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JOEL BLOOMBERG OFF-HAND WORKED FLORAL SERIES of canes and flowers; two to right are unfinished but all have been fumed; while left example has been sawn, ground and polished before being made into a necklace.

Joel Bloomberg


glass arts

 


 

Continuity and change mark every artist’s life. In 1985, Joel Bloomberg and his wife Judith Werick were among the first makers of glass cane beads we covered, when glass jewelry was just in its ascendancy in America (Ornament, Volume 8, No. 3). Both of them blew and pulled canes, while Werick combined their straight cane beads with metal into jewelry. When she passed in 2001, Bloomberg did not make much new work for a decade, although his mother-in-law continued making glass jewelry with his canes. He learned glass at nearby Palomar College, then went to California State University, Chico, where William Morris, now a retired but internationally known glass artist, was a fellow student, as well as many others in the American studio glass movement.

Now re-married, Bloomberg and Margaret Eisenbach still run Joel Bloomberg Studios on the coast highway of Encinitas, California, since 1980. It is a part of northern San Diego which has not changed much for decades, in what is called a whiz-by zone, since most of the traffic is automobiles, not pedestrians. The small but cheery gallery is filled with functional and sculptural glass. The furnace and lehr are located behind the gallery, with the furnace fired every other month for two or three weeks. Since the furnace is in an open area, glass cannot be blown when it rains or if the Santa Ana winds are passing from the desert to the ocean. Designed and built by Bloomberg, it holds one hundred fifty pounds of glass; the most expensive part is loading and fining the glass, due to the high heat required.


 

 

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