Bemis Building Artist Ethan Stern Makes Glasswork Count.

Yesterday was Seattle’s Bemis Building’s Spring Art Opening, and dozens of artists with studios and living spaces in the building opened up their spaces for touring visitors. Glass artist Ethan Stern was one of those artists. Despite having a slightly out-of-the-way gallery, Stern creates work that is instantly compelling. It is some of the most exciting art in the building, and frankly, some of the most inventive and technical glasswork I’ve seen in the Seattle area for quite some time.

Stern’s work, including the pieces above, undergo a vigorous creation process from start to finish. First, he puts layer upon layer of colored glass to create unique, hollow shapes. The outermost colored layer is then delicately cut away in a cold shop, with various diamond and stone wheels. The process of cutting away portions of the outer layer reveal additional hidden colors and patterns underneath. And while every piece has a pre-determined concept, they evolve naturally through the process of cutting; the above pieces, for example, are meant to be reminiscent of maps and coastlines. Stern, a former ceramics artist, leaves these glassworks in a semi-polished state to give the pieces a more pleasing-to-the-touch feeling of richness.

Written by
Vee Hua 華婷婷

Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/them) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the Editor-in-Chief of REDEFINE, Interim Managing Editor of South Seattle Emerald, and Co-Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission. They also previously served as the Executive Director of the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences.

Vee has two narrative short films. Searching Skies (2017) touches on Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States; with it, they helped co-organize The Seventh Art Stand, a national film and civil rights discussion series against Islamophobia. Reckless Spirits (2022) is a metaphysical, multi-lingual POC buddy comedy for a bleak new era, in anticipation of a feature-length project.

Vee is passionate about cultural space, the environment, and finding ways to covertly and overtly disrupt oppressive structures. They also regularly share observational human stories through their storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN’ WITH VEE!, and are pursuing a Master’s in Tribal Resource and Environmental Stewardship under the Native American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota.

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Corinne Stern
Corinne Stern
14 years ago

I am Ethan’s Mom, in Ithaca, NY. Thank you for this amazing write-up. It was gratifying for me to see the written words very closely approximating what I’ve been telling friends and relatives for years.

I am an artist myself. My old website, is down now because I’m changing my business name to “Floof: Art & Design for Body & Home.” Not sure what the new domain name will be yet. Mainly I do multi-media art, specializing in textiles and creations using reused/reclaimed/recycled/reinvented materials.

Written by Vee Hua 華婷婷
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