Collaborating since 1984, glassblowers Paul Willsea and Carol O’Brien create unique works in glass. First acclaimed for their large 35″ multi-colored sculptural platters, they have since achieved national recognition for the timeless beauty and elegance of their Pyramid Series, bowls and vases hand-blown in a wide variety of rich colors with cast-glass pyramid bases, and for their multi-colored bowl and plates in the Crackle Series.
Willsea & O’Brien were both born and educated in New York state: Willsea at Alfred University and the Pilchuck School in Washington state, and O’Brien at Alfred University and Hamilton College. After moving to California, they worked in glass and ceramics until they formed Willsea – O’Brien Glass. Their educational backgrounds in history and fine art combine with their continuing interest in architecture and the effects of time and wear, help the success of their business and passion.
With demand for their work far exceeding supply, Willsea and O’Brien have intentionally chosen to keep their business small. Each piece is made by them. What you hold and enjoy is the produce of an artisans willingness to make a lot of mistakes and learn the potential of their material.
The best techniques often are the hardest to master. In the Pyramid Series, which combines the strong forms of solid casting with either a tall fluid vessel or a smooth bowl, is magical and perhaps the greatest challenge was the marriage of the solid cast form tot he blown vessel in the molten state.
Today, Willsea and O’Brien reside in upstate New York where they live and work on nineteen acres in the beautiful finger lakes region. Their motivation is the never ending search for the right color, the perfect proportions and a profound gratitude that they can support themselves doing something they love.
The appreciation that people like yourself have for fine handmade objects helps to keep them, just like many artists, going.