Sidney Hutter is the Owner/President of Hutter Glass and Light Company in Boston, Massachusetts. He received an MFA in Sculpture and Glass and a Certificate in Art Education from the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. His work has been shown from Ketchum, Idaho to Kanezawa, Japan. And he's in the following collections: Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY; Milwaukee Art Museum; George Washington University, Washington, DC; and the City of Normal, Illinois.
Art is the process or act of understanding and therefore my work undertakes a search towards that end. The objects I create originate form the components of my personal growth, my socialization and overall education. As the ability to understand grows, so in turn does the refinement and complexity of my work.
Interest in design and architecture and a background in glass blowing and glass fabricating form the foundation for a body of work. Some are individual pieces and some are in groups. they describe or question issues of form, space, emotion, and thought. My work is of a decorative nature and at times may be considered challenging and provocative.
The pieces are unified by a continued search of my past history and future and by a concern to share my understanding with others.
Ask the Artist
Where do you get the ideas for your work?
- I was trained in College as an Artist, mainly in Glass. During my student years I researched and studied many forms and types of art. I developed specific interests and insights into Modern & Contemporary, yet Classical Forms and Shapes in Sculptures, Blown Glass, Ceramics, Furniture and Architecture. Through this research and the making of many different objects over the years, I have developed my own vocabulary of visual forms and shapes from which my work evolves. Many of my ideas are a reaction to the material I work with, Glass.
I make objects that suggest containment since they describe vessels yet they hold nothing but the liquidity of light, so that they are an interaction with our environment. I am a Formalist in that I believe in the structures of our environment and try to make my work to add to our enjoyment of that environment.
The Vase series which I have worked on since 1979 has its basic idea taken from that theory of Formalism. The vessels are about form, shapes, structures and the way that these forms and shapes react with the light and color in our environment. A lot of pieces are like magic in that you do not know how they will react to the environment until they are completed and ready for display. Many of my ideas come from thinking of different interpretations of the volume of space that a Vase occupies. This could be described by Horizontal or Vertical lines of 1/2" glass, by 1/4" Circles of various diameters of beveled Glass or by stacked laminations of these basic elements. Many times an idea evolves from working on a piece and thinking I should try this or I ask myself how do I think that would look? A lot of my ideas come from seeing how Glass reflects and refracts light. You can look through, yet at the time see your reflection in the glass.
I enjoy learning, working, and making objects as a way of expressing my individuality and pursuing my lifelong interest in art and design. As I make more work, more ideas evolve from both the work and my experiences so that I am continuously pursuing one idea or another.
Many of my ideas become functional. I make both lamps and furniture which are suggestive of the forms found in Architecture and Machinery. I see a form or shape that I like and then using the tools of my experiences and trade, I make an object that reflects the form or shape of that inspiration.
Do you work alone on your craft, or with others?
- I have several people who help me in different ways to create my craft. I also have an extensive amount of machinery and tools used to create my work.
Do you ever teach, or take on apprentices?
- Yes, I have taught at Massachusetts College of Art and have given many lectures and workshops around the country about my work. I have had many students from Mass Art apprentice with me over the years and several are now working professionally on their own work.
What's the most exciting part of creating your works?
- Most of the time creating is exciting since I am taking an idea and making it into an object. There is that energy of anticipation as to what it will look like. Then finally seeing the finished piece and knowing that it exists for others to enjoy and appreciate is the ultimate in excitement.
What's the most difficult part of creating your works?
- The long hours put into cutting, grinding, polishing and laminating the Glass.
What sort of technology do you use in your work? Has the technology of your craft changed dramatically over the past 100 years?
- My work is based on technology and the modification and growth of those technologies. The Glass I use is a refined type of Float Glass made to simulate Optical glass used in light transmission apparatus. It is made in a state-of-the-art facility. The diamond grinding wheels, and the grinding and polishing compounds I use are from the most current technological findings in the Abrasive and Polishing fields. The Adhesive I use is a recent technological development that is constantly being refined and reinvented. Many of my ideas require that I make or commission someone to make a machine or jig to facilitate producing the work. I am always looking for the best and most modern, effective parts and equipment to accomplish the desired task at hand.
The second part of this question is interesting in that the answer is Yes & No. Many of the techniques and technologies of the past has been discarded or forgotten because of economics or by the fact that the old time craftsmen have died and no one has replaced them.
There are many new ways of approaching Glasswork that are more logical and are both time- and cost-effective, yet at the same time there are plenty of old ways of working that don't need any technological modification. Grinding is grinding and polishing is polishing -- somehow it has to be done.
Do you have any advice for somebody just starting out?
- Pursue your interests and dreams, and work hard, always learning and striving to improve. Respect what has been already been created by others and try to add to that lineage of creativity with your own personal identity and vision.
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?
- "Plastics, son." Seriously, there are no trade secrets. The knowledge is there; you just need to pursue it and know how to apply that knowledge to your specific needs. Why would you want to ruin the experience of discovery and all the excitement that goes with that process by giving out shortcuts to finding the Holy Grail?
What are we missing by experiencing your work through the Internet and not seeing/hearing/feeling/smelling/touching it in person?
- What are we missing? Most of what my work is about. I am a visual artist who makes 3-dimensional objects, and the beauty of my work is to be able to walk around it and experience how it reacts to light, movement and the environment. Descriptions and pictures purveyed through the means of artificial intelligence could never replace the beauty of my glass sculptures.