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Paul DeSomma

Paul DeSomma

Artist Statement:

These pieces are the most recent in a series of explorations in clear glass.  The aim is to feature the basic nature of the material an emphasize what glass does so well simply by being glass.

The “ vocabulary” I try to bring to this work includes:

  •  -Clarity
  •  -Light transmission and refraction / optical effects
  •  -Fluid movement of the molten material without excess tooling or excess manipulation

As I engage with this vocabulary, I try to keep in mind these meaningful quotes from some of our finest and most influential glass artists, rare individuals who I consider friends, and masters with whom I’ve had the great pleasure of working.

“ Light exists as the specific quality of the material…the overriding characteristic.”    —Stanislav Libensky and Jaroslava Brychtova

“ Sculpture and glass develop together, without having to imitate other materials”     — Libensky/ Brychtova

“I hope to be true to myself.  To be true to the material.”   — Lino Tagliapietra

Brief Bio:

I began blowing glass in 1983 at the New York Experimental Glass Workshop (NYEGW) in Little Italy, NYC, now Brooklyn based Urban Glass. 

During a 1985 Dale Chihuly workshop at NYEGW, I was chosen to be on the team as assistant to Dale’s gaffer, William Morris.  We hit it off well, and later that year, William ( Billy) asked me to join his team at Pilchuck Glass School during the winter season. 

I relocated to Pilchuck in April, 1986, and acted as Billy’s first assistant for the following six years. His mentorship, coupled with the deep immersion into large scale glass blowing, gave me a very rapid and in depth education.  It was GREAT!!!  During the summer months, I was the Hot Shop Coordinator for Pilchuck, and worked my way into the Gaffer’s bench. 

During this time, I was fortunate to work very closely with many of the Seattle based glass artists closely affiliated with Pilchuck, including:

  • Richard Royal, Benjamin Moore, Dante Marioni, James Mongrain, Charles Parriott and many, many more.
  • A 10 year gaffer relationship with Flora Mace and Joey Kirkpatrick
  • An on going relationship with Dale Chihuly (I currently do Putti and sea life components for various sculptures)
  • Gaffer duties for many international artists including: Donald Lipsky, Nancy Graves, Stanislav Libensky and Jaroslava Brychtova, Kiki Smith, Susan Stinsmuelen-Ahmend, Bertil Vallien, Ulrica Hydman-Vallien, ....many others

During a 1987 research trip to Murano with Billy Morris, I met Maestro Pino Signoretto, and returned the following year to stay and work in Pino’s studio during the winter of 1988-1989.  His work style and aesthetic had a profound effect on me, and I knew I must pursue this type of work.  I worked regularly with Pino in the U.S. and returned to Murano when I could over the next 10 years.  Pino has  been a mentor  to me, and always encouraged me to continue with this type of work.

I relocated to Santa Cruz, CA in 1998 to begin construction on our glass studio. Since 2000, I have owned and operated Blaker / DeSomma Glass with my wife and partner, artist Marsha Blaker.  We produce independent lines of sculpture, collaborative sculpture, production lines and lighting.


2001 Kinsley St.  Santa Cruz, CA  95062  ph: 831-479-0906

Born:  Pittsburgh, PA 1959
Education:  Cornell University  B.S. 1982

Currently:  Owns and operates private glass studio with Marsha Blaker DeSomma in Santa Cruz, CA                                                                           

Selected Exhibitions

  • 2014   Texture and Tension: Morgan Glas Gallery, Pittsburgh PA
  • 2013   Luminescence:  Works in Glass Pajaro Valley Arts Council
  • 2011   Team Blaker / DeSomma Public Glass Gallery, San Francisco, CA
  • 2010   Triton Museum, San Jose CA
  • 2008   Introspection, Expansion: Traver Tacoma, with Marsha Blaker-DeSomma
  • 2008   Glorious Glass: Translucent and Opaque  Curated by Margery Aronson
               The Arts Center, St Petersburg, FL
  • 2007   Reflections of Italy  Pajaro Valley Arts Council
  • 2004   Collaborative Work - Are we Having Fun Yet?   Marsha Blaker and Paul DeSomma  L.H. Selman, Santa Cruz CA  
  • 2003   Museum of Glass Tacoma WA, Residency
  • 2003   Canvas Gallery, San Francisco, CA
  • 2002    “Team Chihuly” Habatat Gallery, Chicago, IL
  • 2001   New Faces in Contemporary Glass  R. Duane Reed, St. Louis MO,   
  • 1998   Contemporary Art Center of Virginia, Virginia Beach, VA  “Art of Glass”
  • 1997  “Heir Apparent - Translating the Secrets of Venetian Glass”   Bellevue Art Museum, Bellevue, WA

Selected Collections

  • Museum of Glass, Tacoma WA, Collection of the Museum
  • The Prescott Collection of Pilchuck Glass Artists,  Seattle, WA
  • Safeco Corp. Glass Collection,  Seattle WA
  • Collection of Jon and Mary Shirley,  Medina WA
  • The Alvord Collection, Seattle WA

Professional Experience

  • 2013  Odunpazari Glass Festival, Eskisehir, Turkey
  • 2002-2004, 1990-1995 Master Craftsman in Residence (Gaffer) Pilchuck Glass School
  • 2003  Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA  Residency with Marsha Blaker-DeSomma 
  • 2002  The Glass Furnace, Istanbul, Turkey  Instructor for Inaugural Session
  • 1998  Visiting Artist, Pilchuck Glass School
  • 1998   Crystal Arts Project, Waterford Crystal, Waterford, Ireland

© 2013 Dane Gallery