David Willis: Daisies

May 4 - August, 2016 

David Willis: DaisiesSpring will be in full bloom at Museum of Glass starting May 4 with the opening of David Willis: Daisies, an installation by Portland-based artist David Willis. Made during Willis’ Visiting Artist residency at the Museum in May 2012, these super-sized glass daisies will adorn the Grand Hall through August 2016.

The installation is a portion of a larger installation of glass daisies, Picking Up What I’m Putting Down, which includes towering flowers that play with scale and the viewer. As a flameworker, Willis often works alone and on a small scale. His 2012 residency gave him access to the Museum’s world-class Hot Shop and the expertise of the Hot Shop Team, which allowed him to greatly increase the scale of his project, resulting in flowers meant to give the visitor the impression of walking through a large forest.

“In the Pacific Northwest, we are surrounded by such abundance of majestic trees,” notes Susan Warner, Artistic Director at Museum of Glass. “This glass forest of flowers will be truly spectacular and also demonstrates the importance of teamwork in glass."

For Willis, the piece has multiple meanings. “I am interested in scale, for many reasons. One being that it is a simple metaphor of how I see my place in the world. I am small. My favorite moments are when I feel beauty around me in a big way, so I like to create immersive environments to work within. With the Daisies I got to study beginnings while talking about endings, watching elements of the work come together to take the form of falling apart. This type of connection is interesting to me, so this has been a fun project and I’m happy to have the opportunity to share the work with so many people.”


About the Artist

The artwork of David Willis is inspired by the natural world, and speaks to the relationships that people have with nature, and the complex beauty of forms we see in our everyday life. Willis uses glass in a cross-disciplinary manner. His body of work includes, and often combines, flameworking, hot blowing and sculpting, large-scale sculpture, botanical models, mixed media, cold assembly, and installation art.

Willis earned a BA in Social Change from U.C. Berkeley in 1992, with a minor in Conservation and Resources Studies. He has been working in glass since 1994, when he began an apprenticeship with flameworker Bob Snodgrass. After completing his apprenticeship, Willis went on to study with and work as a teaching assistant for Roger Parramore. He attended Pilchuck Glass School from 1997-2005 as a student, teaching assistant, and flameworking studio coordinator.

Willis' work is included in public, private, and museum collections nationally and internationally. He has been an instructor of flameworking at locations including the Pilchuck Glass School, the Corning Museum of Glass, Penland School of Crafts, and the Niijima Glass Art Festival, in Niijima, Japan.


Image Credit: Photo courtesy of Museum of Glass.

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