Our stunning 2017 Show Bead is the creation of Stuart Abelman, who has been an exhibitor at the Show since 2005 — and who created the 2006 Show Bead.
Stuart’s artistic ability was recognized at an early age, giving him the opportunity to study sculpture and painting as a young man. By seventeen he had quite an impressive portfolio. He was accepted to Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania where he studied fine art for four years and there received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
It was in his senior year at Carnegie Mellon University that he first saw the brand-new glass department. It was love at first sight. He devoted his entire senior year to glassblowing. Stuart then entered the graduate four-year Master of Fine Arts program at U.C.L.A. in California and proceeded to study and blow glass for four more intensive years. He received his Master of Fine Arts from U.C.L.A. in 1976. By 1976 he had already created a body of work that was finding its way into art shows and galleries.
In Stuart’s last year at U.C.L.A., El Camino College in California called to ask if he would run their glassblowing department. He did this as well as developing a flat glass program for them.
After several years as a college instructor, Stuart realized that although he loved teaching, he did not have the time to create in glass all of the ideas he found himself constantly sketching. In 1977 Stuart left teaching and spent much of that year building Abelman Art Glass studio:
Furnaces, pot furnaces, re-heating furnaces, annealing ovens, glassblower benches. In that same year, the first furnace was lit at the Abelman Art Glass studio in Southern California.
Although glassblowing was one of Colonial America’s first industries and enjoyed great popularity during the Art Nouveau period in the late 1800’s, hand-blown art glass had all but disappeared from the American art scene until the 1970’s. Stuart Abelman was one of a select group of pioneering studio glass artists who saw the magic and challenge in glass and set about taking the medium further than ever before.
Stuart uses his own formulas and the finest silica sand to ensure the purest quality glass possible. Each piece is made entirely of hot molten glass and is worked and completed at the furnace. All the colors and design patterns are formed from the hot glass. No paint is used. Many of the beautiful colors are made with gold, silver and other precious metals.
Stuart’s glass pieces are shown in galleries and museums around the world and have become permanent additions to museum, private and celebrity collections here and overseas. His work is in demand not only for its technical expertise, but also for its creativity and originality.