There’s something about sculptures made of glass that is fascinating; maybe it’s the shimmering effects when the light bounces off them just right. Or maybe it’s the mystery of how a material so delicate and fragile can be shaped into three dimensional pieces with curves or angles.
Glasswork is a highly specialized art form that takes dedication and persistence to perfect the craft. Some people are just born with an innate ability to create. For hand-blown glass artist Michael Hudson, he knew at a very young age that art was going to be an important part of his life. Growing up, he was always making something…whether he was drawing, cooking or sculpting; using his hands came naturally. Luckily, his parents caught on to this. They supported him from the beginning and always made sure he had opportunities to use his talents.
His interest in working with glass was sparked by watching the actual process of how it’s done. “Taking a molten liquid and being able to transform it into something amazing in a matter of minutes rather than hours or days,” he explained is what did it for him. Glass became his passion.
After graduating from Southern Illinois University, he returned to Louisville, Kentucky, where he moved as a young child. Michael’s professional career now spans 20 years in the making… no pun intended.
Fifteen of those years were spent working, teaching and of course, learning at other studios, including three in the Louisville area. Thanks to his vision and desire to help others pursue studies in art, he helped create the Hot Glass program at the University of Louisville.
In 2013, Michael realized something; he was tired of working for other people. As an artist, he didn’t want to be held back by restrictions of someone else’s studio. This was also when he began creating his own line of glass to sell to other galleries and gift shops. It was definitely time to branch out on his own. Timing was perfect. One of his former bosses was ready to retire after running her studio for 25 years. They worked out a deal, he took it over, and has been thriving ever since.
Michael’s glass work has taken him all over the country from coast to coast. He travels to shows every year in Philadelphia, Atlanta, Washington D.C. and New York. Not just anyone has access to attend the show in New York. Michael’s talents did not go unnoticed, and he has had the privilege of being invited to participate numerous times. “It’s the one I’m most proud of,” he noted.
It helps to have other experienced artists to learn from. Lino Tagliapietra, Dante Marioni and Dale Chihuly are three famous glass artists that help keep Michael inspired. He has great respect for their work, which ultimately led him into becoming as artist.
Some of his hand-blown glass creations include Aquatic Treasures like fish and seahorses, Functional Desktop Art such as pen holders and paper weights, decorative items and giftware. About the same time he took ownership of the studio, he added Judaica to his repertoire. The previous owner was making a menorah and he redesigned it. There was a huge demand for it, and Michael knew that he could create beautiful pieces for use in Jewish homes everywhere; including right here in Memphis.
Luckily, his glass can be found locally in the T. Clifton Gallery at 2571 Broad Avenue. Upon stepping inside, you’ll quickly realize why Michael’s glass work is sold, not only there, but in over 300 galleries and gift shops all over the country.
While he truly enjoys selling to these many places, it can be repetitive in that he makes the same pieces over and over.
So where does Michael see himself in the next five years? “I would like to continue what we are doing but add more custom one-of-a-kind work into the mix,” he explains. His goal is to grow his business to the point where he can spend more time on creating unique custom pieces. There is no doubt that he will achieve this goal.
After seeing his glass work in person, Michael Hudson’s talent is highly evident. The movement and color in each piece are so fluid and vibrant like water flowing freely in the sunlight. His creations add drama, mystery and whimsy to whatever space they adorn and are most definitely good conversation pieces. He is truly a master of his craft.
It’s worth your time to seek out his work. His website https://hudson.glass will give you an idea of the vast array of pieces he creates. More than likely, there’s a place near you that carries his glass to view it in person. The art world is certainly a better place because he is in it.