Glass is dance in still life. Capturing this moment of vitality, an instant of inspiration and epiphany, then marrying it to the delicate skill of blowing glass, results in a still piece—though somehow fluid and moving. Since I learned to hand blow glass, I have been enthralled by the amorphous nature of the medium, which breathes and flows with the rhythms of the artist.
I always knew I wanted something unique from life. As a young child I was absorbed in the diversity of the world, the languages, the food, and the exotic landscapes. My life was going to be an adventure. What I never expected was to move back to my home town and pursue careers in education and art entertainment. Not quite sure what I wanted to do fresh out of high school, I took a motley selection of classes at ICC developing a strong interest in zoology, art, and color theory. After receiving my associates in liberal arts in 1996, I transferred to SIUC to study zoology, and for the next year each day I would walk past the glass studio in order to get to my other classes. The fall of 1999 I discovered the Fine Arts Program in Glass and was bitten by the “glass bug.” I was captivated, so one year before graduating I changed my major from zoology to pursue the fascinating medium of hot molten glass.
The art of glass blowing has been around for centuries, but the studio art glass movement in the United States is only about forty years old. Being a part of the American glass studio movement is important to me because I embrace working with an amorphous medium. Starting my career at ICC gave me the foundation and tools needed to continue to a higher education. To this day my education has impacted me in a way that compels me to share my passion for glass with others.
Inspired by my travels, earth-tone colors are prevalent in my glass work. From the high Montana skies to the southwest sedimentary layers of rock, a bit of nature inhabits my glossy medium. Additionally, with deep admiration and respect, I am inspired by the work of the great glass masters of Italy. If you had a chance to see the body of work on exhibit Nov 30th through December 13th in Academic Building gallery 305A at ICC or to visit my booth at the Riverfront Market this summer or to stop by my new studio, you would have found the filigree or ribbon cane style of work that is most challenging to create and fulfilling to show.
The fall of 2013, JDraper Glass was created; I went down to part time as the catering manager at Echo Valley Meats and Catering to pursue my passion for glass blowing. My goal is to offer a complete understanding of hot glass as a studio movement in America by engaging the community through hands on opportunities, classes, tours, team building workshops and open houses. Through these efforts, I hope to cultivate a deeper understanding and appreciation for the art of hand blown glass.
My studio, now located at Studios on Sheridan, corner of Main St. and Sheridan Rd., Peoria, offers demonstrations from 5 to 9 P.M. on the first Friday of every month. “First Friday” also includes appetizers, beverages and live music. This art center hosts approximately 15 resident artists, two galleries and three retail stores.
My glass can be found locally at The Moon Dancer, the Shoppes at Grand Prairie, Exhibit A Gallery in Junction City, and the Peoria Riverfront Museum.