Meet Andrew

Meet Andrew

ARTIST: ANDREW GUDGER

Andrew Glenn Gudger is a hot glass artist from Eugene, Oregon. He has been working in glass since the fall of 2002 when he got a job at the Eugene Glass School. Beginning as a receptionist in the gallery having never touched the stuff, he would immediately be bitten by the glass bug and never look back, eventually becoming the Administrative Assistant to the Board of Directors and later an instructor in the hot shop and fusing studio. While at EGS, Andrew took any classes that he had time for and was lucky enough to study directly with such glass notables as Bob Snodgrass, Fritz Dreisbach, Randy Walker, Avery Anderson, Brock Craig, and the great Pino Signoretto. He also observed the classes of many, many more, including but not limited to Karen Willenbrink-Johnsen, Marcel Braun, Ross Richmond, Cesare Toffolo, Milon Townsend, Robert Mickelsen, and Randall Grubb. Blessed to be thrust into the presence of some of the greatest glassmakers of our time, he did his best to absorb as much as possible.

In November of that first year, he was drafted into the ranks of the Charles Lowrie glass blowing team, pulled into running doors for three hours on a giant 30+lb blown Buddha sculpture as he was walking by the studio after finishing work in the gallery. He would continue to work with Charles whenever he could, working his way from running the doors to work torches, then bits, color setups and turning pole. Andrew continues to create with Charles, making art and playing music whenever they are together.

He left EGS to work full time in the hot shop, spending many days at Luvisi Glass with Sky Cooper and at EGS with many different Gaffers, but most notably with Charles, eventually accompanying him on many adventures on Glass Tour across the United States and to Maui. Andrew returned to Eugene in 2007 to deal with some health issues, and was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. After a few years studying Philosophy and Art History at the U of O while taking powerful medication to maintain remission, he retreated from the world to find a way to return to good health. With the help of much support from good family and friends, he found the way and is maintaining great health medication-free thanks to a strict SCD diet, exercise, and supplement regiment.

Over the next few years he worked as much as possible without having a studio to call home, always coming out of hiding to help Marcel to large-scale boro demos when he came down to the Degeratre Flame Offs held at Cornerstone and renting time at a few studios around Eugene to make his work. He continued to work for many Hot Glass artists based around Eugene, usually when a team needed to go big or make some large-scale sculpture and requires extra hands.

Andrew then took over as the Administrator of the Cornerstone Teaching Facility. It marked his return to the glass scene.  He then launched The Gudger Hot Shop, located within that facility, and thanks to the generosity of Justin and the Cornerstone team, as well as many friends through a kickstarter campaign, founded and maintained the first hot shop in the Eugene Whitaker neighborhood.  When Cornerstone moved on from being a glass to an event management organization, The Gudger Hot Shop continued in partnership with Kaleb Folck and Delene Peralta, two of the finest boro sculptors on the planet, until health concerns made him close up shop.  A power issue restricted growth in the facility, so now that space continues to house those two as well as Nathan Belmont and Kimmo, making it one of the premiere torch working studios anywhere.

At this time, aggressive surgery was recommended that would probably ended Andrew’s glass career, but due to a mistake by the Health care system and Mckenzie Willamette Hospital, his doctor was sidelined and the procedure delayed so long that he was left to try and do the best he could.  After  extensive research and an all liquid diet comprised of raw goat milk, kiefer made from the milk, bone broths made from wild game, and various herbal nutritional supplements for over 6 months, he was able to try and get back to work.

While at the Gudger Hot Shop, before his health went south, there was some installation work that was created for the Coca-Cola corporation.  There is an installation of blown glass balls that were made from melted down coke bottles that fills the lobby of the International Head Quarters.  The installation was created by Savoy Studios of Portland, Oregon, and they reached out to hire Charles Lowrie to do the actual blown balls.  He then reached out to Andrew to create the first examples, then all of the 4”  spheres required (made solo by Andrew), numbering over 300, that hang there to this day.  Charles then flew in to Oregon to make the 10” spheres at a larger studio with Andrew and the team’s help, and the whole group traveled to Seattle to make the 15” spheres that also hang in Atlanta. 

A few years later he would use the extra work he had created to get juried into The Oregon Country Fair, to have a booth full of recycled glass art.  After getting granted a booth, he would set shop back up in Sky Cooper’s space that once held Luvisi, and work for 31 days straight making recycled coke bottle are from the extra bottles left over from the coke project that he had stored.  Thanks to Noble glass, he was able to make many bongs from that glass, using their downstems and bowls, and make himself a popular destination at the OCF, where he still exhibits his work and sells recycled glass bongs every year.

As his help improved he also started to work for Noble on the production line.  At first, he could only work short days, but as his stamina improved, he could work full shifts.  And then, he would work weekends as well, using the extra studio hours to practice the designs he had spent so many hours learning.

These days, Andrew works in the hot shop six or seven days a week, maintaining and improving his skills, many days when the crew is not working,  splitting sessions with Ben Silver, the two helping each other make their work and pushing the envelope of what they are capable of in the medium.  He also uses the technique developed over thousands of years into the Murano method, and adds those elements to Bongs in his Bongs Guardian series to make unique smokable creations that are pretty rad. 

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