Creativity was fostered in Dan Friday by his family from an early age. Growing up immersed in the rich cultural heritage of the Lummi Nation meant that making things with his hands was a regular activity. Typically working with simple themes and forms, the artist often employs subtle silhouettes when making his glass totems. His more narrative work reflects a personal expression or means of processing a life event, often with an underlying statement. His latest works will be on view at the Museum of Northwest Art, La Conner, Washington, in Future Artifacts, on view July 3 – October 10, 2021.
Friday says: “As the recipient of the Bill Holm Grant from the Burke Museum, with my sister I have been studying Coast Salish artifacts in their archives. It is a surreal experience to hold items of your oldest known family members, even see their handwriting on treasured belongings. With all of the information, images, and data I have already catalogued, I hope to make inspired pieces of glass: the Skexe (Coast Salish wooly Dog) Blanket Panels, and The Sxwo’le (Reef Net) projects, to mention a few. It will be my way to document not only my family’s history, but the artwork of the Coast Salish people. Glass is a medium that will survive millennia, and a great way to tell a story to future generations. It is, metaphorically, a contemporary painting on the cave wall.”
He continues: “The preparation for this show at MoNA has already given me great satisfaction, not just the physical act of producing these works, but the connections I have made within the beautiful and resilient Coast Salish community.”
A lifelong resident of Washington State’s Puget Sound region, Friday maintains an independent glass studio in Seattle. He has worked for Dale Chihuly at the Boathouse Studio since 2000 as a glass blower collaborating with other studio staff on Chilhuly glass designs. This experience helped Friday expand and perfect technical skills in glass working and increased his insight into the relationship and interaction between artist and the public. Working at Pilchuck Glass School since 2006 as a teacher, gaffer, and coordinator for the hot shop and wood and metals departments, Friday has fabricated and facilitated works for international artists. He has also assisted James Mongrain since 2009 on various glass blowing projects, domestically and abroad.
Working at Tacoma Glass Museum since 2004, Friday is part of a specialized team of glass sculptors, demonstrating a variety of methods to educate the public about the medium of glass. He has also collaborated and assisted prominent artists in the creation of major glass art commissions and installations, including James Drake, Nicolas Africano, Wendy Maruyama, and Charles Ledray, to name a few. As personal assistant for Paul Marioni, Friday cast and cold worked glass tiles for a large-scale installation.
Friday has taught at the University of Washington, Pilchuck Glass School, and the Haystack Craft Center. He has been awarded residencies at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, the Burke Museum in Seattle, the Corning Museum in New York, and the Dream Community in Tai Pei, Taiwan. He is the recipient of the Bill Holm Grant, the People’s choice award from the Bellevue Art Museum, and the Discovery Fellowship through the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts.
Represented by Blue Rain Gallery (Santa Fe), Stonington Gallery (Seattle), Ainsley Gallery (Toronto), Habatat (West Palm, Florida), and Schantz (Stockbridge, Massachusetts), Friday’s work in glass is contemporary in format while maintaining Native American qualities. Cultivating his artistic vision with strong influence from his indigenous roots in the Pacific Northwest, the artist allows craft, form and idea to drive his work from conception to object.