Glass Vase

Artist: Bill Glass

For Bill Glass, working clay into pottery is something of a spiritual experience. “Being dug out of the earth, it has its own spirit. I work with it and try to come to a point where the clay is doing its thing and I’m doing my thing and we come out to a place where we coincide,” he said in an Oklahoma Today article. Glass is Cherokee and had planned on a career in business, but then he took a pottery class and fell in love with sculpture. He enrolled at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico and studied with Apache artist Allan Houser. Glass continued to focus on contemporary ceramics and earned an Associates of Fine Arts in 1975. Returning to Oklahoma, he has taught classes, sharing his love of art with others. He uses designs inspired by the Mound Builders, predecessors of the Cherokees and other Woodland tribes. Sophisticated glazes are a trademark of Glass’ work – he often uses multiple glaze formulas on one bowl to produce the final effect. In 2012, Glass was named Red Earth Honored One for his substantial support of Native American art throughout his life. The Cherokee Tribe awarded him the Cherokee Medal of Honor and named him a Cherokee National Treasure in 2009. His work has garnered awards at the Santa Fe Indian Market, the Heard Museum Show, Red Earth Art Show and is a Master Artist at the Five Civilized Tribes Museum in Muskogee, Oklahoma.