PARKERSBURG - Bold and vivid colors in unique styles and designs set the glassworks of Frank Workman apart from other artists' pieces.
"None of my (work) is traditional for Fenton glass," said Workman. "My style of glassmaking is different and I like to try different colors and ways of designing to come up with new looks."
Workman is one of four glass artists with work currently on display in the "Fenton's Finest" exhibit at the Parkersburg Art Center through March 1. In fact, of the more than 200 pieces in the show, four of Workman's were sold at the opening reception on Jan. 21.
Photo by Jolene Craig
Frank Workman holds one of the pieces he has made as an artist for Fenton Art Glass in the Pakersburg Art Center. Workman is one of four glass artists with pieces on display at the art center through March 1.
"One of Frank's pieces is 100 percent the most artistic in the entire show," said art center director Abby Hayhurst. "His work is very original and beautiful."
The first piece purchased as part of the exhibit was a swung bowl of milk glass with orange that Workman showed to the purchaser.
"The gentleman asked me what piece was my favorite and I showed him (this)," he said. "He said that one of the reasons (he) purchased it."
Frank Workman makes bold pieces as a glass artist for Fenton Art Glass in Williamstown.
Workman is one of four Fenton artists whose pieces are on display at the Parkersburg Art Center as part of the "Fenton's Finest" exhibit through March 1.
Workman said he likes to work "off hand" and see what he can come up with as a glassmaker.
Workman, who lives in Vienna, said other artists and the owners of Fenton Art Glass in Williamstown have encouraged him to create pieces that are unlike those the more than 100-year-old family business is known for.
"I worked with (longtime Fenton artisan) Dave Fetty (also featured in the art center exhibit) for a year and I have learned from him, but my style is really different from his," Workman said. "I have been encouraged by (people) at Fenton to learn more and to do something different."
In fact, along with working with glass to see what he can do with it, Workman has learned from glassmakers across the country to pick up new ideas and techniques.
While Workman began his career with Fenton in 1996 and continues to work on regular Fenton pieces, he was given his own line of glassworks two years ago.
"He doesn't work on his line all of the time, but we do our best to give him enough space and time to be creative," company president George Fenton said.
Workman said he prefers to work with bright colors that are vivid and catch the eye.
"I like things that are more visual and attract a younger crowd to art glass," he said.
While the colors he works with the most include greens, pinks, purples and reds, Workman also enjoys working with different patterns and designs.
"Plaids and dotted designs are fun to see what happens," he said. "It's a challenge to work with glass because you only have a few seconds to get colors in place and work with the glass before it cools down and is unworkable."
Along with bright colors, Workman said one of his favorite methods of glassmaking is to swing the molten glass into a bowl.
"My favorite thing to do is swing pieces," he said. "The little kids like it most and it's great to see their eyes light up when the bowl opens up as it's swinging."