As often as we hear of creative students growing up in Maine and moving abroad to pursue their intended careers, we hear many success stories of those who return home to the great state of Maine to continue fine tuning their art and craft, and bring with them industry and new ideas, making Maine a truly beautiful and enriched place to call home. As is the case with Maine Crafts Association member Joseph Webster, the namesake behind Biddeford-based Joseph Webster Glass.
A Portland native, Joe attended Deering High School and through its art program was selected to attend Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. Raised in a family of architects that supported his creative endeavors, Joe pursued his passion for art, fine craft, and design after high school, where after a gap year working part time in a glass studio, he attended and graduated from MassArt, Massachusetts College of Art and Design.
When it came time to open his own studio space for the creation of functional, design-oriented (and truly breathtaking) glass objects, he chose the growing Pepperell Mill Campus in Biddeford, which is now home to approximately 200 Maine based businesses including other Maine Crafts Association members. The incredible space, backdrop to process videos gone viral and open studio sessions will soon be a place for community learning through a series of two-hour beginners’ glassblowers classes, welcoming all experience levels to try their hand at learning this delicate yet intense and exhilarating craft medium.
Q&A With Joseph Webster
Q: When did you know working with glass was how you wanted to make your livelihood?
A: I have always known that glassblowings is what I wanted to do. Glassblowing really has the wow-factor and the process hooked me from day one.
Q: Who would you say are your most influential teachers/mentors?
A: My most influential teacher was definitely my college professor, Alan Klein who has since passed. Alan retired the same year I graduated. We were both like minded people which made things between us pretty special.
Q: Why did you choose Biddeford as the place to call home for your studio?
A: I always knew after leaving Maine for college that I wanted to come back. I assumed it would be in Portland, but after looking around and realizing how unaffordable and different Portland had become since my leaving for college, Biddeford really made sense financially as well as having the feel that Portland had before the major developments in the downtown area.
Q: Are there any additional community groups or activities you’re involved with that you’re really excited about?
A: I am not involved as I would like to be due to the time required to maintain and operate my studio, but I am a huge fly fisherman and support the organization called Trout Unlimited (TU) as much as I can. TU is the countries most involved organization for fisheries conservation and education. Maine is very special to me for the outdoors opportunities it offers. I hope to be able to give back some day.
Q: Do you have any big plans for the future of your craft business?
A: I would like to expand the educational workshop offerings as well as develop and expand my own work.
View Joseph Webster Glass on exhibition at Maine Craft Portland February 7- March 28, 2020. Opening Reception: Postponed due to weather – Date TBA!
Learn more about Joseph Webster glass, shop his new online store, and view available workshops and classes, as well as schedule of upcoming events on his website.