William Bernstein (aka Billy)
William Bernstein (aka Billy) does not have an image.
William BernsteinAmerican, b. 1945
William and his wife Katherine both grew up in New Jersey and met while attending art school in Philadelphia. They married in 1968, and anxious to leave the city, they accepted Artist in Residence positions at the Penland School of Crafts in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.
Two years later, they moved to nearby Celo, North Carolina with their newborn son Josh. They moved into a log cabin, planted a garden, and set up a studio in Celo Community, a land trust located on the beautiful South Toe River. They settled in. Their second son, Alex, was born in 1972.
In the early years, Katie worked in hand built porcelain and Billy, very influenced by Scandinavian and colonial American glass design, started producing a variable line of goblets and sculptural pieces. In 1971, Billy, together with glass pioneers Mark Peiser and Fritz Dreisbach, took part in planning and hosting the first meeting of the Glass Arts Society. This organization has since grown into an international organization with over a thousand members.
In the mid 1970’s, glass master and educator Harvey Littleton moved to the area and he quickly took an interest in the young artist’s work. He insisted that Katie’s sculpture in clay would translate beautifully into glass. To make his point, he took several of Katie’s clay originals back to his studio and cast them in crystal. The results were wonderful, and Katie started working exclusively in glass.
By the 80’s, both artists had established themselves as major forces in the glass world, but to keep their studio running they needed a steady flow of sales which eventually brought them together on a line of goblets and tableware. Katie supplied the imagery with melted glass colored rods, and Billy formed the result into a vessel. This combination proved very popular and received wide recognition in design journals and magazines. They continue to produce these pieces today.
Currently, both Billy and Katie produce individual pieces for gallery shows and collaborate with two assistants on the functional work. Their oldest son Josh is a physician, and their son Alex is a respected glass artist; both live in Asheville, NC. Katie and Billy remain content in the log cabin with their huge dog Murphy.
[Source: Artist's Website http://www.bernsteinglass.com/about/]
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