Interview with Steve Gelb

By James

After several years in the glass game we’ve seen a lot of names come and go but Steve Gelb has been a constant.

Throughout the years his  work has constantly evolved, always maintain- ing a distinctly old school style but with with a new twist in each case. He currently works in the famous “Buttermilk Studios” just outside Ithica NY, a place  that has played host to some of the greatest in the functional glass world.

With Marcel Braun, Jason Lee, Ease and Marbleslinger (to name but a few) all having stopped in over the years, whether to hold workshops or just throw down, it is no wonder that Steve’s never short of inspira- tion.

As a family man, a biker and glassblower Steve is a very busy man but we managed to get him to take a minute out from his busy schedule to have a talk with TY.

How Long have you been blowing glass?

Steve:I began working glass in 1996 (16 years ago) geez

…I’m old.

What got you into blowing glass?

Steve:I’ve always been into doing creative art related activi- ties so when my brother got a job working at a large pro- duction furnace worked soft glass facility in West Virginia, I looked into glass. A furnace set-up is large and expensive so I turned to flameworking. I took a bunch of books out of the library on scientific glass working, bought a cheap torch and supplies and went crazy.

What were your most memorable moments over the years?

Steve: Setting up my first real studio in my barn- my first big sales and feedback. – Watching Brad and a few of the Chameleon Glass guys work glass a year after I was in to it, I felt like I needed to start all over again because they were so fast and efficient. -Working with Tim (Ease) Carruthers


and Eli Zygmuntowicz, those guys had me sweating their technique and were cool enough to show me the ropes! The year I moved to Burlington VT and met and worked with Sean Foley, Frito and Lane, That was a big turning point because we spent every day and night in the studio, working and being super focused on glass all of the time, everyone was always really supportive of each other which helped in making a very creative workspace. Doing demos in front of the full tank store in Burlington.- Last but not least, getting the Buttermilk studio space together here in Ithaca with the Burlington guys and hosting workshops with Robert Mickelsen, Emilio Santini and a bunch of other fantastic artists.

Are you looking forward to coming up to Toronto for the Treating Yourself Expo?

Steve: Yep! Sounds like fun, I’m hoping to make a vacation out of it and see what that area of Canada has to offer for mountain biking if I have time.

Is this the first time performing live like this?

Steve: No, Ive done tons of demos and shows over the

years, its usually really fun. One of the most memorable was an all night demo in front of a bar in Saratoga Springs NY during the week of the horse races. We ended up getting drunk and goose-necking empty wine bottles in the flame for the crowds all night!

What do you get up to when you’re not blowing- glass?

Steve: First and foremost, having fun with my wife and Little Boy hiking and playing in the woods. Otherwise, I have a serious Mountain bike habit, I spend a ton of time riding, building and searching for the hidden downhill runs in my area, we have a strong scene here for it and its pushed me in the direction of trying to get involved with the outdoor industry in one way or another. My glass studio usually has a pile of bikes and a workstand around, we have great downhill runs right behind the studio and a bunch of us get lunch break rides regularly. Our crew is responsible for building and maintaining some of the best trails in the area, cross country and freeride alike…If you ever want a tour, hit me up!

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