When I began working with glass in 1982, I had no idea that I'd be so connected to the material in the way that I am. It was only when I began to experiment with using designs from my Tlingit cultural heritage that my work began to take on a new purpose and direction.
Over time, my skill with the material of glass and traditional form line design has strengthened and evolved allowing me to explore more fully my own relationship to both my culture and chosen medium. This evolution, and subsequent commercial success, has positioned me as an influence on contemporary indigenous art. Through teaching and collaborating in glass with other Native American, Maori, Hawaiian, and Australian Aboriginal artists, I've come to see that glass brings another dimension to indigenous art. The artistic perspective of indigenous people reflects a unique and vital visual language which has connections to the ancient codes and symbols of the land, and this interaction has informed and inspired my own work.
My work continues to evolve and connect my personal cultural perspective to current modern art movements, and I have received much attention for striving to keep the work fresh and relevant. I have been honored that my success has inspired other artists from underrepresented indigenous cultures to use glass and other non traditional materials in their work, and hope that I can continue to encourage more innovation in this area as my career progresses.
Preston Singletary’s work with glass transforms the notion that Native artists are only best when traditional materials are used. It has helped advocate on the behalf of all indigenous people—affirming that we are still here—that that we are declaring who we are through our art in connection to our culture.
The art of Preston Singletary has become synonymous with the relationship between European glass blowing traditions and Northwest Native art. His artworks feature themes of transformation, animal spirits and shamanism through elegant blown glass forms and mystical sand carved Tlingit designs.
Singletary learned the art of glass blowing by working with artists in the Seattle area including Benjamin Moore and Dante Marioni. As a student and assistant, he initially focused on mastering the techniques of the European tradition. His work took him to Kosta Boda (Sweden) where he studied Scandinavian design and met his future wife. Throughout his 30+ years of glass blowing experience, he has also had opportunities to learn the secrets of the Venetian glass masters by working with Italian legends Lino Tagliapietra, Cecco Ongaro, and Pino Signoretto. In 2010, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Arts degree from the University of Puget Sound.
Now recognized internationally, Singletary’s artworks are included in museum collections such as The British Museum (London, UK), The Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, MA), The Seattle Art Museum (Seattle WA), the Corning Museum of Glass (Corning, NY), the Mint Museum of Art and Design (Charlotte, NC), the Heard Museum (Phoenix, AZ), and the Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC).
Singletary maintains an active schedule by teaching, lecturing and exhibiting internationally. In 2009, the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, WA, launched a major mid-career survey of his work, entitled "Preston Singletary: Echoes, Fire, and Shadows". In 2018 he will launch a new traveling exhibition with the Museum of Glass, titled "Raven and the Box of Daylight", which will push the boundaries of glass as a medium for storytelling.
2018-19 Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA – Preston Singletary: Raven and the Box of Daylight
2016 Château-Musée de Boulogne-sur-Mer, France - Group Exhibition - "D'une culture a l'autre"
2015-2016 Museum of Northwest Art, WA – Not Vanishing: Contemporary Expressions in Indigenous Art.
2009-2012 Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA – Preston Singletary: Echoes, Fire, and Shadows. Traveled to: National Museum of the American Indian, New York, NY; Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ; Anchorage Museum at Rasmussen Center, Anchorage, AK
2010 John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI - Animal Instincts
2009 McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, ON – Challenging Traditions: Contemporary First Nations Art of the
2005 The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, University of Washington, Seattle, WA – Fusing Traditions
Museum of Art + Design, New York, NY – Changing Hands: Art Without Reservation
2004 National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, DC - Our Universe
2003 Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA - Solo Exhibition, Threshold
Museum of Craft & Folk Art, San Francisco, CA – Group exhibition – Fusing Traditions:
Transformations in Glass by Native American Artists. Traveled to: Heard Museum, Phoenix, AZ; The
Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; Rockwell
Museum of Western Art, Corning, NY; Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Santa Cruz
Museum of Art and History, Santa Cruz, CA; Anchorage Museum at Rasmussen Center, Anchorage,
AK; Alaska State Museum, Juneau, AK; Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center,
MUSEUM AND PUBLIC COLLECTIONS
Anchorage Museum at Rasmussen Center, Anchorage, AK
The Autry National Center, Los Angeles, CA
The British Museum, London, UK
The Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY
The Burke Museum of Natural and Cultural History, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Château-Musée de Boulogne-sur-Mer, France
City of Seattle, Portable Works Collection, Seattle, WA
Corning Museum of Glass, Corning NY
Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA
Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO
Ethnografiska Museet, Stockholm, Sweden
Detroit Institute of the Arts, Detroit, MI
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA
Fred Jones, Jr, Museum of Art, University of Oklahoma, OK
Group Health Cooperative, Seattle, WA
Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, WA
Heard Museum of Art, Phoenix, AZ
Hood Museum of Art, Hanover, NH
Microsoft Art Collection
Mint Museum of Art & Design, Charlotte, NC
Museum of Art + Design, New York, NY
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA
Museum of History & Industry, Seattle, WA
The Museum of Natural History, Anchorage, AK
National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.
National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, UK
Newark Museum, Newark, NJ
Palmer Museum of Art, Pennsylvania, PA
Rockwell Museum, Corning, NY
Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA
Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
St. Paul’s Cathedral, Oklahoma City, OK
Tweed Museum of Art, University of Minnesota, Duluth,MN
Washington State Arts Commission, Olympia, WA
2018 Governor’s Arts Award – Individual, Washington State Arts Commission, Olympia, WA
2016 National Artist Fellowship Award, Native Arts & Culture Foundation, Vancouver, WA
2013 Mayor’s Art Award for “Raising the Bar”, Seattle, WA
2010 Honorary doctorate, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA
2009 National Native Artist Exchange Award, NE Foundation for the Arts
2004 1st Place Contemporary Art, Sealaska Heritage Foundation, Celebration 2004
2003 Rakow Commission, Corning Museum of Glass, NY
2002 Purchase Award, Seattle Arts Commission, Seattle, WA
2000 Mayor's Award and 1st, 2nd, 3rd place, Diversified Arts, Best of Division, Indian Art NW, Portland, OR
1999 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Place, Diversified Arts, Best of Division, Indian Art NW,
Portland, OR, Study Grant, Washington Mutual Foundation, The Pilchuck Glass School, Stanwood, OR
1998 First Place, Diversified Arts, Best of Division, NW, Portland OR
1996 The Jon and Mary Shirley Scholarship, Pratt Fine Arts Center, Seattle, WA
1995 Study Grant, Washington Mutual Foundation, Pilchuck Glass School, Stanwood, WA
1988 ,90 The Glass House Goblet Competition Purchase Award
1985 Work Study Grant, The Institute of Alaska Native Arts
2009- current Island Wood Environmental School, Bainbridge Island, WA – Board of Directors
2008 Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, NM - Community Advisory Committee
2007-current Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA - Community Advisory Committee
2006-current Artstream Cultural Resources, Pagosa Springs, CO - Community Advisory Committee
2005-2011 Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA - Board of Trustees and Community Advisory Committee
2000-current Pilchuck Glass School, Seattle, WA - Board of Trustees and Community Advisory Committee
Ice World, 2018
Blown and sand carved glass, 19.5 x 8.5 x 4"
Journey Across the Fire 2016
Blown and sand carved glass 28 x 12 x 6"
Medicine Woman (Raven Woman), 2012
Blown and sand carved glass, 12.5 x 23 x 8"
Metallic Basket - Dusk 2011
Blown and sand carved glass 9.5 x 11.25 x 11.25"
Midnight Basket 2014
Blown and sand carved glass 19.75 x 16.5 x 16.5"
Osprey/Whales Fin, 2011
Blown and sand carved glass, 18.75 x 9.5 x 3.25"
Oystercatcher Rattle, 2012
Blown and sand carved glass, 22 x 16 x 6"
Sky Chief Rattle, 2013
Blown and sand carved glass, human hair, 16 x 7 x 7.5"
Spring Awakening, 2014
Blown and sand carved glass, 13.5 x 8 x 8"
Swan Rattle, 2015
Blown and sand carved glass, 21 x 12.5 x 5.5"
Blown and sand carved glass, 18.5 x 16.5 x 3"
Travels the Oceans, 2014
Blown and sand carved glass 15 x 20 x 10"
Fog Woman, 2018
Blown and sand carved glass, 29 x 6 x 4"
Blown and sand carved glass, 22.5 x 9 x 3"
Tlingit Shelf Basket 2016
B16-73, Blown and sand carved glass 8 x 9.25 x 9.25"
Tlingit Shelf Basket 2013
B13-60 Blown and sand carved glass 8.75 x 8.25 x 8.25"
Tlingit Shelf Basket 2015
B15-108, Blown and sand carved glass 8.5 x 8.75 x 8.75"
Shelf Basket 2015
4139 Blown and sand carved glass 8.5 x 9.5 x 9.5"
Village Under the Lake 2012
In collaboration with Dante Marioni Blown and sand carved glass 18 x 12.5 x 4.5"
Black Wolves, 2014
in collaboration with Dante Marioni, Blown and sand carved glass, 16 x 15 x 13.5"
Raven's Hand 2014
In collaboration with Ross Richmond Hot sculpted glass 14 x 7 x 8.5"
Eagles Offering 201
in collaboration with Ross Richmond, Hot sculpted glass 15.5 x 8 x 11"
Raven's Eye 2014
In collaboration with Ross Richmond Hot sculpted glass 16.5 x 9 x 9.5"
Warrior Raven 2014
In collaboration with Ross Richmond Hot sculpted glass 19.25 x 9 x 9.75"