Capitalizing on the ways glass can be arranged in and flows from a crucible, Nathan Sandberg creates reproducible decorative cane and murrine using the Vitrigraph Kiln. His work showcases these elements in a variety of artistic applications and furnishings. When not in his North Portland studio creating work or getting ready for an exhibition, Sandberg can be found presenting modern, innovative curriculum in kilnformed glass at a wide variety of studios and schools around the globe.
In 2003, Sandberg received his BFA in glass and ceramics from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. After working at private glassblowing studios and independently furthering his education in kiln-glass, he joined Bullseye Glass Co. in 2005. As a member of the company’s Research & Education team, he taught and developed courses and online educational videos as well as assisted visiting artists. Beginning at the Bullseye factory in 2009, the artist began exploring modern Vitrigraph methods that have become the primary techniques used in the creation of his work.
Sandberg creates glass panes that are full of movement and repeated patterns that gently guide the viewer’s eyes through the work. He states: “Our world is complex. And I realize that occasionally we simply need a pleasant view in order to escape some of the ugliness and take ourselves somewhere healthier, even if only for a moment.”
In 2012, Sandberg founded Nathans LLC. This educational entrepreneurship helped establish him as one of the top kiln-glass educators in the world, sending him on teaching adventures from Santa Fe to Zurich and Australia to Norway. In 2015, Nathans LLC moved out of the basement and into a proper studio space in the Kenton neighborhood of North Portland. Today, Sandberg uses OnGrade Studio as his home base and can be found there relentlessly producing work for exhibitions and developing new curriculum to teach on the road and online.
Using primarily glass, Sandberg’s installations commonly make use of other materials such as wood, metal and concrete. His artwork can be found in private and public collections around the world and has received critical recognition through awards, exhibitions, and art fairs, including Glazen Huis in Lommel, Belgium, 2nd Place Non-Functional, Academic Award WG@BE3: E-merge, Bullseye Connection Gallery and SOFA Chicago. Sandberg worked with Gabriela Wilson as part of an Instructor Collaborative Residency at The Studio of the Corning Museum of Glass in September 2019. The duo explored the traditional hot shop methods of pulling cane to compare and contrast the process with Vitrigraph methods.
Currently, Sandberg operates an 8’ x 10’ waterjet two days a week and says this equipment will revolutionize what is possible in kilnformed glass. The artist is also in the design phase of a glass shingle backsplash for a 30-foot-tall residential waterfall project. His artwork will be on view at Guardino Gallery in Portland in September 2023 and in October at the Pittsburgh Glass Center with Amanda Simmons, Nancy Callan, Mel Douglas and Corey Pemberton in an exhibition titled Pattern.