Sidney Hutter: Cool as Glass

For nearly four decades, Hutter’s cold glass sculpture techniques have pushed the boundaries of the medium.

About Sidney Hutter

Sidney Hutter was born to Samuel and Harriett S. Hutter in Champaign, Illinois, on September 17, 1954.  He received fine art, art education, drafting training and degrees from the following schools and institutions:

1975: The Pilchuck Glass Center, Stanwood, WA
1972-1977: BS in Art, Illinois State University, Normal, IL
1980: Lowell Institute of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lowell, MA - Drafting Training
1977-1979: Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, MA - MFA in Sculpture & Glass
1980-1981: Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, MA - Fifth Year Certificate in Art Education

Post graduation, Sidney became an instructor at Massachusetts College of Art, Boston University and in Boston Public Schools and a consultant for a lighting design company. 

In 1980 he founded Sidney Hutter Glass & Light in Boston, MA. He later moved his studio to its current location in Newton, MA. He has spent the last 35 years creating sculptures which combine fine art and glass craft with commercial processes used in architectural glass, adhesive and pigment industries.  

His work is included in numerous private and public collections as well as major museums in the US, including the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Art and Design in New York and the Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC.  In 1993, White House Vase #1 became part of the White House Craft Collection and he has created projects for the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Hong Kong, the Hyatt on Collins in Melbourne, Australia, as well as for the Pittsburgh Gateway Hilton and the Righa Royal Hotel in Osaka, Japan, to name just a few.  

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Transcript

Most glass art is made with molten materials. But Sidney Hutter is not most glass artists. He's one of perhaps a dozen living artists who excel in the cooler approach. Hutter works in cold glass—sheets of the same materials skyscrapers and store fronts are made from. Cut, colored, and fused, plate glass is transformed into extraordinary art. But though they may look functional, don't be fooled. Hutter's vases are completely solid.

Sidney Hutter: Most vessels that are blown, it's a cavity. Mine start as planes, and they can be altered in a bunch of different ways. But what it contains is light, structure. And it contains form, but it doesn't contain water for flowers.

What they do contain is radiance. Hutter says that all his works are, at their core, vehicles for light: both natural and artificial.

Hutter: And now I'm working with LED lights, and trying to change the way that you're interacting with the glass through the light.

And if Hutter's style seems at times psychedelic, it's with good reason.

Hutter: I have always been a real lover of the Grateful Dead. And I made this piece—and it was when I was using the dyes, and I was using more than a couple of colors—and it looked sort of like one of the light shows from a Grateful Dead concert. And so I said, "Wow, this is like Jerry vision, or something." And so I had this whole series of Jerry Vision pieces.

Now a long established and highly respected artist in his field, Hutter has focused on finding the right balance between commercial speed and artisanal quality, in the hope of sharing his creations more widely than ever.

Hutter: The quality of the work that I make, it's as high as I can make it. And to make it in a much more commercial environment means that I'm gonna have to give up some of those controls. But I would like for more people to have my work, because I'd like more people to enjoy it.

And if Sidney Hutter's past is any indication, there's a very good chance they will.

FOR THE FULL EXPERIENCE, WATCH THE VIDEO AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE.