After working 35 years as an engineer at Tektronix, native Oregonian Bob Heath retired to spend full time pursuing his passion for creating glass art. His first foray into the world of art glass creation was with stained glass. Over the years, Bob has explored just about every possible way to manipulate glass, from torch-work to sand-carving, finally settling on glass fusing as his primary technique.
Oregon is home to many glass artists, due in large part to the presence of several of the world’s major manufacturers of raw art glass materials and numerous glass schools. This has given Bob the opportunity to study with many of the leading artists in the field including; Avery Anderson, Patty Gray, Marty Kremer, Richard LaLonde, Peter McGrain, Robert Oddy, Stan Price and Raphael Schnepf. Bob has been an active part of the Oregon glass community, serving on the board of directors of the Oregon Glass Guild since 2005, and as its state president in 2012 and 2013.
In 2014, Bob was honored to have one of his works selected as a finalist in the prestigious Bullseye Emerge Glass Competition which is a bi-annual, international event to recognize and reward emerging glass artists. In addition to the Bullseye Gallery, Bob’s artwork is part of many private collections throughout the US and has been featured in exhibitions at many galleries, including the Portland Museum of Contemporary Craft and the Portland Mayor’s office.
My engineering background expresses itself in my glass artwork, both in terms of design influence and in the precision and attention to detail that I strive for in my glass creations. I prefer to create artwork that is functional, as well as beautiful. My work is typically very colorful and often features geometric patterns with strong lines and sharp contrasts.
I really enjoy working with the process of fusing glass and like pushing the envelope to try and accomplish things beyond the ordinary. Most of my work is carefully planned, starting out as a detailed drawing. I use this stage to try out multiple variations on each idea and to think through the steps that I will use to implement the design in glass. In many cases, the complexity of the design requires that I start by creating multiple individual components that are fused separately, and then cut and shaped before ultimately being fused together to create the whole. After the work is fused, it is cold-worked to achieve a professional finish on the surface and edges that brings out the inherent beauty of the glass.