Made in Minnesota

Melding Mediums

Glass artist Marlo Cronquist explores the intersection between abstract and functional pieces

By Megan Gosch
Thu, 2017-03-30 14:35

Marlo Cronquist took her first official glass blowing class at FOCI-Minnesota Center for Glass Arts five years ago and never looked back. She was hooked.

“That’s all it took. Just one class and I knew that was what I needed to be doing,” she says.

The Minneapolis-based glass artist first studied furniture design and sculpture at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Graduating in 2001, Cronquist worked coast to coast in a variety of fields before moving back to Minnesota and immersing herself in the small but passionate glass art community.

She has since studied at the Corning Museum of Glass in New York with Bill Gudenrath, and recently returned from several stints in Italy where she learned from renowned maestros such as Davide Salvadore in the small town of Murano (the art form’s birthplace). Cronquist’s latest work features murrine design, an Italian technique of working with color patterns.

Yet, Cronquist still feels there’s more to learn. “Every time I blow glass I’m learning something new. It’s the most difficult medium I’ve ever worked in. It’s so challenging and it’s ever-changing. The possibilities are limitless.”

While much glass art is created with a clear function or purpose, Cronquist enjoys creating pieces without a clear objective. “I love when people look at my work and say to me ‘What is it?’ It’s sculpture and I love the way that changes how people interact with a piece.” In the future, Cronquistaims hopes to focus on creating functional glass pieces while utilizing her background in other mediums. “I’d like to move towards incorporating glass work into furniture and find unexpected ways to combine aesthetic and function in a new way. Something nobody’s done. That excites me in my work,” says Cronquist.

Though Cronquist is relatively new to glass art, she understands that for most the art form is still a rather mysterious process. While she continues to learn and refine her technique, Cronquist also hope to educate those outside the glass art community. She’s taught classes through the Minnesota Center for Glass Arts and has posted videos and descriptions of the step-by-step process she uses in each piece she creates. “There’s much more to the finished product than meets the eye. I want people to understand the thought and work that goes into each piece and hopefully inspire others to try it themselves.”

Her art can now be found in local and national galleries. Cronquist also creates custom pieces through private commissions. Find out more at marlocronquist.com.