Artist's Biography

Growing up in Berkeley California, I was influenced by the Bay Area ceramics and glass movement, becoming involved with hot glass in 1978.

Initially apprenticing with glass artist Richard Marquis for three years, I then concurrently studied with both Ron Nagel at Mills College and Marvin Lipofsky at California College of Arts and Crafts.

Several years later I had the opportunity to explore lampworking at Pilchuck Glass School, in Washington state. Over the course of three summers, I had the privilege of studying with three excellent teachers; Susan Plum, who introduced me to working with Borosilicate glass, James Minson, who has an innate knowledge of the medium and lastly Cesare Toffolo Rossit. I think it was Cesare who resonated with my own style, using the hot glass tools which were already familiar to me. These summers became a pivotal turning point in my relationship with glass.

I found torch work more autonomous than furnace work, the solitude allowing me to focus. Working alone has helped me define my voice, recognize what it is I want to narrate and share.

Many of my ideas derive from myth and biblical stories, creating analogies between ideas, words, heart and actions. I believe that this vocabulary of archetypal images exist in all of us, like seeds of ancient shared understanding, each viewer comprehending this unconscious language.

Now, more than ever, I enjoy the exchange of teaching, watching students tap their own creative source, being a part of their excitement and discovery.

Sculpture Statement

What moves and inspires my work is most often nature, providing me with

vocabulary and metaphors. I have also come to appreciate how whatever we do,

it influences our art, and becomes relevant to our temperament with the material.

Like molten glass, life is fluid and rambling, a glowing quest sometimes strangled

by thorny branches, at other times filled with light. My lampworking seeks to

embody this emerging tangle of color, light, bodies, branches, nests and leaves.

Many of my ideas derive from myths and biblical stories, a language that exists

in all of us, like seeds of some ancient, shared understanding. What drives my

work are these archetypal images, to which we cannot help but be drawn and

respond. I am interested in holding up those bits of aggregate that have irritated

and worried us inside, pawed over again and again, until they have hardened,

and taken on the likeness of a pearl.

My studies in glassblowing and ceramics have informed my lampworking skills,

giving me a unique approach to the material. I enjoy the autonomy of torch work,

and working alone has helped define my voice, and to recognize what I want

to narrate. My current work – large-scale, almost architectural, and intricately

detailed – seeks to express that shared mythic language we all speak, but which

lies mostly unmined beneath the surface of our awareness. I want to capture the

whole imagination – self and archetype – and take the viewer on a journey into

their own inner landscapes, and the transformation of life’s trials and gifts into a

mysterious discovery.

Sculptures by Janis Miltenberger All SculpturesAll Artists


From Ruth's collection Bird nest Candelabra from 2005

Sculpture by Janis Miltenberger

View Artwork by Janis Miltenberger in Person

Come see these pieces first hand. We are just a short walk from the ferry and an excellent destination for your visit to San Juan Island.

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