Every month, we profile the top artists of the glass smokeware industry.
Seth Brayer grew up in Westlake Village, CA and currently resides in Santa Barbara. As a glass artist, he’s primarily self-taught. Certainly, ten years ago, Seth had no idea it would lead to a career. He’s also an underwater videographer – shooting everything from surfing to scuba diving – and much of Seth’s early glasswork was inspired by marine life: Conch shells, fish, corals, octopi, and other seascapes.
Seth knew that his advancement as an artist depended upon making himself part of the glassblowing community at large. He worked with other artists who encouraged him and challenged his boundaries. He learned the artist’s most important lesson: Similar to life itself, he realized he didn’t have to create functional glass art to satisfy others. Instead, he learned to let his art be a reflection of himself.
That’s how the “Thunder Chicken” was born. Seth dreamed up a fiery, larger-than-life phoenix rising from the ashes. He knew he would need the help of other artists for a project like this. He began breathing life into the Thunder Chicken with the help of his good friend and owner of Euphoria Glassworks, Nate Hussey. The piece quickly took on a life of its own, with groundbreaking ideas flowing forth at every crucible pull.
He never could have predicted the twists and turns the project took during its creation. Two separate sets of wing arches were made. Seven different heads were made to get the one that sits on it now as a fully functional Sherlock with a bowl popped under the jaw. And a fierce bout of metal fume fever from creating the burnt copper background had Seth down for days! To finish the piece, it was mounted to a hand-riveted copper background on an easel made of burnt wood. After months of blood, sweat, and tears, the Thunder Chicken emerged in all its fierce glory.
Though he has primarily been working with borosilicate glass, Seth is now visiting the soft-glass medium through collaborative projects with artist Kristian Merwin. They are focused on eco-friendly art using found and recycled glass. His new passion has resulted in reshaping emptied champagne, wine, and beer bottles into functioning chandeliers and large-scale contemporary sculpture.
Seth would never admit to reaching the pinnacle of his career as a glass artist – that would take all the fun out of it – but he’s always seeking new ways to push the envelope in ways that it’s never been pushed before.
Here are some examples of Seth’s work:
It’s all in the details – the color, shape, and lines of these bamboo bubblers have an undeniably authentic Eastern aesthetic.
Simple forms and clean lines define Seth's esthetic. And these beautifully flowing oil rigs make for wonderfully functional art pieces on your shelves or in your hands.
Framed in sterling silver settings, Seth’s unique Belt Buckle$ for Baller$ are one-of-a-kind, complementing just about any fashion for guys and girls.
Seth’s love for the ocean has colored his artwork from Day One. Here, he embellishes a creature from the deep with his own esthetic, capturing its constant rippling movements in the stillness of glass.
REIGN OF THE THUNDER CHICKEN
This detail of the head of the phoenix, with its focused glare and fiery mane, capture the essence of the raw energy and emotion Seth pours into each and every work of art.
DOIN’ THE DISHES
Your hash oil deserves a happy home, like one of Seth’s colorful implosion dishes.
Seth’s artwork comes in all shapes and sizes. Here’s a contemporary mixed-media piece composed of Dr. Seuss-inspired shapes, assembled with copper wire and mounted to hand-turned metal on painted wood.
THE MAN BEHIND THE GLASS
The artist and his signature work to date – the phoenix rising from its ashes symbolizes, in a totally non-clichéd way, the gauntlet that Seth has run simply to find a comfort zone from which he can create without rules or restrictions. Sometimes down but never out, Seth has merely scratched the surface of what he can and will accomplish as a glass artist.
TOOT YOUR HORN
Right at home in a collaborator’s glass workshop in Salt Lake City, UT, Seth uses his breath to reshape an empty champagne bottle that will soon become part of a functioning chandelier.
By working with other pipe makers likeNate Hussey, Seth has discovered ways to mix and match various aspects of his creativity and bring them together to create functional pieces that are also works of art.