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Equal parts artist, scientist, and historian, Fritz Dreisbach has spent the last five decades teaching and demonstrating glassblowing around the world. This Johnny Appleseed of Glass has himself played a vital role in the history of the American Studio Glass movement that he now strives to preserve and share with the next generation of artists.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Dreisbach grew up in Akron as part of a family of educators. His father, a college chemistry professor, and mother, a high school music and literature teacher, created in their son what is referred to as conciatore - a marriage of art and science. Fritz holds two bachelor degrees, one in art and one in math. This duality is reflected in both his technical consulting for glass factories such as the Glass Eye Studio, Spectrum Glass, Kugler Colors, and Seattle Batch as well as his continuing personal journey to express using hot glass.
Dreisbach studied painting and sculpture at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, earning his MA. Planning to eventually teach painting, his advisor instructed him to study a broad range of artistic subjects. A two-credit course in glassblowing was part of the curriculum, and serendipitously his love affair with glass began. Dreisbach continued his studies at the University of Wisconsin where he earned an MFA and was inspired by three pioneers of the Studio Glass movement: Harvey Littleton, Dominick Labino, and Erwin Eisch. His education includes a hefty dose of art history including Ancient, Renaissance, and 20th-century painting and sculpture. His background in painting and classical intaglio printmaking provides the basis for practical color theory.
When the excitement of working with hot glass spread from the University of Wisconsin, no one traveled farther or more frequently than Dreisbach to proselytize about glassblowing. The artist visited the first summer session held at Pilchuck Glass School in 1971 and has been active with the school as teacher, advisor, and trustee for 39 years. He also helped found the Glass Art Society, which presented him with a lifetime achievement award in 2002.