Kevin O'Grady (Scottsdale, AZ)
Kevin was born in Munich, Germany. He currently lives in Scottsdale, Arizona where he designed and built his studio to fit the unique medium he works in; lamp worked glass. Being a pioneer in his medium of borosilicate glass, he created most of the tools he works with as they were not in existence anywhere else. Working in a medium that historically only offered a dull, limited color palette forced him to experiment and develop his own proprietary coloring techniques.Kevin apprenticed for Waylon Peaker in Madrid, New Mexico in 1987 where he learned and mastered the art of silver and lapidary inlay jewelry. Kevin has creatively adapted this skill to make unique glass and silver jewelry. He then apprenticed for Ann Miller Wearable Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1988 where he found his passion for creating glass jewelry.In 1989 he ventured out on his own to find and develop his own artistic vision. He is now known best for his beautiful glass bracelets, collectable marbles, and for mastering the art of murrine (pictures in glass) made in the ancient Italian tradition. All of his work is signed and dated with his exclusive signature murrine.Kevin has taught and demonstrated his creative techniques at various venues around the United States: GAS (Glass Art Society), ISGB (International Society of Glass Beadmakers), Glass Expo, Corning Museum of Glass, and has taught students from around the world in his private studio. He was the first to teach borosilicate techniques and was instrumental in creating an entire artistic industry in his medium.He has received many awards through the years including Best in Glass, Scottsdale Center for the Arts (multiple years), Excellence in Artistry Award , 2007, Kalmbaugh Publishing, and the prestigious NICHE Award for Sculptural Jewelry, 2011.Kevin’s work has been featured at the Kobe Glass Museum in Kobe, Japan in 2017, the Baccarat Glass Museum in Baccarat, France in 2015 and has pieces in the permanent collection of the Corning Museum of Glass. His work has been published in many books and magazines.
"I started making marbles in 1993. In the winter of ‘93 I was in Quartzsite, Arizona attending a rock and mineral show where I met some “old school” boro workers making “carnival” glass objects. I had already set up a successful business of making glass bracelets. In the evenings after the shows, we spent time playing on the rather crude torch setup where I started experimenting with difference shapes and trying to make a perfectly round orb. To my knowledge, I was the first to make lamp worked borosilicate marbles, an idea which came to life and form on those crazy nights in Quartzsite. I was fascinated by the results and I was hooked on the challenge of making marbles. That year I experimented and made hundreds of different kinds of marbles. I made everything from pinwheel designs to dichroic galaxies, to ribbons and more. I attempted to do a face cane marble. That first, rather crude, face cane is now part of the Corning Glass Museums’ collection. Later in 1993, inspired by the Hulet sisters face cane marbles, I attempted to achieve the same effect in borosilicate and struggled with success. While trying to put the cane into the marble without distortion, I kept pulling the cane to the back of the marble to straighten it out, what I discovered was the early version of the Vortex. I eventually perfected the captivating illusion of depth that is so fascinating. Over the years I taught and demonstrated the Vortex technique which now has become a borosilicate “standard”.I learned to love working glass while employed by Ann Miller Wearable Glass in Santa Fe, New Mexico in the late 80’s. It was then that I found my passion for working glass in a flame. I soon left her company to explore all the ideas in my head. I have since built my business and reputation on my unique glass jewelry, collectable marbles, and murrine canes. But those early days in dusty Quartzsite, making marbles under that moonlit desert sky have always haunted me and I have continued to chase my marble dreams."