We talked with Joe Copeland about the art and business of glassblowing and his personal glass techniques. Joe Copeland started blowing glass while attending community college in 2011, after being introduced to a glassblower by his brother. Joe took a class in basic techniques and was eager to get more experience, so he learned as much as he could from other blowers. He worked in kitchens to make ends meet, but after he lost his job he decided to embrace glassblowing full-time, and in 2012 he purchased a torch and started producing small pieces to refine his skills.
Joe Copeland's first pieces of blown glass were basic mushroom implosions, but he quickly began making pipes and simple functional pieces, eventually embracing more advanced techniques like reticello and fillacello that would become signatures of his style. Joe got exposure to many of these techniques by working a job at DreamLab Glass in Evergreen, Colorado, where he had the opportunity to work alongside tons of skilled blowers.
Much of Joe Copeland's inspiration is derived from a desire to develop a distinctive and unique personal style. He greatly admires his longtime mentor Pete Rock Glass for encouraging him to continually push the envelope of his abilities. Competition, as well, is a constant motivating factor in continuing to develop his own personal style.
Even the unexpected arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic made a contribution to Joe Copeland's signature style; as product sales diminished Joe learned techniques for making spinner carb caps that would become one of his most popular products in 2020, being a simple but effective piece that would help to support him through the worldwide crisis.
Joe Copeland's work often features gorgeous contrasting colors and striking, often faceted, shapes. Reticello and Fillacello, techniques that date back to the Venetian masters, are a few favorite methods that Copeland uses to distinguish his work from the rest. You can check out his incredible work here on his Instagram page @joecopelandglass.