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May 2011

Lowcountry Artists, Ltd. in Charleston, SC, Features Works by Robert Clair & Stephen Hazard

Lowcountry Artists, Ltd. in Charleston, SC, will present the exhibit, The Power of Glass, featuring works by Robert Clair and Stephen Hazard, on view from May 28 through June 11, 2011. In this, perhaps the largest showing of art glass ever to be seen in the area, viewers may expect to see a monumental display of many colored, blown pieces as well as fused and etched pieces, which will push the envelope as far as furniture with glass panels.

Art and nature are two passions that have consumed Robert Clair since an early age. Though he has never received any formal art training, he has sought out and created opportunities to learn from established artists and master craftsman in the US and abroad. Clair’s vision arises from his upbringing, awash in the wonders of life in the South Carolina Lowcountry and the frequent adventure that growing up there provides.

Clair’s primary early work was in painting and illustration. After extensive travel and artistic exploration around the world, he worked with master potters and kiln builders in Japan, opening his own studio there in 2003. Upon returning home in 2005, he was presented with the opportunity to breathe new life into his vision as he met a local glass artist with a slot open in his hot shop.

For Clair glass blowing strikes a balance between his own waterborne origins and the volcanic nature of wood-fire ceramic work, between the colors of his early acrylic paintings and the subtle decorative traditions of Japanese ceramics, between the blue-green seas that bore him to the adventures of his youth and the red orange fire that while burning hot, glows softly in his heart.

Stone and glass materials and their beauty are created by the earth in periods of time that defy human life-spans. Mimicking the processes that occur in the core of the earth, the artist is able to create the materials and manipulate them into desirable forms in a much shorter period of time. Beauty is born from the heat and pressure of the glass furnace. Within the context of the work, each glass blowing session is an opportunity to dance with gravity to a 45 minute composition and produce a three dimensional visual representation of that process.

This show is the product of four years of working as an assistant in the hot shop of his teacher and glass blowing mentor, Herman Leonhardt, being paid in hot, clear glass and studio time. “Over the years of blowing and accumulating glasswork, I have come to realize the power of the pieces as a group, the richness of the colors and forms combined and in proximity,” says Clair. “Together they have not only beauty but a resonance and a living presence.”

Steve Hazard’s art draws upon Africa’s rich and diverse artistic traditions from the past, but thrusts the viewer in the present and the future. From patch work quilts of the South, West African sculpture and ceremonial masks to the complex patterns of multi-cultural textiles, Hazard creates iconic art works that captivate the viewer and transports him to sacred, ancient and/or lost cultures, while allowing the viewer to possess a bit of history in functional contemporary glass art. He has established a distinctive style at the intersection of art and design using cubistic abstracts from traditional and contemporary world art to create functional objects, jewelry, sculpture, wall pieces and furniture. Hazard’s dense abstract compositions with overlapping graphics reflect his continuing exploration of geometric patterns and color harmonies seen in art from many cultures.

Since 2005, Hazard has been creating works in fused glass by piecing together original abstract compositions from colorful fragments individually cut, shaped, and sandblasted with geometric patterns. Next, the pieces are kiln-fired; first to fuse the glass together into panels, and then fired again to shape the vessel.

With blown glass, all design decisions about a piece must be completed and executed in a matter of minutes before the glass cools and cracks from thermal shock. However, the design work for fused glass is all done cold, before the glass is fired in the kiln. Time used during the design phase can take minutes, hours, or days if necessary. As a fused glass artist, Hazard can exercise a wide variety of design options and combinations in the creation of each piece. He now has the option to make furniture using clear glass and colorful fused glass, alone or in combination. This has led to an exploration of metal working, with a full metal shop - using welders, plasma cutters, grinders, and polishing tools. Works created for this show include etched crystal; kiln formed and etched glass, fused glass objects, wall pieces and sculptures, tables with fused tops and etched clear glass tops.

Hazard is constantly refining his techniques, processes and tools to develop greater mastery and increase his skills for manipulation of glass and metal. In this way he has greater freedom to create new forms and structures. In recognition of his exceptional work as a designer, Hazard has been commissioned to create art works in glass for US Presidents Bush, Clinton, and Obama, as well as numerous other dignitaries and personalities.

For further information check our SC Commercial Gallery listings, call the gallery at 843/577-9295 or visit



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