t usually.
Where to buy: Momentum Gallery in downtown Asheville; Hodges Taylor gallery in Charlotte; and the Signature gallery in Atlanta.
Get social at: www.buenoglass.com