Jim Scheller’s vessel designs are informed by simplicity and abstraction. His work is inspired by Neoplasticism and the artists of that period, beginning with the De Stijl movement of the early 20th century. Always a scientist, he is fascinated with exploring the processes that use heat and gravity to bring his designs to life in glass.
Initially introduced to glass kilnforming in a 2012 Bullseye workshop, Scheller shifted his professional focus following a long and enjoyable career as an engineer and technologist working with creatives worldwide in the athletic footwear and apparel industries. Experimenting and learning about art and glass as a medium quickly became his passion – a transformation he describes as being “taken hostage by kilnforming glass.”
Scheller further developed his technical and artistic abilities in 2014 and 2015 at the Professional Kilnforming Residency at Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington. Gracious mentoring from many of the best artists and friends – such as Steve Klein and Richard Parrish – further encouraged and refined Scheller’s goals as a glass maker. Early vessel forms were exhibited in For the Love of Glass, at the Marietta Cobb Museum of Art, Atlanta, in 2017.
After two decades on the Chehalem Mountain outside Portland, Oregon, in 2018 Scheller moved his home studio to the Illinois prairie near his son Phillip, where they make decorative kiln formed glass art. Macoupin Prairie Glassworks is located in Staunton, Illinois, near the artist’s childhood home of Mt. Olive, a small town on old Route 66 halfway between Springfield and St. Louis.
There, Scheller takes great pleasure in pushing kilnforming limits and developing new techniques. His works are composed with glass sheets, crushed glass (frit), and glass slabs (billets), then fired to over 1400 degrees F. Fired works are extensively cold worked to achieve the final finish. Number 11 of his series studying the art of the line in composition on the deep vessel shape was recognized in the Bullseye Challenge: Reactions, May 2021.
Click on Scheller’s name for image of his honorable mention piece,
Scheller’s current Ancient Ring series has attracted great interest both at his galleries and on his social networks. From April 28 through July 4, 2022, Quad City Arts’ Art at the Airport presents glass art vessels by Scheller, acrylic sculptural paintings by Sally Havlis of Chicago, Illinois, and sumi-e paintings by Karen Kurka Jensen of North Liberty, Iowa. Vessels in this exhibition are inspired by the work of early 20th-century painters Mondrian, Gorin, Kandinsky, Klee, Tauber-Arp, and van Doesbur.
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Scheller’s Ancient Rings 13 has been accepted into the St. Louis Artists’ Guild “Constructed Visions IV” biennial, held July 1 to August 6, reception on July 1 from 5 – 7 p.m.
And Philabaum Glass Gallery in Tucson, Arizona, will exhibit Scheller’s work beginning February 4, 2023.
Says Scheller: “The engineer, immersed in the process of making, joins glass, heat and gravity to create works inviting one to view the once molten glass in a dance of light and color.”