Kenny Pieper GlassBlower

Wow, and I mean WOW!  If you are searching for a special statement work, you need to know about Kenny Pieper’s glass.

His work has been exhibited internationally and is featured in the Permanent Collections of the Corning Glass Museum (NY), New Orleans Museum of Art (LA), Asheville Art Museum (NC) and Hickory Museum of Art (NC).

The way the light passes through each piece is exquisite.  #Exquisite is the tag word for Kenny’s glass!

art resources for interior designers
Diva Series blue Narcissus 20″x7″x7″ – $1,000
blue Narcissus detail

Kenny was born in Birmingham, Alabama and raised in the mountains of North Carolina. His craft career began in high school when he studied at the Penland School of Crafts where he initially studied pottery with Norm Schulmand and Cynthia Bringle. LUCKY GUY.

Diva Series Sage Iris 25″x7″x7″ – $1000
Diva series sage detail

Later he found his passion for glass under the tutelage of Richard Ritter, another glass aritst making spectacular works.

Kenny received his BFA from California College of Art and Design, Oakland, CA, and then spent 16 years as a glassblower in the San Francisco East Bay area.

Ruby Splash 32″x12″x6 1/2″ – $2050

His career came full circle when he left California and moved back to North Carolina.  When he returned, he built his own studio and managed the glassblowing and lamp working studios at Penland. It was during this fruitful time that he developed his expertise in the tradition of Italian glass.

Art Resources for Interior Designers
Blown Glass Goblets
White bridal goblets

OMG, these are amazing!

Look closely at the pattern in a similar glass vessel of Kenny’s below. See what appears to be dots? Those are tiny air bubbles. Seriously! It’s a glass technique called RETICELLO.

Satellite series tall flaired form
Satellite series tall flaired form
 detail of RETICHELLO process
detail of RETICHELLO process


“Reticello is the Italian name for a specific pattern in the technique of cane working. Cane or “Canne”, as the Italians call it are glass rods about the thickness of a  pencil. they can be clear or colored, the cane can also be bundled or overlaid. Throughout the years, glassbloweres have created elaborate results by working color glass rods into a variety of patterns.

Just as there are different names for different pasta, every pattern in cane has its own name. In Reticello, color rods are picked up, twisted in one direction, and blown into the form of a cup. The cup is tapped off the blowpipe and set into a pre-heated oven. Then, a second cup is made in the same fashion. However, for the second cup, the rods are twisted in the didrection opposite of the first cup. Kenny drops and blows that cup inside the first cup. If the cups are worked cold enough the grooves between each rod of cane are retained. These grooves cause small air pockts to be trapped when the two cups come together. This is what creates bubbles to appear in the regular pattern between the crisscrossing lines of cane. The form is then blown and shaped into a beautiful Reticello vessel.”

Reticello Pendant bulbous dome
Reticello Pendant bulbous dome

Kenny makes this crazy cool pendant lamps in several shapes, and can make them in several different colors.

Reticello Pendant bell shape
Reticello Pendant bell shape    10 1/2″x8″x8″
Reticello Pendant-cylinder
Reticello Pendant-cylinder 11″x9″x9″

The amber color is a signature color of Kenny’s, but he can do this form in other colors as well!

Reticello Pendant Cone
Reticello Pendant Cone 10 1/2″x9″x9″

Back in September I emailed Kenny, as we have many mutual friends, and asked to visit him in his studio.  He graciously agreed.

Promising to stay only a short time, I knew the minute Kenny picked up the rod and walked toward the furnace that I was going to be too smitten with the process to leave.

Kenny working what will be a head for a head vase.
Kenny working what will be a head for a head vase.
Working the glass
Working the glass
Sorry this is a little blurry, I was getting a little too close for comfort, it's HOT!
Sorry this is a little blurry, I was getting a little too close for comfort, it’s HOT!

Kenny and his assistant Jamie go back and forth to the furnace many times keeping the glass at the right temperature where it can be worked.

Leveling the base that was added to the head
Leveling the base that was added to the head
Working the hair on the head for the head vessel
Working the hair on the head for the head vessel

The glass is actually black. It appears red because of the heat.

Working the hair on the head for the Jamie Campbell sculpture vase
Working the hair on the head for the Jamie Campbell sculpture vase
head with base attached
head with base attached, sorry for the blur, it is being rotated
Jamie Portrait Vessel
finished Jamie Portrait Vessel

If you are interested in seeing more of Kenny’s spectacular Reticello work, check out Kenny’s website. Thank you Kenny! All professional photos are by David Ramsey, Charlotte.

If you would like to contact Kenny to purchase any of these works, shoot him an email.

I hope you enjoyed discovering this glass artist on Lets Get Original! If you did, please SHARE IT!