/ Modified oct 3, 2013 3:36 p.m.

A Closer Look at Glass Art

Tucson artists Tom Philabaum opens the doors of his workspace; shares his trajectory with the material.


Tom Philabaum started working with glass in 1971. Four years later, he opened his studio, Philabaum Glass Gallery.

He works with glass the way some artists would work with clay, using heat instead of water to make the material flow. The furnaces in his studio are at a temperature of more than 2,000 degrees fahrenheit.

"Twenty-four hours a day for 11 months a year, that thing is on, eating gas," Philabaum said.

He keeps himself busy as a gallery owner, promoter, and co-founder of the glass school. Most recently, he's been collaborating with glass artists Wes Hunting and Wesley Hunting to create an exhibition at his studio called Wired.

"It's just a tremendous amount of experience to be around," Wesley said of working with two experienced artists.

For the exhibition, the three have been working on wrapping different kinds of wires around glass pieces to create large, reflective pieces.

"The interiors just are incredible," Wes said. "There's a lot going on inside. It's kind of happy accidents."

Philabaum describes glassblowing as hard work. In the past he has created large glass pieces that weighed over 30 pounds, but now he tends to lean towards smaller, two-dimension pieces.

"I've had two back surgeries, two knee surgeries, a foot, shoulder, so I've been through my share of injuries," Philabaum said.

In-studio interview with glass artists:

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