Jennifer Nauck began experimenting with blown glass in 2003 at Glassworks Studio and Gallery in Estes Park, Colorado. She became a full-time production artist for Glassworks in 2007, specializing in functional artwork such as vases, bowls, wine glasses and, most recently, garden art.
“I love the way glass blends effortlessly into natural environments,” said Jen. “Although blown glass is ultimately human artifice,” she said, “its evolution is organic. The combination of sand and minerals with fire and human breath—inspiration—forms a fluid work of art that, I hope, reflects the beauty and simplicity of the natural world.”
Jen works with molten soda-lime glass from a 2100 degree furnace, shaping it with heat from the Glory Hole, gravity, and a few simple tools that have changed little in close to 2000 years.
“Blown glass is truly an ancient art,” she said. “While the technology has improved since the Syrians invented the blowpipe, around 50 A.D., glassblowing tools and techniques have changed very little. It gives me the feeling that I’m connected to a tradition that, at first, supplied a very basic human need—the need for containers, for vessels. Glassblowers met that need and then took it further, evolving functional work to the level of art. I’d like to think of myself as a keeper of that tradition.”
Jen became part of that tradition later in life after following several other career paths. Born in Colorado and raised mostly in Ohio, she received a B.A. in English from Wittenberg University and a Master’s in English from Rice University. But her most exciting and fulfilling education came on the job, when she began working for Garth Mudge at Glassworks Studio. She got her first taste of glass making lampworked beads and jewelry. When Glassworks changed hands, in 2007, she became a full-time glassblower, producing work for the shop as well as her own pieces, which she recently began selling in shops and galleries in the West.
“When I blow glass,” she said, “I rely on efficiency and fluidity of movement to create simple, elegant, well-balanced pieces. My designs have evolved as my understanding of the glass has evolved—understanding how the glass holds heat, how it moves at different temperatures, and what it naturally wants to do.”
“I strive for balance in my personal life, as well as my work,” Jen said. “I trade hours at the glory hole with hours of quiet contemplation in the mountains and good times and great music with friends. I’m a huge fan of old-school honky tonk and bluegrass music.” The rich Front Range music scene provides lots of chances to head out for some dancing, a microbrew or two, and some great music. She practices yoga and is interested in organic gardening, sustainable living and alternative energies. When the mountains beckon, Jen and Hector like to climb mountains and carve telemark turns in the pristine powder of the Rocky Mountain backcountry.