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Born in Wisconsin on Pearl Harbor Day, 1956, I am the youngest of three children. At the age of six, my family settled on Mercer Island in Washington state. My childhood was the picture book ideal raised in a quiet island community cradled by rugged northwest mountain ranges. I began working with oils and pastels at age six and progressed to ceramics in high school. While studying mechanical engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle, I also taught ceramics at a local community center. In 1981 I graduated with a BSME and I began working Civil Service for the United States Navy as an assistant nuclear engineer aboard submarines. James Nowak James Nowak Nightly, armed with a security badge and radiation monitor, I searched the bilges of reactor compartments for obscure valves. Often, I conducted tests on reactor components and recorded measurements from various dials and meters. Following a brisk shakedown with a Geiger counter, I would sail across Puget Sound from Bremerton to Seattle to pursue my alternative life. Working nights as a nuclear engineer, my days were available to pursue glass. Studying at the Pratt School of Fine Arts in Seattle and later at the Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood Washington provided a foundation to establish a studio of my own. Isolated in the Southern Oregon coast wilderness for over a decade I developed my own unique style, heavily influenced by the raw grandeur of the maritime Pacific Northwest. The current studio location provides a lively backdrop to the robust diversity and activity of Seattle??s international district. Here in my home town resides a core of glass workers to rival any in the world. This proximity to the abundant knowledge and skilled artisans provides the necessary fuel to propel my work in new directions. Sixes Or Studio, 1978 I learned to blow glass using the team approach. Because of this I had the good fortune of working with several very talented Northwest artist like Dale Chihuly, Flora Benjamin Moore, Richard Royal, Dante Marioni, William Morris, Karen Willenbrink, Stephan Dale Edwards, Joey Kirkpatric and Mark Eckstrand, These individuals have greatly enriched my understanding of glass. One of the most influential to myself, Dale Chihuly, provided me with the tremendous opportunity of working on one of his winter glass blowing teams held then at Pilchuck. A coordinated glass team is poetry in motion. Like a well choreographed dance each person has their part. Mine is to lead the group and with their assistance, execute the piece. Every piece and all the design on it is personally hand formed by myself. With my signature comes my vision and takes with it a little part of me. Sixes Or Studio, 1978 ?? 200
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