Hot Island Glass is a creative partnership between Chris Richards and Chris Lowry, two of the leading glassblowers in Hawaii. Both artists have been involved in the studio/gallery since Bill and Sally Worcester founded it in 1992 as Maui’s first hot glass facility. In 2000, Chris and Chris became the owners and principal artists of Hot Island Glass, and on most days, visitors will find them there creating stunning, one-of-a-kind works of art. The work can be seen in their gallery, as well as in many other galleries in Hawaii and on the mainland.
Located in Makawao, a historic and quaint rodeo town in Maui’s beautiful Upcountry, Hot Island Glass has become a favorite destination of Hawaii’s art-loving visitors. Customers return year after year to peruse the gallery and watch the artists fashion high-quality vessels and unique sculptural pieces, many of which reflect the rich colors and forms of the Hawaiian Islands.
Chris and Chris have successfully shown their works, individually and as a team, in several notable exhibitions throughout Hawaii. Most recently, their work was included in Fire to Form, an invitational exhibit of contemporary glass by artists either working in Hawaii or with ties to Hawaii mounted jointly by the Contemporary Museum on Oahu and the Hui No‘eau Art Center on Maui.
Originally from the Seattle area, Chris Richards is one of Maui’s foremost glassblowers. His work can be found in fine art galleries and private collections all over the world.
Coming from a glassblowing family, Chris Richards made his first piece of glass at the age of eight. His professional career began in 1992 under the tutelage of his aunt and uncle, Sally and Bill Worcester of Kula, Maui. He went on to apprentice in the studios of several well-known Seattle artists in the mid- '90's, before returning to Maui to buy the Worcester's Makawao studio and gallery, Hot Island Glass, in 2000 with his friend and business partner Chris Lowry.
One of the most prolific glassblowers on Maui, Chris works in his studio five days a week, year-round. His ethereal, lifelike jellyfish sculptures are a favorite of visitors to the studio, as well as his life-sized pinapples and many-hued vases, bowls, and platters. As his vision has evolved over the years, he has consistently adhered to high standards of quality and design. "The integrity of the piece is very important to me", he states. "If it’s not quite right, I do it again. Glass endures; it's worth the trouble."
When he's not in the studio, Chris loves to play PUBG, dig holes, spend time partying with his wife and five children, and working on their land where he grows tropical fruits and non-organic vegetables and making useful things out of junk.
In May of 2000, Chris and his long time friend Chris Lowry bought Hot Island Glass. Chris welcomes all glass enthusiasts to visit and view his latest work. Chris’ work can be found at Hot Island Glass as well as other local galleries.
With his career in glass beginning as early as age seven, Chris Lowry has spent most of his life improving his art. Functional glass with a strong aesthetic appeal, his work has been described as "natural" and "captivating." In his words, Chris states, "My work has a strong personality. A piece should grab your attention and then be able to keep it."
Growing up in his father’s glass shop on the Northern Oregon Coast. Chris became serious about his art at age 18 when he moved to Oahu. Working as an assistant teacher to glassblower Hugh Jenkins at Punahou School, Chris found himself with the freedom to explore the different possibilities glass had to offer. Feeling more like a student himself, Chris credits Hugh as being his first real teacher, "Hugh taught me that fundamentals are essential in every art form and if you don’t have those fundamentals you limit your capabilities."
With the skills learned on Oahu, Chris' move to Maui and a job with Bill and Sally Worcester at Hot Island Glass taught him the importance of developing a sense of marketability. A desire to blend his sense of marketability with his own personal creativity took Chris to Alfred University in upstate New York. Earning a Bachelor’s Degree of Fine Arts with emphasis on Blown Glass and Steel Sculpture. Chris’ natural talents were confirmed as he took top awards upon graduation.
Throughout his career, Chris has made it a point to learn from other experience glassblowers. Studying under master Pino Signoretto at Pilchuck Glass School and numerous teachers at Penland School of Arts and Crafts has helped open new avenues for Chris to explore.