For Elliot Stoner, it all started in Italy. "Seeing glass art being handmade firsthand was really cool, but it was so exotic because I was in Italy and there was no way I could've ever done that." But glasswork wasn't to remain an untouchable art to the CapTech programmer. After a visit to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, Stoner realized that glass was accessible stateside. "When I finally got to Temple [University] it was my goal first semester as a freshman to take glass blowing. It took until the last semester of my senior year of college to finally get in."
But the wait paid off since during this time, Elliot learned that the art of glasswork was much more than just blowing. It was also fusing and slumping which is the style of glasswork he practices today. "It's using a diamond knife to cut glass into shapes and then melting and fusing and molding it into different kinds of shapes and designs." Asked why he settled on the lesser known style he replies, "Blowing is super expensive – to rent time at a studio costs $35 an hour and you can't make any one thing in an hour. Cutting the glass and working [this] way is more cost effective and a lot easier to do on my timeframe." Stoner added that the straight lines and geometric shapes that have become his signature style are also more conducive to slumping and fusing.
After leaving school he continued his pursuit of glasswork for the unique challenges it poses to his programing sensibilities. "I love coding. It's fun, it's logical, it's great, but being able to have that outlet to take a break from coding was important." He added, "Glasswork is something that helps me as a software developer to open up my mind and allow me to be more creative and open to new ideas."
Unfortunately, you can't but any of Elliot's work – yet. But maybe sometime soon. For now, they'll remain unnamed pieces he likes to give as gifts to friends and put on display as evidence of the hours he's dedicated to the craft. Still, he doesn't want others to be dissuaded by what can seem like such an niche craft. "It's definitely wild for people to find out what I do and act shocked and say, "You made that? But it's cool to let people know that there are crazy things out there that you never thought you could do that are more accessible than you think."