For four generations, the Raiffe family toy designers and inventors used ingenuity and creativity to bring joy to others. In homage to this family tradition, Josh Raiffe carries out that mission in his own uniquely beautiful medium – hot glass. He recently caught the attention of both art and fashion lovers with his creative glass interpretation of the Coperni Swipe Bag – a modern handbag designed to adorn a subject’s hand.
Coperni approached Raiffe to create a glass bag for a photo shoot. His original design was inspired by the painting of Saint Denis of Paris. Holding his head in his hands, a halo appears where St. Denis’ head once rested. Raiffe wanted to create a glass handbag that would reveal a halo around the hand of its wearer, selecting colors to illuminate the hand as if to reveal a divinity from within.
Experimenting with glass color combinations, he applies an overlay to the inside and outside of each of his bags. The glass layers work in concert to create color combinations that are amplified through a coldworking process. The resulting objects have captured the attention of art and fashion enthusiasts alike, making the laborious process required to create them worthwhile.
Raiffe loves to create in a space where emotion and instinct supersede language and rationality. His pieces are first and foremost inspired by personal relationships and emotions such as love, conflict, anger or intimacy. He creates pieces that allow the owner/observer to feel something unique based on their own personal experiences. As an artist who celebrates self-expression, he explains: “I hope people use my work to express themselves by adorning their spaces and their bodies with objects that speak to them.”
The son of Meryl Raiffe, owner of The Glass Underground, Warren, New Jersey, Josh Raiffe earned his BFA from Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During that time, he worked for Belle Mead Hot Glass, Township, New Jersey, producing blown chandelier parts and taught classes at the Crefeld School in Philly. Upon graduating from Tyler, he received the Steve Stormer Award and the Penland Partner Scholarship, which allowed him to attend the Penland School of Craft, Bakersfield, North Carolina. He has also been fortunate enough to attend classes at Pilchuck Glass School, Stanwood, Washington, and the Bullseye Resource Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Raiffe has taught glass classes at the Tyler School of Art, East Falls Glassworks in Philly, Brooklyn Glass and UrbanGlass in New York. He also assists with fabrication for glass artists Thaddeus Wolf, Rob Wynne, Mitchiko Sakano, Jamie Harris and Deborah Czeresko. As a Brooklyn-based designer, Raiffe has collaborated with DesignSpec Co-Founder Fiona Sanipelli to create original art installations for interiors projects. His work, which also includes lighting and neon, has been exhibited at Philadelphia locations such as the Philadelphia Art Alliance, the Sculpture Gym, and the Spirit of the Artist, and at 555 Gallery in Boston, Massachusetts. It was featured on the pages of New Glass Review 38, The Corning Museum of Glass’ yearly survey of cutting-edge artworks made with glass. Raiffe is represented by Habatat Gallery, Piece Gallery, Strada and Hawk Gallery.
Objects become memorable when they prompt an emotional response from their audience. Though Raiffe’s glass work has been owned by celebrities such as Dojacat, Kylie Jenner, JT, Beth Dewoody, Olivia Song and Snoop Dog, he makes art to be enjoyed by the masses.