Steven Weinberg Bio


Originally recruited by Dale Chihuly to join his graduate program at the Rhode Island School of Design, Steven Weinberg went on to create an innovative portfolio of sculptural crystal spanning four decades. Chihuly, a judge at the time, in the Young Americans in Clay and Glass competition in New York City, recognized promising talent. Weinberg won that competition and would go on to become a prominent figure in the burgeoning American Studio Glass Movement. A maverick even in the vibrant artist colony of that era, Weinberg was driven to innovate and destined to develop his own unique style and aesthetic. Stout determination and an individualistic passion to follow the road less traveled led Weinberg to diverge from the smoother and gentler path of many contemporaries to explore the heavier sides of life and the thickness of crystal.  Eschewing the colorful free form blown glass embodied in the work of Chihuly and most of his students, Steven was drawn to more pure geometries and the interplay between interior spaces and solid crystal. Diligently working in his original Pawtucket studio and pioneering the development of novel processes and materials, Weinberg hit his stride. His technical virtuosity and expressive detail would earn him a lasting place in the American Studio Glass Movement. Early pieces, such as the "puzzle pieces" displayed in the portfolio section of this site, showcase his intuitive understanding of complicated arrangements and command of casting technique. His subsequent body of work, the cubes, explored the use of veiling, detailed mill work, and encapsulated bubbles to create vivid interior landscapes frozen inside solid masses of optical crystal. His interest in water forms and sea themes inspired his next important series of boat forms and buoys. The buoys, less glassy, but more earthy and ceramic like, recall his original love of clay. They reflect the dual nature of the artist and his steady defiance to follow anything that would seem too trendy. An artist who lived a hard, risk torn life, Weinberg imbued many later works with impressions of juxtaposed life lessons in his Icon series. Gorgeous shapes floating in solid house forms, these works are at once dreamlike and classical. The newest work is a push towards modern adaptations accrued in a lifetime of experience and display the love of clean geometry that has always been central to his work. Rising spheres have multiplied and become a metaphor for a relentless pursuit of excellence.

 

Sharon Oleksiak Bio


Whether it is for an object in glass or an interior space, Sharon's driving philosophy is focused around a human centered approach to design and the need to bring restraint, order, beauty, and meaning into our world. She has been designing interior spaces and sculptural glass for over 25 years and as a designer, she aims to connect environments and objects with our human history as artists, builders, and thinkers. In a cacophonous world of white noise where digital imagery and virtual reality have become overwhelmingly central, infusing objects and environments with authentic content, thought, and a sensitivity to the human condition are ever more vital design goals.

Making good art is extremely difficult, so too is making good design. It requires analytical and creative thinking, compassion, hard work, and practice. There are no short cuts to designing and making something well. Whether designing an elementary school or a beautiful piece of glass for a foundation's celebration, Sharon strives to thoroughly understand the needs of her clients and brings a strong work ethic and holistic approach to each project. The world is filled with meaningless objects and spaces and Sharon strives to go beyond just fulfilling a client's program, she seeks to connect it to a greater ideal of unifying beauty and substance.

Sharon graduated with honors from Brown University earning a degree in Art History and Economics, with the hope of some day combining her love of art and human commerce. She went on to acquire a Master's of Science in Design form the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a Master's of Industrial Design from the Pratt Institute, New York. She is the mother of four boys who consistently force balance into her life. Leveraging 20 years of experience as an industrial designer in glass and crystal, Sharon has co-founded Kastal to bring together her passion for art, good design, and glass, by creating new and innovative products that embody her heartfelt ideals.