From Venice with Love - Page 4

San Francisco glass artist David Patchen practices ‘old country’ technique with modern flair
From Venice with Love
Snipping away during the trimming process.

"'Bloom' originated as kind of a study in contrasts," Patchen recalls of asking himself, "How can I [hide] something beautiful inside?"

"It's gone in a lot of ways I didn't expect it to go…It kind of evolved as something combining a sea creature and a flower."

"He has a really unreal way of tying the natural world into his pieces," says Pfeiffer, expressing a preference for the "ethereal calmness" inspired by Patchen's use of blues and greens. "I think when he is working in those colors, that is really when it's so contemplative."

Ironically, Patchen says his own studies of color theory left him with, at the very least, a prejudice against certain shades of hues.

"I very quickly realized I never want to see another primary color," he quipped, noting their preponderance in items like flags and athletic uniforms. "It's awful, contrasty stuff!"

"Occasionally I see something in the fashion world where I like the way they used certain colors," he says of one source of inspiration for his work, effusing, "I see color as something that is challenging, and I love that challenge!"

  From Venice with Love
Among the numerous tools of the glass production trade.

Patchen continues to rise and meet that challenge, even this year, as he waited for Public Glass to finish maintenance of furnaces and other infrastructure critical to his work, which the studio chose to tackle during this year's shelter-in-place period.

"I still find it incredibly flattering when someone likes something I made and wants to pay money for it," Patchen says modestly.

His admirers certainly aren't surprised.

"He's taken classic Venetian glassblowing techniques and found modern ways to use them," says Montague. Just as noteworthy, she adds, "He found a passion that he has turned into a career as an artist, which I think is really impressive."

Impressive, yes—one might even say daring.


Photography: Eric Castro & Ryan Heffernan, Jason Wertheimer; and courtesy David Patchen Handblown Glass