Harvey K. Littleton | Blue Orchid . . .
Harvey K. Littleton

born 1922
Resides in Spruce Pine, North Carolina

Biography Ask the Artist
Harvey Littleton attended the Brighton School of Art in England. He lives in Spruce Pines, North Carolina. Littleton is one of the country's most important teachers of glassmaking. He was named Professor Emeritus of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1977. In 1982, he received an honorary doctorate from the Philadelphia College of Art.

His work is found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, in Kyoto, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Decorative Arts Museums in Prague and Vienna.

Ask the Artist

Where do you get the ideas for your work?

Generally from the previous piece.

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

I have two to three assistants when I am working.

Do you ever teach, or take on apprentices?

I have retired after a 30 Year teaching career. I believe that the American educational system is incompatible with apprenticeship in the true sense of the word.

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

When they are almost finished.

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

Finishing them

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

The technologies associated with making glass began some 5000 years ago and are constantly changing.

Do you have any advice for somebody just starting out?

Be prepared for hard work.

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?

There are "discoveries" but no secrets. Once a piece is created it is no longer "secret" unless it is never seen. Art is a visual experience, a personal expression, not a technique.

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

Changing light. Glass plays with light and changes continuously.

Melvin Lindquist John Littleton