The best part of the job for this craftsman? Working with the constantly moving, temperamental molten glass.

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Ronnie Phillips

What do you do? I’m a Seattle-based glass artist and craftsman. I’ve been working with glass for over 10 years, and have my own product line specializing in luxury décor and modern design.

How did you get started in that field? I grew up in a small city in Kentucky, where I’m not even sure I realized glassblowing was something that happened outside of tourist attractions or overseas. I was fortunate enough to be accepted into a scholarship program after my junior year of high school that sent me to a college campus for the summer. It was there that I stumbled upon the college’s hot glass studio and immediately became enamored by the process, sights, sounds and smells of the hot shop. The interest never wavered, and I pursued glass at Centre College the next year.

What’s a typical day like? I’ve recently made the switch to self-employment with a couple independent contracting jobs on occasion. My days are a mix of marketing, research and development, maintaining relationships with galleries, and production of my glass work as well as developing new forms and ideas. Art school doesn’t really prepare you for running a business, so it’s been a challenging but exciting transition into learning this aspect of the trade.

What surprises people about what you do? That I’m a glassblower. I usually have to repeat myself. Most people I talk with are genuinely interested in the process. They don’t realize how intensive it can be or how many factors are at play. Glassblowing is an old-world skill, and I find it important to talk about and keep the tradition alive.

Some of Seattle-based glass artist Ronnie Phillips’ work. (Courtesy of Alec Miller)
Some of Seattle-based glass artist Ronnie Phillips’ work. (Courtesy of Alec Miller)

What’s the best part of the job? Working with the glass when it’s still in a molten state. The glass has a mind of its own when hot. It is constantly moving and reacting. It’s quick and sometimes temperamental. There are moments when I realize how truly incredible it is that I’m forming 2,000-degree glass into a piece of art someone will enjoy in their home or displayed in a public space.

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