2019 Spectrum Acquisition: Amber Cowan
Amber Cowan creates fantastical assemblages of pressed glassware, paying ode to the history of glass manufacturing in the United States from Tiffany to Fenton Art Glass. Cowan gets her materials from now defunct glass factories, flea markets and thrift stores. Her process involves flameworking, blowing and hot-sculpting these recycled pieces, giving them a second life. The glass that the artist works with comes from the early to mid-20th century, an era that saw a lot of changes in technique and quality. Her pieces chronicle the many types of glassware being produced during that time.Embracing both the past and present, Cowan’s work challenges the idea that the ornamental doesn’t deserve recognition in the contemporary art world.
Currently teaching in Philadelphia at the Tyler School of Art, Cowan has been working with glass over fifteen years. She received both her MFA in Glass/Ceramics from Tyler in 2011, and her BFA in Three Dimensional Design with a concentration in Glass from Salisbury University in 2004. She has taught at schools around the country including The Pilchuck Glass School, Penland School of Crafts and The Studio of the Corning Museum of Glass. Cowan was the recipient of the 2014 Rakow Commission from The Corning Museum of Glass and her work is in the collections of The RISD Museum, the de Young Museum of Fine Arts in San Francisco, the Speed Museum, Louisville, KY and The Shanghai Museum of Glass. She has also exhibited around the country.