Josh Simpson celebrates 50 years of glass artistry with new book
Josh Simpson uses a tiny kiln to make miniature satellites for his planets and megaworlds. Simpson will be autographing his new book during the Oct. 7 Gallery Walk at Vermont Artisan Designs on Main Street in Brattleboro from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Josh Simpson celebrates 50 years of glass artistry with new book

BRATTLEBORO — Internationally recognized glass artist Josh Simpson, who started his career in Vermont, will be signing copies of his new book at Vermont Artisan Designs during the Oct. 7 Gallery Walk from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Simpson, whose “possibly inhabited planets” and “megaworlds” are staples of his outer-space-inspired artistry, wrote the book with co-author Sue Reed to celebrate his first 50 years of turning glass into art, according to a news release.

“It's a treat for us to host Josh at the start of his fiftieth anniversary celebration,” Greg Worden of Vermont Artisan Designs said. “We've been working with Josh for more than 35 years and always have a nice selection of his glass.”

Through more than 500 photos and narration by the artist, this visual experience reveals the evolution of Simpson's glass art throughout his career. In-depth looks at his several signature series and experimental works illustrate how Simpson has continually explored new ways to express-in glass-his fascination with outer space, the natural world, and the workings of the universe.

Throughout, text and photo spreads narrate the story of Simpson's glass, details of his life and process, and his contributions within the craft world. Text by glass experts, including William Warmus, Tina Oldknow, and Nezka Pfeifer, supplies additional views.

In addition, comments from numerous museum curators and insights from astrophysicists and space flight professionals present unique perspectives on the meanings and broad appeal of Simpson's glass.

Simpson notes, “Molten glass consists of sand and metallic oxides combined with extraordinary, blinding heat. The result is a material that flows like honey. When it's hot, glass is alive!

“It moves gracefully and inexorably in response to gravity and centripetal force. It possesses an inner light and transcendent radiant heat that make it simultaneously one of the most rewarding and one of the most frustrating materials for an artist to work with.

“Most of my work reflects a compromise between the molten material and me; each finished piece is a solidified moment when we both agree.”

Simpson has been a stalwart in the American craft movement. He was a founding member of the Craft Emergency Relief Fund (CERF). In 1985, he and Carol Sedestrom Ross, then president of American Craft Enterprises, started what is now known as CERF+.

“Artists in the craft community wouldn't see each other for a whole year-and we would discover that somebody's barn had burned down, someone had been in an auto accident, or someone's van had been broken into and they had lost all of their crafts,” according to Simpson.

They recognized the inherent generosity within the craft community. Artists would pass the hat during shows and exhibitions in support of fellow artists dealing with emergencies. CERF+ was founded to expand this grassroots effort and has since provided almost $2 million in financial assistance and more than $400,000 in donated services to professional artists in craft disciplines nationwide.

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