Sonja Blomdahl | Crimson/Green Blue
Sonja Blomdahl

born 1952
Resides in Seattle, Washington
Photograph by Russell Johnson

Biography     Statement     Ask the Artist     In the Studio
Sonja Blomdahl received her BFA in 1974 from Massachusetts College of Art, and studied at the Orrefors Glass Studio in Sweden in 1976. In 1983, she built her own hot glass studio and has worked as an independent artist in Seattle since that time. Internationally, her work is included in numerous private and public collections including the Museum of Decorative Art in Prague, the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York and the Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC.

Her work has recently been including in a number of books, including Northwest Originals: Washington Women and Their Art.


As an artist my focus has been with the vessel. In the vessel, I find the form to be of primary importance. It holds the space. In a sense, the vessel is a "history of my breath": it contains the volume within. If I have done things correctly, the profile of the piece is a continuous curve, the shape is full, and the opening confident.

Color is often the "joy" in making a piece. I want the colors to glow and react with each other. The clear band between the colors acts as an optic lens; it moves the color around and allows you to see into the piece.

For me there is still much to explore. The relationship between form, color, proportion, and process still intrigues me.

Ask the Artist

Where do you get the ideas for your work?

History, nature, other artists, my own experiences.

Do you work alone on your craft, or with others?

I have one assistant when I blow glass...and others to help with "the other stuff" of running a studio business.

Do you ever teach, or take on apprentices?

I teach workshops, mostly at schools and summer programs. I hope my assistants learn something but prefer they have experience and to pay them.

What's the most exciting part of creating your works?

The thrill of putting into the annealer a piece that went smooth to make and seemed like the best piece I ever made.

What's the most difficult part of creating your works?

A day when everything seems to be "off" frustrating and taking care of everything else that isn't the creative part...but allows me to do it.

What sort of technology do you use in your work? Has the technology of your craft changed dramatically over the past 100 years?

Not much tech directly in making the work. Electricity and stereos allow us to rock out (or set the mood).

Do you have any advice for somebody just starting out?

If you love it...keep at it.

Can you share a "secret of the trade" with us--something nobody else knows or that you found out only after years of experience? Put another way--what do you wish somebody had told you when you were just starting out that might have saved you hours of wasted effort?

I have learned and discovered many "things" about glass and myself by doing it day by day for 20 years. They aren't secrets and I pass them on freely. There is no "key" idea that would work for everyone.

What are we missing by experiencing your work through the Internet and not seeing/hearing/feeling/smelling/touching it in person?

The real energy, concentration, sweat, risk, heat, decisions, excitement, timing and time that goes into blowing glass.

Suzan Scianamblo Benzle Akira Blount