THE HISTORY OF SATAVA ART GLASS
Richard Satava designs and creates each one of a kind piece, all from glass that he has formulated and made himself. Through his own exclusive color formulas he is able to create rich arrays of colors by blending various metallic oxides such as silver, cobalt, selenium, cadmium and others into the molten glass. Widely known for his brilliant red, rich blues, metallic blacks, aquatic looking blues and greens and others, his creations are sought after all over the world.
In all his works, Richard achieves remarkable detail and dimension. While a piece is on his blowpipe, his torch melts colored rods of glass to create precise images on the surface or suspended within layers of clear glass. Each piece is blown and shaped without the use of molds, then signed, dated and numbered.
STEP ONE - STUDIO
In our studio we have two melting furnaces, one clear crystal furnace and one- color furnace with five crucibles each melting a different colored glass. Over the years we have tried and used numerous manufactured glass in all forms (powder, frit, cullet, pellet, etc.), as well as, our own in-house colors. In the end the majority of colors we use are made in-house, but we nonetheless keep trying new product, experimenting with new formulas, with the goal of always trying to improve what we make and how we make it.
STEP TWO - INSPIRATION AND DEVELOPMENT
Once Rick has an inspiration, like seeing the jellyfish at the Monterey Bay Aquarium or the bamboo that is just outside the studio, he does light sketches, thinking about the colors or the techniques necessary to make the idea work. After that a lot of prototypes, everyday looking at how the day before made the piece come together, what he likes about it and what he doesn’t, then continuing to build on that until the end product that best encapsulates his original inspiration is achieved.
STEP THREE - PRODUCTION
The process can vary depending on the type of piece being made but using the example of making a jellyfish sculpture we start with a gather of clear glass on a blowpipe. With a different rod, colored glass is gathered and trailed over the clear start to form the tentacles, followed by rolling and picking up the underskirt of the dome and lastly topping it off with the dome color itself. Shaping and forming the whole time, while adding clear layers to create the design. Every time glass is added to the piece it is then heated to melt the glass together. Once the jellyfish is complete on the blowpipe, we then shape the sculpture into its final form. The Jellyfish is removed from the pipe and put in an annealing oven that will slowly cool it over 24 hours. After the annealing process the piece is ground and polished, signed and numbered, then it is logged into a ledger book that we keep permanently.
STEP 4 - SHIPPING
Once the piece is signed it is brought over to our shipping area where it is examined for quality, thoroughly cleaned and boxed with registration card.
MEET THE TEAM
OWNER AND CREATOR, RICK SATAVA
Richard Satava was introduced to glassblowing in 1969 while at Oceana High School in Pacifica, California. He subsequently studied art and glassblowing at the College of San Mateo and California State University, Chico. As important as the skills that he learned while taking courses was the experience he received at California State University, Chico by being a technician for their glass shop. In 1977 he established his own Northern California glass studio called Satava Art Glass.