Roger Parramore

artist at workOsaka seriesSacrificial Lidded goblet, blown glass, 27 inches tallLiturgical Chalice and Paten set (blue), blown glass
Lidded goblet (green), 24 inches tallLiturgical Chalice and Paten set (blue), blown glassSacrificial Lidded goblet, blown glass, 27 inches tallartist at work

My fascination with glass reaches back some thirty-seven years to when I would watch the lampworkers when they came to the mall around the holiday season. The small figurines captured my imagination as I watched them come to form from the fire. Fortunately both my parents supported my interest in learning to blow glass. My father was interested in ceramics as a hobby and knew about kilns and glazes. It didn’t take much effort to interest him in building a small makeshift glass furnace. We melted glass one day and I was hooked. My interest in glass led me to an apprenticeship in scientific glassblowing at the University of Florida. As a young teenager I would spend afternoons, evenings, summers, anytime I could, hanging around the chemistry and physics departments learning about glass or whatever the topic of conversation was. I continued my scientific glass career in Memphis, Tennessee before turning my attention to college. I attended Western Carolina University, and received my BA in Philosophy and an MA in English Literature. After teaching English at WCU for five years, my thoughts of a career teaching English turned to thoughts of being a studio artist. Leaving academics in 1995 I never looked back.

My love affair with the romance of Italian glass is evident throughout my work. Light, fine, and fragile it tends to focus on the inherent strengths and weaknesses of the material. Fellow glass artist Robert Mickelsen writes: “Parramore is known for his decanter and goblet sets, lidded urns, and broad-lipped compotes. Extremely adept at forming relatively large blown forms, Parramore has sometimes been called the ‘human lathe.’ The bodies of some of his vessels are formed of clear borosilicate glass with color being reserved for ornamentation, stems, and handles. The clarity emphasizes the sense of fragility, while the form lends a feeling of strength. Others are built in the Italian incalmo style with heavily reduced colors giving the surface a ceramic-like appearance. Roger’s vessels are precise and impossibly thin. The perfect shapes of his paper-walled goblet bowls and bottles are a testimony to his extremely high skill level. His highly developed technical skills and uncompromising design aesthetics place Parramore squarely among the very best lampworkers in the world today.”

Fellow glass artist and author Bandhu Scott Dunham writes: “Among lampworkers, some of the most sublime goblet bowls are created by Roger Parramore, who pays respect to the Venetian tradition. His scientifically-derived technique produces simple, dramatic, deliciously satisfying forms.” Though traditionally lampworked glass has been made on a relatively small scale, my work tends to be large. Though much lighter and finer, lampworking can produce a scale comparable to furnace blown pieces.

Growing out of my experiences in the worlds of chemistry and physics, I am not only fascinated with the glassblowing process, but also glass as a material. As a result, I founded The New Color Company. The New Color Company is a playground for me to explore the world of colored glass manufacturing. “Just as in his artwork, Parramore readily displays his masterful abilities when it comes to creating the material itself. His color is recognized around the world for its consistency and quality.” What began as a small pet project has grown into an entity I would have never expected. I am proud of the success The New Color Company has enjoyed, and to realize that from my studio goes a raw material glass artists use in their works the world over is truly an amazing experience.

While I feel it is important to constantly develop my own aesthetic and technical abilities, teaching is a very important part of my artistic experience. “As one of the premiere lampworkers, Parramore enjoys an international respect and reputation, and as a result is able to travel teaching at the most respected facilities in the world.” Teaching will always be a large and personal.

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