By Heather Palmer.
Portland. Santa Fe. And now, Emeryville (California).
Not the most likely of combinations, but then Bullseye Glass has always done things its own way. And this maverick is making sure that the San Francisco Bay Area art scene sees what glass can do beyond Chihuly chandeliers.
Bullseye Glass supplies glass materials and sundries for people working in kiln-formed glass (from hobbyists to pro, designer to artist to architects). They also offer classes in kiln-forming – from beginning to advanced – while maintaining galleries that show contemporary kiln-formed work in glass.
But what’s really special about Bullseye is the symbiotic relationship they share with the artists and designers who depend on their supplies.
Today, they are on the cutting edge of the kiln-formed glass field and their success lies in the collaborative spirit they’ve embraced since their founding in 1974.
Their first major collaboration came during the late 70’s, when they were approached by the Australian artist Klaus Moje. He was creating works using kiln-forming methods and was running into problems with his glass. The glass he was using was originally made for the button making industry, and when Moje tried to use it with his kiln-forming methods the works suffered surface flaws and breakage.
In 1979, at a little glass school in Washington called Pilchuck, Moje met one of the founding partners of the Bullseye Glass company. Before this chance meeting the company had already begun to experiment in making the kind of glass that Moje was looking for. Intrigued both by the artist’s work and by the potential they saw in that work if given the right materials, Bullseye promised to create a line of glass that could be worked the way Moje wanted.
They made good on that promise. And they still do.
Bullseye Glass was started by a handful of people with passion, curiosity, and commitment. With artists in mind from the start, Bullseye set out to create materials that would help artists/designers/architects/hobbyists working with kiln-formed glass achieve their potential. Bullseye could not exist without the artists, and vice versa — they create and thrive together.
The easiest way to understand Bullseye glass company if you aren’t a glass nerd or a glass addict is to simply look at the artists in their gallery. They show and represent a diverse group of artists working in glass, but isn’t like the majority of “art glass” we’ve all seen over the last 50 years.
The work is sophisticated, well executed, and rich in feeling. The artists each clearly have drive, vision and talent of their own, but their work with Bullseye glass materials demonstrates not only the success of the artists but of Bullseye the company as well. See for yourself at the Bullseye online gallery or better yet, walk into one of their physical galleries.
Bullseye Bay Area 4514 Hollis Street
Emeryville, CA 94608 Bullseye Gallery
And whenever special stuff is happening.
All images by of Heather Palmer.
Heather Palmer is a designer/maker working in glass, flirting with clay, and doing a little writing. See her work here: http://heatherheather.com