March 1, 2008
Pilchuk Glass School
Over three decades, the center has fostered a glass-blowing industry in the Pacific Northwest.
Glass artist Dale Chihuly and patrons Anne and John Hauberg launched the Pilchuck Glass School in 1971, when the studio glass movement was beginning to crystallize in the Pacific Northwest. That same year, a group that included Henry Halem and Marvin Lipofsky founded the Glass Art Society, based in Seattle. Thanks to a climate conducive to hot-shop fabrication, Chihuly’s magnetism, and the maturation of the school, the stretch of Washington State between Seattle and Stanwood has become what Pilchuck artistic director Ruth King calls “the Murano of the Northwest.”
According to the Glass Art Society, 1,000 of its 3,200 members hail from this area, and a notable number have sought inspiration at Pilchuck. Seattle artist Preston Singletary, for example, credits his student experience in the summer of 1984 with launching his career. The school also has programs that support the ledgers of regional craftspeople. Mostly local artists apply to Pilchuck’s professional artist-in-residence program, which allows at-cost use of its facilities in the off-season, while a summer residency invites big names like Maya Lin and Wendell Castle to study glass, with the school directing interested participants to nearby studios such as Benjamin Moore Inc. to continue their work in the medium. Whether they’ve found spiritual nourishment, a subsidized kiln, or an outside commission there, almost every member of the Pacific North–west’s studio glass movement has a connection to this idyllic 54-acre campus.