We talked to lifelong glassblower Daniel DeLashmutt of Oracle Glass, Inc. about his extensive history working with glass art. Daniel's family hails from Germany, where Daniel lived for much of his childhood, and he was exposed to art glass from a very young age due to the region's rich history of lampworking, crystal glass, and crystal mineral carving. Daniel's uncle was an artist who worked in crystal carving, a traditional art form for which some regions in Germany are famous. Daniel's parents were both art teachers so you could say that artistic expression runs in his family, and as he got older Daniel wanted to find artistic interests separate from his parents. In that pursuit Daniel began to take an interest in glass, and when he was fourteen years old his parents bought him a small torch and a wok full of vermiculite, the bare essentials needed to get started as a glassblower.
Daniel picked up most of his early glassblowing knowledge from books and manuals, and that's how he typically prefers to learn new subjects and ideas. In the early days of his glassblowing career, when he was still just a teenager, there wasn't a lot of information that was readily available for up and coming glass artists. Daniel sought out glassblowing knowledge everywhere that he could, but few artists were very forthcoming or willing to teach anyone, let alone a teenager. In the 1990's glassblowing techniques were treated as closely guarded secrets; in Daniel's own words teaching someone how to blow glass was like teaching them the "million dollar trick" as there was no limit to how profitable that knowledge could be for someone. Now the attitude in the glass industry has changed drastically; there are so many amazing glassblowers in the United States alone that people are more than happy to share what they know, because the community can only benefit from more growth and more amazing and unique art.
In 2002 Daniel Delashmutt opened his studio Oracle Glass, Inc. in Portland, Oregon, and now the studio has seven full glassblowing stations and two lathes. Daniel has been blowing non-stop since he was fourteen years old, and he is constantly striving for innovation and singular distinctiveness. Oracle Glass, Inc. puts a special focus on clean and precise execution of technique, and it's for this reason that one of Daniel's favorite mediums is untinted clear borosilicate glass. Oracle Glass, Inc. also works quartz glass, a difficult and intensive medium which many other studios avoid with a passion, but the resulting products are rewarding and beautiful. Daniel loves creating pieces that can ring like a bell when you tap them or strike them, a feat which can only be achieved in pieces with clean and solid connections that will resonate without breaking.
The cleanliness of Oracle Glass, Inc.'s work is apparent in the products that Daniel is producing. His wig wags and wrap and rakes are astonishingly even and symmetrically designed, and his emphasis on form results in unique designs that could never be mistaken for the work of another artist. Daniel is constantly experimenting and reinventing old forms and techniques, and he loves to revisit trends that have been all but lost to time. His experiments have led him to radically new techniques like the "Glue Tech" that he utilized to create a sword from spare pieces of plate glass that were left over from a previous commission. Daniel is constantly reinventing himself and his art, and he is always on the lookout for inspiration and new ideas and new ways to meet the challenges that are given to him in his commissions. Daniel is largely inspired by the natural world, science, and mathematics and he loves to express these interests in his art.
In the future, Oracle Glass, Inc. will continue to explore the outer realms of what is possible in the medium of glass art. Daniel recently returned from a trip to Hawaii that set his head buzzing with ideas for aquatic themed pieces like octopi and fish, so expect to see more underwater aesthetics from Oracle Glass, Inc. soon. Daniel regularly experiments with function and he has a few projects under his belt like an amazing internal recycler inspired by the fullerene molecules known as "buckminsterfullerene" aka buckyballs. Oracle Glass, Inc. will be doing a live demonstration in downtown Milwaukie, Oregon on September 5th, 2021 so be sure to attend if you're in the area and are able. You can keep up with all of Daniel DeLashmutt's work and events by following him over on the Oracle Glass, Inc. Instagram page.