R Jason Howard's current work draws on a unique combination of traditional Italian techniques and self-invented processes to create large, organic, colorful forms, that push the boundaries of what flameworked glass can do. He draws inspiration from the natural world, especially his garden, and listens closely to the organic and musical harmonies of color and the vibrations of life.
Howard works in a technique called flameworking, which uses a large and very hot torch powered by oxygen and propane to melt borosilicate glass, also known as "hard glass," or Pyrex. The crack-resistant property of borosilicate makes it ideal for working directly in the flame, where temperature changes are extreme. It's also ideal for complex projects with many parts, where multiple reheating cycles are needed. Not only is the glass resistant to thermal shock, but it also handles cooling down well.
Howard first began working with glass in 1997 as a senior studying ceramics at Hamilton College with glass artist Robert Palusky. Seduced by its alluring qualities of light and the sheer technical challenge, Howard's glass experimentation soon turned to obsession and total immersion. After a two-year internship as Hamilton's ceramic studio technician and a scholarship to The Studio of the Corning Museum of Glass, he began studying both off-hand glassblowing and flameworking. His work has been exhibited in national galleries and is in the permanent collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He won a NICHE Award in 2009.