Micah Evans blew people’s minds with his fuctional flameworked glass sewing machines that balanced clean traditional craft form and personal sculptural work. Referring to his glass obsession as “a disorder,” Evans was the first flameworker to receive the glass residency at Penland School of Craft, which he served from 2012 to 2015.
He says: “Lately I seem to be describing my work falling into two categories, things I love to make and things I have to make. The first category is easy; I am in love with the material. Like many glass artists I am a slave to the substance, the way it behaves and looks, the way it demands and gets my full attention whenever I work with it. I love to work with the material, therefore whatever I am making brings with it a genuine feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction. The second category is harder to define but equally important. The work I can’t help but make are the ideas that won’t let me sleep, the ideas that have me drifting off in conversations to my own world of redesigning and problem solving. It’s the repeated execution of the simple shape that seems to inhabit every page of my sketchbook at the time. It’s exploring ideas over technique and the struggles that come with that process. These two worlds often interact, and I bounce back and forth constantly.”
Born in Cashmere, Washington, in the eastern foothills of the Cascade mountains, Evans moved to Seattle in 1996. He attended The Art Institute of Seattle, focusing on computer animation and illustration before he started flameworking at Stone Way Glass in 1999. After relocating to Jacksonville Beach, Florida, in 2000, the artist opened his first glassblowing studio two blocks from the beach. Five years of workshops and hustle in addition to the struggles of coping with the federal crackdown on pipe making inspired a transition to making more traditional craft objects and personal work.
Upon resettling in Miami, Evans became a studio assistant to William Carlson, chair of the Art Department at the University of Miami. Shortly thereafter he began working with ceramic artist, Bonnie Seeman, combining glass and ceramics. Through working with both of these artists he was introduced to SOFA and Art Basel.
In 2008, Evans relocated to Austin, Texas, where his personal artwork and pipe designs began to mature and develop a symbiotic relationship. His friendship with pipe maker and sculptor SALT pushed both artists in new directions. A 2011 class at Penland with Carmen Lozar inspired a big shift in Evans’ career. He describes his subsequent Penland Residency as “the most wonderfully brutal four years” of his life, where he learned to balance the dynamic of pipes and fine art in more than one way.
In 2016, Evans began designing full time for GRAV Labs, a product design company based in Austin, Texas. Working with glassblower, designer and engineer, Stephan Peirce, Evans has learned the language of industrial and product design. This opportunity presented him with a window into glass manufacturing that changed the way he thought about the material and how it can be used. He regularly visits glass studios and factories in China to research new ways of working and designing in borosilicate glass, with a current focus on engineering and adapting small-scale manufacturing processes observed in Asia to his studio practice. These events inspired a “paradigm shift” in Evans’ understanding about borosilicate glass and what can be done with the material.
Currently building out an expanded studio space at GRAV Labs focused on both R&D and his own work, Evans travels, teaches and lectures at schools and universities around the world about flameworking, design and glass subculture in the United States.