Glassblower Waranch honing skill set for bright future career
By Shari Stern
Special to the TJP
In addition to “mind-blowing,” “breathtaking” might be the best way to describe Simon Waranch’s glassblowing work. Each of the artist’s glass pieces is a handcrafted, one-of-a-kind treasure.
The 2017 graduate of Booker T. Washington High School for the Visual and Performing Arts was on a freshman trip to Italy when, while in Murano, he became enamored with the art form of glassblowing.
“I went to a glass hot shop studio and watched glassblowers immersed in their art. The physicality mixed with the creative was me,” Waranch said. “I was hooked. I knew it immediately … (but) the one form of art Booker T. doesn’t teach is glassblowing.”
He found Carlyn Ray Designs and took classes at her studio, Dallas Glass Art. Ray invited him to be an apprentice.
“Simon came to my studio as a young art student in high school and after seeing glass, he fell in love,” Carlyn Ray said. “In the beginning, as he was developing his skills, what stood out to me was his awareness and sensitivity to his environment.”
Waranch was on her production team, assisting Ray with her work. After a year, Ray offered Waranch a position at her studio.
Today Waranch is a glassblower and instructor of the art form.
“I learned the skills through classes and on-the-job training,” Waranch said with pride. Today Waranch is in his first year at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit.
Ray’s business work has three elements: Carlyn Ray Designs, Dallas Glass Art and a nonprofit educational component Art Reaching Out (ARO). The organization focuses on high-risk kids, especially young women. They are given instruction in glassblowing. Waranch has taught some of those classes.
The young man’s work is not sold at retail or wholesale, but is commission-based in fine art galleries, and can be seen at high-end installations, both residential and corporate. His first major installation is in the new Gardere Wynne Sewell LLB Law Offices on McKinney Avenue. On two floors, hanging from the ceiling down a hallway at varied lengths, are what Waranch calls “Mercury Drops.”
“Their fluidity is mesmerizing,” he said. “My inspiration for Mercury Drops was the Bean in Chicago.” The Cloud Gate Sculpture, also known as the “Bean,” is one of the highlights of Chicago’s Millennium Park, designed by artist Anish Kapoor.
“With Mercury Drops, I wanted to create an organic form that brought an unusual peacefulness in the setting and that attracted human interaction. Your eyes look up at an individual shape and mirror a perception of yourself from multiple points of view, sometimes distorted, sometimes accurate.”
In May, Waranch created a commission project for the Hotel Versey in Chicago, and in August he did a commission installation for a renovated Embassy Suites in downtown Baltimore. His organic work is not only interesting to look at from all angles, but also to touch. “All of my pieces are free-blown, not using molds,” he explained.
Ray continued, “At Dallas Glass Art, we teach both with encouragement but also if your goal is to strive to be a glassblower, we provide real-world life lessons into the process. These lessons Simon experienced with us and through taking various classes really helped him grow as a person and artist, and accompany his passion and drive to further learn glass. Simon has the drive, love for the material, and business mind to become a successful artist.”
The entrepreneur added, “Simon is an expressive and passionate person and has chosen the material of glass as his muse. He is developing his language to speak through this material, but the message is out. Simon is creating his path and sharing his milestones with Dallas as he develops his works of art. I am looking forward to seeing where the relationship of Simon and glass will go and what will emerge from this fiery passion.”
Regarding his future Waranch said, “My goal is to grow my business as well as my skills with glass. I want to be considered a maestro before I’m 25.” The 18-year-old continued, “I want to open up my own studio in Dallas within the next four to six years. I love what I do. I have found I am happiest when working with glass, and just as happy when someone purchases my glass. Glass pushes me as a person because there is always something new to learn.”
Waranch will have his first one-man show Dec. 2 at LMB Art Glass Design with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. The gallery is in the Arts District at 1644 Irving Blvd., Dallas.
To enjoy Waranch’s work online, visit simonwaranch.com and lmbartglass.com/collections/simon-waranch. To contact the artisan, reach him at email@example.com or by phone at 972-742-9055.