I recently had the opportunity to stop by the Portland, Maine glass studio of artist Bradley Schillinger. He’s been blowing glass for 13 years and doing it full time for the past nine, becoming known for his distinctive “dripping Skrillinger glass” style. He tells me he’s always painted and was creative as a kid. At age 12, he met some painters and realized that art was a thing someone could do, and he was intrigued…
“There was this well-known glassblowing studio on my walk home from school in Florida,” said Bradley. “And I kept bothering them for a job and finally they caved. I was told to clean up the studio after them and they started showing me how to blow glass.”
His family wasn’t thrilled with his choice of art, though he took great pride once he was able to sell enough glass to buy his father lunch with the money he earned from his artwork.
After high school, Bradley attended Salaam Community College where the Scientific Glass-Blowing Program was one of the few in the country. It’s where he met a lot of other great glassblowing artists who would become both friends and inspirations. Now he’s in an established co-op studio in Portland with a group of great local artists.
He’s always striving to become better with design, technical skill and function. As to how he discovered his unique drippy technique, he tells me, “Everyone was doing the “honey dripping” style. I was working with complex colors that are quite difficult and the piece cracked along the color line. I covered it up with a drip and really liked it – it was a mistake, but it worked and I liked it.”
As for inspiration, Bradley has mixed emotions. “I have a weird relationship with inspiration,” he said. “If it happens, great, but sometimes I motivate myself by thinking of ideas I haven’t done yet and I promise myself to create them – like a self-contract. I’m also inspired by the ability to earn enough to travel and see some of the world.”