About the Designer

KT Hancock is an artist based out of Seattle, Washington. Graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Jewelry/Metalsmithing and Sculpture from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Hancock studies themes of adornment within her work.  Upon graduation, Hancock began her career as a metal’s specialist and glass/metal lighting designer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was during this time that Hancock began her assistantship at Cergol Forge and began forging steel. It was shortly after that Hancock attended Pilchuck Glass School for the first time and ignited her love of glass. After receiving scholarship, Hancock continued her education at Penland School of Crafts in the Ironworking and Woodworking studios and moved on to apprentice at Cherrywood Flameworking studio in Austin, Texas. Upon completion of her apprenticeship, Hancock moved to begin fabricating for Smith Shop Detroit. During this time in Detroit, Hancock fabricated architectural glass and metal lighting fixtures while assisting with production blacksmithing.  Currently Hancock is working as the toolmaker for Spiral Arts, adjunct instructor at Pratt Fine Arts Center and is the founder of Velvet Nugget Studios.

Hancock’s explorations of adornment can be found through the creation of jewels and jewelry-like objects. Adornment of the body has been under investigation through centuries of making. It is this mark of preciousness, beauty, sexuality and esteemed value within the pieces that draw the audience and maker in. The repetition of these shapes through history has perpetuated the cultural identity of gemstones being something of high value. There is an inherent preciousness in the forms of gemstones that is highlighted by these encased glass objects. Through the isolation of a cultural obsession of gemstones and their contributions to status, this work is a study on what Hancock believes to be valuable. Hancock’s work takes a more utilitarian approach to objects and their value and focuses on the principles of object reconstruction and fabrication. Within this, the functional value of an object is completely removed. This kind of display of an object alters the perception of the viewer by removing any sort of original value, and replaces it with a value of materials and charged sentimental recognition. Through the use of steel structures, the glass conforms to the general cage shape. However, there are moments where the glass pillows outwards, distorting and manipulating the general contour of the gemstone. The use of glass and metal is metaphorical for life and its preciousness. The metal cage creates a structure to support the encased glass, but also endangers the glass that is within it. The steel structures create guidelines for the glass to inhabit and provide moments of strength. When the glass breaks through the contours of the cage, the blown out areas display moments of fragility. It is the contrast between these two elements that Hancock finds the most exciting and relative to the life we live. Two atoms in a molecule inseparably combined.


Craftspersons of Velvet Nugget Studios

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Brent Rogers

Brent Rogers was born and raised in Seattle, Washington where he has worked as a production glass blower and designer at Glass Eye Studio. Rogers has been an active member of Studio 5416 since its opening in April 2010. Rogers has worked as an intern at Benjamin Moore Incorporated and has continued his practice through educational facilities such as Pratt Fine Art Center and Pilchuck Glass School. Rogers was awarded a residency at Pittsburg Glass Center in 2013 where he created a body of work in collaboration with Granite Calimpong. Rogers is scheduled to teach at Pilchuck Glass School in 2018 alongside Jeff Ballard, and has a history working in various capacities at the nonprofit educational facility. Through these methods, Rogers continues his relationship within the academic realm. In 2017 Rogers created the glass studio "Dug Out Glass" with colleague Danny White. Currently working as a researcher for Glassy Baby, LLC, and promoting his own artistic endeavors through Dug Out Glass, Rogers continues to push himself within the medium.


Taylor Ames

Taylor Ames was born and raised in the Seattle, Washington area. Beginning his career at Seattle Glassblowing Studio, and currently working at Dale Chihuly's Boathouse, Ames has worked at a number of different glassblowing studios throughout Seattle. Ames has worked for artists such as Dan Friday, Jason Christian, Dale Chihuly, and James Mongrain. With an interest in audio and glass, Ames explores work around the ideas of reverberation and sound. While attending Pilchuck Glass School, Ames studied under Mark Zirpel and Abram Deslauriers where he further developed these audio investigations.


Karsten Oaks

Born and raised in the suburbs of Minneapolis, Karsten took an interest in the arts at an early age. He started playing music when he was 10 years old and went on to play a variety of instruments. As the son of a trained chef, Karsten grew up learning an appreciation of working with his hands in a creative way, and he enjoys cooking to this day.

In high school Karsten took as many art classes as he could. When he was 16, a friend introduced him to glassblowing as a medium and he traveled to Tennessee to take his first classes. This sparked the beginning of Karsten’s love of glass as a means to express his artistic vision.

Karsten received his B.F.A. in glass from the Appalachian Center for Crafts in 2008. There, Karsten was greatly influenced by his mentor Curtiss Brock, who also instilled in him the value of hard work. He initially was interested in blowing glass but when he was 20 he found that his ideas could be expressed more precisely and clearly through cold working. Immediately after graduation Karsten moved to Seattle with the goal to work with some of the best artists in the field of glass.

Karsten currently does freelance work for a number of artists which began in 2009 when he landed a job working for Martin Blank. Martin taught Karsten to create in a less regimented way than he learned at college and to trust his instincts. Since then, Karsten has done cold working for both John Kiley and Lino Tagliapietra. In fact, he is currently the only person in the United States who cold works Lino’s pieces.

In 2012 Karsten built his current studio in order to create work uniquely his own. He has been showing his work since October, 2014.