Northern Waters Glass is a cooperative effort between Katie Lancaster and Zach Wiese. Drawn to the ethereal, fluid and translucent qualities of glass, we began working borocilicate glass in 2009 in Ashland, Wisconsin, on Lake Superior. Living in such a remote area, we were forced to rely on research and self-teaching in order to progress, lending us a unique style.
We began small, making little beads with the most simple of torch setups, and were immediately hooked. Soon after, we invested in a more intricate setup to begin working in larger, hollow forms. As our progression with working glass grew, so did our knowledge of glass’ own fundamentals. We eventually learned to “feel” the movement of glass, and work along with its own desire to move in certain directions, based on heat base, gravity, and centripetal force. Like becoming in tune with our natural surroundings on Lake Superior, we became in tune with the flow of hot glass. In our art pieces, flow is critically important, and is reflected in our styles as our main focus. While we plan ahead on what type of pieces we are going to create, and the colors that will be used, the final design is sometimes not what we intended, but what the glass became.
In 2010, we built our own studio in Ashland, Wisconsin. By carefully balancing between the hobby and our full-time jobs, we were able to build up our tools and skills enough that we decided to become full-time artists in November 2011. In October 2012, we moved our studio to Marquette, MI; Zach’s hometown and a town we have both fallen in love with. Between the stunning natural surroundings and the supportive locally-focused community, we have truly felt our creativity grow. This path has led us to a fairly simple artistic approach; trust the flow and personality of glass, acknowledge that each new technique will require practice, make sure to take time to study the artistic beauty of nature and it will all reflect in the finished piece.