Striking pieces like this untitled glass bottle are meant to depict organic movement, says Royce.
“I have a strong feeling that things should be made very well—the craft is what is important,” says glass artist David Royce. In his current work, he combines contrasting hot and cold techniques to mix the elements of fire and water. Luminous and semi-transparent, the glass practically glows.
At 15, Royce walked into Island Glass Studio in Minneapolis, Minn., to ask about apprenticeships after seeing a glassblowing demonstration at a state fair. “I was initially drawn to the medium because it was both dangerous and seductive,” he says. Invited to return the next day, Royce was hooked. He started working at the studio 30 hours a week and attended secondary glass classes at Anoka-Ramsey Community College—all while in high school.
Although he was diverted from his passion for a few years, taking a trip to Taiwan and earning a degree in child psychology from the University of Minnesota, he couldn’t stay away for long. Local studio Foci: Minnesota Center for Glass Arts became his home away from home, first as a volunteer, later as a studio manager. Royce officially set his sights on full-time glassblowing in 2006.
In his current series “Bottles” and “Stones,” Royce blows and sculpts each piece. After it’s cooled, he turns to cold-working techniques like sandblasting, etching and carving to achieve distinctive surface textures. “I like to work through multiple layers of color to add depth, pattern and complexity to the designs,” he explains.
The creation of David Royce Glass in Little Canada, Minn., is his next great venture, slated to open in early 2011. “I hope to build a space where I can be even more creative and take on challenging projects,” says Royce. He plans to create sculpture along with wall art that incorporates steel. “I think there is always room for growth as an artist, but at this point I’m past where I ever thought I’d get to.”
This article was first published in the Winter 2011 edition of NICHE magazine. To see what the artist is currently working on, go to www.davidroyceglass.com