Artist Spotlight: Janis Miltenberger
Page top image size: 1000 x 500 px
Janis Miltenberger is most recognized for her use of glass as an evocative medium. Her life-sized work quietly, personally, addresses her audience face to face. By using familiar objects, such as a cage or chair, to frame her concepts, she draws the viewer into a world of intricately wrought brambles filled with ideas and imagery.
It has been four decades since Miltenberger first studied clay in college and then was introduced to glass blowing by becoming an apprentice to Richard Marquis at nineteen. Discovering lampworking at Pilchuck was the missing puzzle piece, this technique married her narrative style within a sculptural form.
Miltenberger’s glass work is included in many private collections. She both teaches and exhibits work internationally.
Excited about new possibilities, she recently has embarked on new work, developing an idea for a memory installation, utilizing metal, cast, and lampworked glass with interactive lighting.
Janis currently resides in Washington State.
The heart of my work is narrative, the story, my vehicle. I am curious; how history and our vast subconscious of visual vocabulary inform our interpretation of the world?
What stories do I tell, and what does my audience see? My interest in stories, fables, and parables is apparent in my work. I appreciate the quest, the subtle roles, and the meaning within the story. There is also a transformative nature to storytelling, we take a word or image and infuse it with meaning, giving each element context. While my subject matter might be representational, the elements are meant as concepts, concepts that I seek to distill and form into allegorical objects.
At the heart of my work is a narrative. “Charmed” is playing with luck and metaphor. Phrases like “a bird in the hand…” have always intrigued me, and in this piece, I have the juxtaposition of what is known; the captured or tamed bird, with what is wished for: The golden hand (“may everything I touch, turn to gold”, which didn’t work out so well…) and the charm bracelet. Then of course the unknown: The hand itself is sprouting, growing, so almost anything could be possible.
My bird nest candle holder suggests intimacy, the two birds making a home for future possibilities. All under the golden glow of candlelight. It is a wish for connection and purpose.
The rose goblet, like much of my functional ware, is the embellishment of the familiar. I really enjoy making work that gets handled and used. I personally derive so much pleasure from an object that I resonate with and can use to provide me both sustenance and pleasure.
Noele Alampi, The Gallery of Fine Craft manager, and Janis recorded a video of a conversation they had recently. Enjoy this insightful talk. We hope you are inspired.
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