Visiting glass artist Lowrie, seated, at work at Maho Bay with resident artist Mariel Bass in background.
Lowrie’s creations included a stunning sea turtle, above at left, and “Recycled Heart,” above at right.
With two full time talented glass artists on staff, Mariel Bass and Greg Lee, there is certainly no shortage of impressive artwork fashioned from recycled glass coming out of Maho Bay Campground.
Visiting artist Charles Lowrie, however, brought the glass studio to a whole new level recently. Lowrie wrapped up a three week stint as visiting glass artist at Maho Bay on Saturday, March 16, but not before wowing campers and St. John residents alike.
Five nights a week, Lowrie, Lee and Bass, entertained huge crowds gathered to watch the glass blowing demonstration. Far from just twirling a few rods around, the crowd sat transfixed while Lowrie created sculptural whales, bonsai trees, mermaids, lotus flowers, koi fish and more out of molten recycled glass before their eyes.
Lowrie’s humpback whale creation
Originally from Oregon, Lowrie initially got interested in glass through his passion for music.
“I started as a musician playing tonal glass,” said Lowrie. “I had glasses toned to play different songs and I wanted to recreate andinstrument invented by Benjamin Franklin, the glass harmonica.”
Lowrie began a scientific apprenticeship under James Windsler, where he perfected the art of repairing and recreating different glass apparatus for labs. From there he found the oldest private glass studio in Oregon, The Adler House, perched on the Pacific Ocean, and a love affair was born.
The artist traveled the globe, working with and alongside such greats as West Coast master Dale Chihuly. In 1998 he met Italian Maestro Pino Signoretto and began a five year apprenticeship in Murano, Italy.
These days, Lowrie prefers creating what he calls “sacred sculpture” and prefers to be called a “heartist” instead of “artist,” he explained.
“I’m just making sacred objects now,” he said. “I learned forms and traditional techniques and I really enjoyed learning all these cool, mind-blowing tricks. But I realized that I had more to say as an artist.”
“I realized some artists are more about an economic mechanism, but there’s not much soul searching there,” said Lowrie. “So instead of pulling the veil over your eyes, I lift up the veil to transcend any uncomfortable situations. I work from the heart.”
When he’s not traveling as a guest artist, Lowrie has called Hawaii home lately. After wrapping up his stint at Maho last week, he was due to spend a few weeks in Tortola and will host a show at Brandywine Estates on March 27.
For more information on Lowrie’s work check out www. transcensions.com