Walking into Studio 45 Glass on Lopez Island is like falling down the rabbit hole with Alice. It’s a world of color, where possibilities are only the beginning and art feels like it is created from thin air.
After traveling the world working and studying glass art in Italy, New York and Germany, owner and master glassblower Rahman Anderson returned home to Lopez Island, where he grew up. He wanted to put down roots and settle on his family land where he has now built his own home and grows a garden.
Rahman opened Studio 45 Glass in the heart of Lopez during the summer of 2017. His vision was to continue the lineage of classic Italian glassblowing that he spent the past 25 years learning and practicing. From early years at Pilchuck Glass School in Seattle, Rahman found himself creating lifelong friendships and partnerships, having doors of opportunity opened along the way. He has worked on teams for Bill Morris and Dale Chihuly. Currently, he is creating his own line of work and on Charles Lowrie’s travel team as the lead assistant.
I asked Rahman what his favorite position on the team is. “I have spent the past 25 years being the first assistant on a team, helping create masterpieces, so that is the position I am most comfortable in. Having my own studio has allowed me to be the lead, which is a challenge that I have enjoyed,” he said.
Furnace glassblowing is like a dance. Each person on the team has to make the exact right step at the exact right time and know the leader’s next move even before the leader knows they’re doing it. “A glass team can be so in tune with each other that words aren’t even necessary,” says Rahman. “Trust is key. Charles and I make insane pieces and the only way we can make them is because we know we can trust each other.”
Rahman has opened his doors to visiting artists and created a hub for the arts on Lopez. When opening Studio 45, he looked to the many studios he had worked in. Realizing he could meld together the aspects he liked and avoid the mistakes he’d seen, allowed him to create a world-class studio that would attract renowned artists.
He has also opened the doors to the community, creating custom work for residents and inviting schools to watch demonstrations. Rahman has local apprentices who are stepping into his position, which allows him to lead the team. “Learning from my teachers was one of the greatest gifts of glassblowing. So creating a space where I can share what I have learned, is a way that I can pay it forward and keep the knowledge alive,” Rahman explained.
I had the opportunity to hang at Studio 45 while visiting Lopez with my partner, Charles Lowrie. He was the visiting artist in the month of September 2019. Lopez Island is one of my most favorite places to be on this beautiful earth. I hope to see the arts continuing to enrich our lives for years to come and I cannot wait to step back into the studio’s rainbow or color.
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