Maker Stories

Recreating Nature: Scott Johnson on Glass, Work, & Finding Your Passion

January 26, 2018

Here, Scott Johnson does a little pruning. (Just kidding.)

If you had no sunlight, dirt, water, or seeds, could you create a bed of flowers? Scott Johnson can. He’s the master behind our popular Glass Flower Garden Centerpiece, a stunning sculpture with multi-colored flowers “sprouting” out from the base. Scott has always loved sculpting. It stems back to his childhood, watching his father mold clay in their home. Naturally, Scott started crafting with clay, but the more he experimented with new materials, the more inspired he became. That’s when he discovered glass. He was mesmerized by the way a solid could turn to a liquid and finally into a work of art. Once he found his medium (or his medium found him), he began creating one-of-a-kind pieces to decorate your home.

We had the pleasure of speaking with Scott about his process, inspiration, and “bendy,” a trusty makeshift tool he can’t live without. Read on for more.

What inspired you to create the Glass Flower Garden Centerpiece?

I wanted something that looked real—something that was a departure from a vase of flowers. Flowers grow from the ground and I wanted to create a piece that gave the look and feel of real flowers shooting up. I think I captured that with the piece.

Tell us about the moment you realized you were an artist.

Growing up watching my father sculpt for hours, and then playing with the clay to make my own sculptures, did not really lead me to believe I was an artist. I guess it was while I was working as a software developer for my day job. I had a sculpting studio setup in my garage where I would sculpt in the evenings. I showed one of my creations to a potential client and he purchased the clay model on the spot for what I thought was a lot of money. I guess it was then that I got serious about being an artist and have made my living as an artist since.

What designers or artists, past or present, do you admire and why?

I admire my father. I grew up watching him create beautiful sculptures in bronze. I admire Dale Chihuly as it was his glass flower installation at the Bellagio that gave me the inspiration for my current line of work.

Has what you love most about making things changed over time?

Not really. I love it when people are excited to own work I have created. I am never too excited about any of my work, as I usually see the flaws, but it always pleases me to see and hear a client’s excitement when they get or give the flowers to someone.

What are your favorite materials to work with, and what do you like about working with them?

Clay would be at the top of the list since that’s how I started. I also love glass. Glass is just so beautiful and colorful, lending itself to so much creativity and possibilities. I love the anticipation of seeing the glass creation come out of the kiln and admiring the uniqueness and special qualities of each piece. Glass as a medium for an artist is really just the best.

Is there a trinket or other inspirational object you keep near you while you work? If so, what is it and what does it mean to you?

Sort of… I have a tool I crafted 15 years ago which helps me bend the stems. It has been with me from the beginning. It still has the original duct tape I used to create the handle. I love this tool and call it “bendy.” It has traveled the country with me for years doing art shows. I am always a little stressed when I take bendy on the road, as I am afraid to lose it, but never have. I would be lost and in big trouble without bendy.

Describe a typical day in your workshop. How do you get from raw material to finished product?

Prepare the glass flower for production. Work flowers into shape through high heat and mold forming. Get my tools together to build stems and bases. I spend a lot of time forming the stems to have the unique trademark flow of all my pieces. I then spend the last part of the day preparing and shipping orders. I have a small operation and stay very busy.

Finally, what quote or mantra keeps you motivated?

“Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life.” I really feel like I have lived like this my entire life. I don’t feel like I have ever had a job. If I was paid or not I would have been doing the same thing.

Grab your own Glass Flower Garden Centerpiece here »

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  • Reply Debbie March 7, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    Can these be displayed outdoors…in a window box?
    I live on the PNW beach, where the wildlife have the right-of-way…soooo, the deer eat most flowers, and pull-up and spit out my succulents! Especially my Hen & chicks…so the color would be beautiful in my bay-window flower box!

    • Reply Hadley March 9, 2018 at 3:23 pm

      Hi, Debbie! Great question. Although this sculpture is not intended for outdoor use, it can go outside—for example, as a décor centerpiece on an outdoor table. Keep in mind that the fragile sculpture could blow over because of strong gusts of wind, so it’s not recommended that you keep it outside. Be aware that water spots may form on the metal if left out in the rain too long and the item may get dirty (as with anything left outside). Hope this helps!

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