Harvey K. Littleton (1922–2013)


Harvey K. Littleton is considered the father of the studio glass movement in the United States. Littleton is known for developing and teaching techniques that freed glassblowing from the traditional protocols of factory production, allowing artists to work with glass in the studio as they might work with clay. Littleton established the first hot glass program in the United States at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Many of Littleton's students went on to share the study of studio glass throughout the U.S., including Marvin Lipofsky, who started a glass program at the University of California at Berkeley, and Dale Chihuly, who cultivated the glass program at the Rhode Island School of Design and later founded of Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington.


 In in 1976, Littleton retired from teaching to devote more time to his own art. During this time, his work evolved to include more abstract figurative forms as well as functioning vessels. He then went on to pioneer the Vitreograph process – a printmaking method that uses sandblasted plate glass.


"When the artist lifts his blowpipe, he must be prepared to intervene with all his aptitude, training, form-sense, as well as physical and mental energy.  A man cannot educe forms from hot glass by conceiving it as a cold, finished material. He must see it hot on the end of his pipe as it emerges glowing from the furnace; he must have a sense of wonder! His perceptions are ever new; his reactions must be swift and decisive. He must immerse himself in immediate experimentation and study, for the glass will not wait." – Harvey Littleton