Meet Ronnie Hughes of Hughes Glass, studio number 11 on our tour. Our final studio spotlight ends on a powerful note with Ronnie‘s amazing talent, skill, and passion for creating wildflowers in both clear and colored glass. To start, Ronnie was born and raised in West Jefferson, North Carolina. Having moved away a few times, the beauty of the mountains always drew him back. He and his wife, Chris, both animal lovers (cats particularly) found the countryside of Alleghany County to be a safe haven for their animal family and an inspiring setting for Ronnie‘s artwork.
Glassblowing was not the original plan for Ronnie. Graduating with a BA in psychology from Wake Forest in 1976, his plan was to get a Master’s degree and become a counselor. However, after taking a summer job for a friends glass gallery, The Public Glassblower, Ronnie was totally hooked. Grad school took
Borosilicate “hard” glass is Ronnie‘s medium. At his workbench, there is a large bench torch and two smaller hand torches all propane and oxygen fed. Heating the glass to 2000- 2500°F it becomes very pliable allowing him to shape the glass into accurate looking wildflowers. He uses colored glass to highlight the blossoms and clear glass for his signature free formed bases and the remaining flower structures. His wildflower sculptures “stand entirely on their own in continuous glass, a more challenging and time-consuming process.”When asked who has motivated and inspired him, Ronnie is quick to list his top glass artists… Paul Stankard of New Jersey, Lucio Bubacco of Murano, Italy, and the father/son team Leopoldo and Rudolph Blaschka of Germany creators of the “Harvard Glass.”When you step into Ronnie‘s home gallery and studio, you instantly feel the passion he has for both the wildflowers he re-creates in glass and the glass art world in general.
To me, art is about tickling a nerve, provoking a thought, but it’s especially about creating an emotion.“ -Ronnie Hughs