Western Landmark: Encantado

The Santa Fe hotel offers a rich history and unmatched luxury


Wanderings: Santa Barbara, California

The famous city honors its history with red-tile roofs, balconies dripping with Bougainvillea and romantic courtyard fountains

Richard Parrish starts sketching for a new piece in his Bozeman studio.

In the Studio: Richard Parish

Creating landscapes in glass

Written by Michele Corriel  

Michele Corriel

Other Contributions

Synchronicity A Voice in Stone Equus Ones to Watch: Sculptor Carol Alleman Ones to Watch: Artist Kathleen Dunphy Ones to Watch: Jeweler Jesse Monongye Ones to Watch: Michael Ross Ones to Watch: Furniture maker Charise Buckley Ones to Watch: Sculptor Charles Ringer Ones to Watch: David Slonim Ones to Watch: Catherine Courtenaye Ones to Watch: Ironworker Ted Docteur Ones to Watch: Evert Sodergren Ones to Watch: Jacquelyn Bischak Ones to Watch: Guilloume Ones to Watch: David Coffin Ones to Watch: Francis Di Fronzo Ones to Watch: Jeff Pugh Ones to Watch: Geoff Parker Ones to Watch: Troy Collins Ones to Watch: Dean Mabe Ones to Watch: Shelley Muzylowski Allen Illuminations: Ones to Watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Ones to Watch: Architect Tim Belton Ones to Watch: Anne Moore Ones to Watch: Painter Flavia Eckholm Ones to Watch: Clive Tyler Ones to Watch: Weaver Cheryl Samuel Ones to Watch: Painter Gavin Brooks Ones to Watch: Tracy Leagjeld Ones to Watch: Jared Sanders Ones to Watch: Shawna Moore Ones to Watch: Aleta Pippin Ones to Watch: Rene Gibson Ones to Wacth Ones to Watch: Mike Krupnick Ones to Watch: Matt Smith Ones to Watch: Stacy Robinson Ones to Watch: Dean L. 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LaRue Mahlke Ones to Watch: Artist Crista Ann Ames Ones to Watch: Christopher Ries Ones to Watch: Mary Bechtol In the Studio: Richard Parish Ones to Watch: Florian Roeper Ones to Watch: Greg Kelsey Ones to Watch: Andrew Denman Ones to Watch: Sandra Pratt Ones to Watch: Jeff Williams Ones to Watch: Josh Clare Ones to Watch: Daniel Weaver Ones to Watch: Nora Naranjo-Morse Ones to Watch: Marela Zacarías Ones to Watch: Glenn Dean Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Ones to Watch: Artist Jinni Thomas Ones to Watch: Artist Karen Bezuidenhout Ones to Watch: Rory Egelus Ones to Watch: Ceramic Artist George McCauley Ones to Watch: Painter Rick Stevens Ones to Watch: Jon Dick Ones to Watch: Mixed-media Artist Christopher Owen Nelson Ones to Watch: Diana Tremaine Ones to Watch: Josh Elliot Ones to Watch: Doug Smith Ones to Watch: David Barrett Ones to Watch: Howard Knight Ones to Watch: Silas Thompson Ones to Watch: Kristine Allphin Ones to Watch: Chris Morel Ones to Watch: Sherry Salari Sander Ones to Watch: Alan Carr Ones to Watch: Robert Royhl Ones to Watch: Robert Seliger Ones to Watch: Karen Woods Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Ones to Watch: Artist Glendon Good Ones to Watch: Painter Deladier Almeida Ones to Watch: Sculptor Stephanie Revennaugh Ones to Watch: Painter Gregory Packard Ones to Watch: Randy Stromsoe Ones to Watch: Beth Loftin Ones to Watch: Dyani White Hawk Ones to Watch: David Bardwick Ones to Watch: Donna Gans Ones to Watch: Susan Jarecky Ones to Watch: Carrie Fell Ones to Watch: Rose Masterpol Ones to Watch: Bryan Peterson Ones to Watch: Terry Karson Ones to Watch: Lisa Ronay Ones to Watch: Tracy Leagjeld Perspective: Gennie DeWeese [1921-2007] Ones to Watch: Andrew Mann Ones to Watch: Bonnie Teitelbaum Illuminations: Ones to watch Perspective: Frances Senska [1914–2009] Illuminations: Ones to watch Ones to Watch: Artist Ralph Wiegmann Ones to Watch: Artchitect Candace Miller Ones to Watch: Architect George Gibson Ones to Watch: Architect Nick Deaver Ones to Watch: Sculptor Bale Creek Allen Ones to Watch: Painter Brianne Janes Ones to Watch: Danae Bennett Miller Ones to Watch: Mark Edward Adams Ones to Watch: Josh Chandler Ones to Watch: Tony Abeyta Ones to Watch: Robert Spooner Marcus Ones to Watch: Ken Andrews Ones to Watch: Michael Kessler Ones to Watch: Jim Dayton Ones to Watch: Rahnee Gladwin Ones to Watch: Geoffrey Warner Ones to Watch: Gwen Samuels Ones to Watch: Kensuke Yamada Ones to Watch: Michael Greenspan Ones to Watch: Chuck Middlekauff Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Illuminations: Ones to watch Collector’s Eye: Native American folk art collector Bruce VanLandingham
Photography by Rab Cummings  

Rab Cummings

Other Contributions

In the Studio: Richard Parish
April | May 2012

Richard Parrish’s fused glass art studio is about more than color — it’s about texture and surfaces, layers and patterns. Jars filled with sandlike hues, others crammed with pebbled nubs of tones, nearly every available shelf and work-bench fans with glass in its many forms. From rods to sheets to frits and powders, he pulls all these and more into his emerging palettes.

Parrish, a glass artist at the forefront of his field, works on a piece — the first of a triptych — that is slated to be one of the focal pieces in a traveling exhibit underwritten by Bullseye Gallery, in Portland, Oregon, a premiere glass art gallery. His recent work brings together the idea of place, geometry and mapping as well as an exploration of the spirit. Using layers upon layers of kiln-fused glass melded onto a silica fiber sculptural form, Parrish then mines parts of the piece to unearth the layers below.

“It’s a metaphor for looking under the skin,” Parrish says, as he dons a pair of safety glasses and picks up a grinder in his Bozeman, Montana, studio. “What’s under the skin? Everything that makes up who we are.” The layers represent not only what we see and what we don’t see, but it also asks the viewer to think about what can be revealed.

As with Parrish’s bas-relief sculptures, his 1,600-square-foot studio outside of town has grown along with his methods. The large utilitarian space with concrete floors and overhead lighting houses several long tables to accommodate his various simultaneous projects.

Parrish’s large kilns reach up to 1,500 degrees and buzz quietly along one wall. Glass rods, sheets and jars on metal shelves line the opposite wall. The smooth lines of his studio, the clean spaces and open worktables with jars of knives used to cut the glass, and extra lighting for the close-up work give Parrish the blank slate he needs for his complicated pieces.

What we don’t see are the sketches, the first step of the bas-relief sculptures. These are Parrish’s quiet beginnings, something he likes to keep to himself. Yet his progression is evident in an array of pieces hanging in the studio that span the last decade of his work, a fascinating study of his evolution from architecture professor to student to world-renown workshop instructor with his glass sculptures.

His studio space is a reflection of his commitment to never stop growing and to exploring his medium.

Parrish remembers growing up on a farm, watching his father cut through hills and spread out the earth over the lava fields of Idaho. This idea of rows cut by natural rock formations against that which is manmade is reformed in these sculptures.

The grinding, or the discovery part, as he calls it, demands that he be open to the process.

“I create a shell and then I pick pieces off, maybe sift some more powdered glass onto it and fire it a few times,” he says, between bouts of scouring off layers, revealing hidden treasures of color or clear glass, like a window, within the piece. When the silica fiber has been removed and the pieces have been fired several times, what’s left is a rough bas-relief in black and gray.

On a nearby table, Parrish has the other two parts of the triptych laid out. He’s decided on what needs to be subtracted, which lines will continue through the pieces and which will not.

After he’s turned off the water and unplugged the grinder, the piece, 17 inches square, is brought over to the sand blaster.

Looking through the window of the blaster, Parrish concentrates the high-power sand particles on the target areas, as the silica carbide hisses through the pneumatic hose. He flips on the vacuum. When the sculpture comes out, the top layer looks weathered like rocks on the hillside, roughened and aged.

Parrish’s work has gained international recognition, and he teaches workshops around the U.S. as well as across Europe in this, his own technique for creating bas-relief sculptures in fused glass. “As I developed this style and attended a few other workshops, I began to get a good idea of what I’d need to accomplish the kind of art I wanted to make.”

From there, his studio began to teem with more tools, more ways to get to the ideas that lived in his head. In addition to the sand blaster, he added diamond-padded grinders and a few more shelves with metal ledges to show his pieces.

At the thickest point, the triptych will be five-eighths of an inch, but when looking at it from a distance, lined up vertically, it appears much deeper. It really is a study of negative space.

Parrish opens a cabinet beneath his workbench, a peek into what we don’t see when we walk into the studio. Tucked into the drawer are 200 or more squares of inch-thick glass tiles.

“These are my samples,” he says, picking one up. The sides reveal several colors and patterns caught inside the glass, like tiny moments in time. “I just like to experiment with techniques to see what happens.”

It is this ability to experiment — to grasp at an idea and to be open to the results — that has set Parrish apart.

“I’ve always loved bas-relief, everything from the Egyptians to more modern times,” Parrish says, lining up the three panels as they will appear when mounted on the wall. “I’ve been playing with ways to look at these pieces ... maybe from eye-level on a pedestal as if looking across the land.”

Like an inventor or a conjurer, Parrish contemplates the possibilities. So much of what makes him a great artist is reflected in his workspace: the hidden drawers of samples, the layers of glass both opaque and translucent and the open worktables ready for what’s to come. 

"Red River" | Kiln-formed Glass | 9.75 inches

"Tapestry" | Kiln-formed Glass Triptych | 27 x 59.75 inches

"Place: Displace" | Kiln-formed Glass Triptych | 48.24 x 17 x .75 inches

Parrish’s studio contains an ample supply of colored sheet glass; thick slabs of colored glass; hues of shards; jars of pulverized frit.

Parrish uses his sifting method to lightly dust a piece with color.