Rick and Valerie Beck

Rick Beck

MFA/Glass, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, 1989
BA/Art, Hastings College, Nebraska, 1982

Valerie Beck

MA Coursework/Educational Psychology, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, 1987-89
BA/Human Svcs Adm & Political Science, Hastings College, Nebraska, 1982

These pieces are about the repetitive patterns around us. Patterns found in nature, man-made, simple, complex, or chaotic. The alternating colors of a checkerboard or the brilliance of a beach ball. Old wallpaper or the lines and veins of a leaf. All of these are fascinating to us and this is what we have tried to capture on these vessels.

A thick graal shape is blown and placed in an annealer. After it has cooled to room temperature the surface is prepared and painted with enamel in three layers, firing to 300 degrees between each layer. After the third firing, the graal is picked up hot on the end of a blowpipe, then gathered, shaped, and blown out.

The work is a synthesis of human and mechanical, with an emphasis on formal aspects. The smaller work tends to be object specific. Relationships, space, and reading become important. I first became interested in this aspect when I started studying the nuts, bolts, and screws that I would toss on the table, searching for the one that I needed. This ritual act was like throwing dice, or tossing bones.
-Rick Beck

Our blown glass work consists mainly of vessels with imagery. The images are based on dreams, experiences, and other things that affect us. They range from the sublime to the ridiculous. I enjoy the physical presence of the work, its size, shape and color. These vessels both document our lives and provide beauty and pleasure. -Valerie Beck

Valerie has been a designer and assistant to Rick since 1984. Rick has conducted numerous workshops and they have both been artists-in-residence at Penland School of Crafts, North Carolina, (1991-94) and have also been instructors there.