Glassblower and lighting designer Tracy Glover’s soft hanging pendant chandeliers, globular floor and table lamps, and colorful vases and cups can be found around the world and have been featured in publications like Elle Décor, Art & Design, House & Home, House Beautiful, and Luxe magazine – just to name a few. The Virginia native’s early studies in architecture and studio arts brought her to New York City, a thirteenth century Belgian convent’s crystal factory, as well as Dale Chihuly’s Pilchuck School in Washington state. With such cosmopolitan reach, why did Glover choose Pawtucket as a home base?
Glover graduated from RISD, but Rhode Island appeals for many more reasons. “I have a network here,” she says. “I have a huge studio that you could never have in New York.” Another huge factor is her rowing, a sport that Glover took up through the Narragansett Boat Club. She describes the hobby as “probably as important a part of my life as my work, so I don’t want to leave either network.”
When the weather permits it (i.e., when the river isn’t frozen), Glover rows six or seven days a week, and also travels out of state for racing competitions. The morning sunlight on the water helps to inspire the vibrant colors and dancing light that she captures in her glassblowing work. She is also influenced by Vermeer, Klimt, and J.M.W. Turner. Glover admires his and similar watercolors in particular, because “the glass I use is transparent, and when pieces overlap, they create new colors” - just like painting with watercolors.
Glover initially studied architecture in Virginia and then moved to New York, where she pursued several fellowships out-of-state with painters, sculptors, and other fine artists to try to figure out what she wanted to do. She saw a photograph of a woman blowing glass in the RISD catalogue and “it was so intriguing,” she says. She transferred to RISD and decided to try this “once in a lifetime thing, and I just got hooked on it.” In a unique twist of fate, years later Glover had her work photographed by Providence’s talented Ira Garber. She told him about the photograph that inspired her to pursue glassblowing; “I took that photograph,” was his response.
“So I came full circle,” Glover says.
Dale Chihuly, an inspiration for glassworkers worldwide, influenced Glover through his choosing to work with a team of people. She currently employs three glassblowers and three studio assistants, and enjoys “watching the pieces [of a project] come together” while she directs it and does all of the design work. She designs a lot of custom chandeliers and site-specific pieces through a 3D computer program to show clients “patterns and possibilities” and to get a sense of how different components will interact with unique lobbies and stairwells.
Tracy Glover Objects and Lighting’s creations are primarily sold through architects and designers at the custom level, but Mancini Lighting in East Greenwich offers by far the best local retail selection; some pendant lights are also carried in the RISD Museum Shop.