Sean Donlon glittering art looks familiar. Yet there is something odd — or — off about it.
And that’s fine with the Virginia glass blower, who uses flame working to make his modern and misshapen teapot creations.
The artist: Born in Springfield, VA, Donlon grew up with a mother who was a fiber artist and jewelry maker and a father shared a hobby painting miniature soldiers with Donlon and his brother.
He took art classes throughout his childhood, but went on to study marine biology at Old Dominion University for two years, drawing and painting in his spare time. Donlon later earned his fine arts degree in craft and material studies at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2012.
Other training: Traveled all over the United States and internationally to Lauscha, Germany, and Murano, Italy, to study lost glass techniques and to work with other glass artists.
The studio: In the Mule Barn Craft Studios in Richmond.
The goods: Decorative and functional glass pieces, ranging from glassware to 13-foot-long sculptural installations.
What’s popular: Stemless opal wine glass ($38) and opal Rox glass ($48). Inspired by rain droplets, each glass features an encapsulated opal stone. See glasses at his website.
Other favorites: Teapot wall pieces ($1,200 to $5,000). The imperfectly shaped teapots and kettles (and often teacups) are glass but look like polished silver.
Why teapots: They are functional and everyday objects recognized and used throughout history by people in the South and in many cultures around the world.
Design style: A blend of modern and futuristic designs.
Fun requests: Glass hermit crab shells.
Big break: Created a circular wall installation with more than 100 shiny teapots and teacups that hangs in a dining room at the Quirk Hotel in downtown Richmond.
Claim to fame: 2019 Smithsonian Craft Show Award for New Directions: Excellence in Design of the Future. It was the first time he exhibited in the juried show.
- Recipient of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts fellowship.
- Won Best in Show as a first-time exhibitor at the 2016 Visual Arts Center of Richmond’s Craft + Design Show.
- Featured in the American Craft Council magazine in 2018.
Where to buy: seandonlondesign.com.
Get social at: donlonglass on Instagram