Eric Bladholm was introduced to glass at the young age of 11 and has pursued, and been pursued by, the enigmatic material ever since. After completing a BFA in glass/Fine Art at California College of the Arts, Eric started his own glass studio in Chicago, where he has continued working since the late 1980s, producing his own art glass and fulfilling commissioned works for the hospitality industry. Independent studies with both American and European glass masters inspired a love of different cultures, along with childhood experiences living off the grid in rural Wisconsin, forged his unique explorations of functionality, scale, and perception. Extensive anthropological travels, and photography, also influence his use of color, texture and illumination in glass. His work has been shown nationally and internationally, and has been included in shows at the Swedish-American Museum (Chicago), Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art (Chicago) and the Idea Museum (Phoenix AZ), and exhibited at Fine Craft shows Like SOFA Chicago, American Craft Council shows, and Smithsonian Craft Show. Eric’s commissioned works can be seen in cities around the world, including Hamburg, Germany (East Hotel), Chicago (Cheesecake Factory in the Hancock Center and also Wildberry Restaurant in Water Tower Place), and St. Louis (Marriott Renaissance) and also many private collections.
Eric Bladholm’s glass creations straddle the space between Fine Art and Fine Craft, while embracing the human touch and formative process. With his diverse art background and extensive travel, especially in Eastern Bloc regions, influences range from nature and architecture, to history and culture. Using the lidded vessel form, Eric’s work definitely answers the question of ‘what do perfume bottles want to be when they grow up?’. Utilizing both the team and solo methods of working with molten glass, and with skills honed from his early training with Czech and Italian glass masters in the 1980’s, Eric’s standard implements, beyond traditional glass pipes and hand tools, include various blow torches, slabs of moving metal and custom built glass melting equipment. Three decades of dedication to the sculptural vessel form, and the intimate, refined vocabulary that has developed over those years, are the engine that powers Eric’s continuing exploration of the possibilities glass, and other materials, bring to his artistic visions.