Born in Toledo, OH in 1945, Leon Applebaum grew up in what would become the birthplace of American studio glass. While an art student in Toledo, Leonís dream of becoming a high school art teacher was shattered upon enrolling in his first hot glass class. Leon was instantly intrigued by the molten material, resulting in an addiction to working hot glass that would shape and define the rest of his life.
Leon completely immersed himself into this newly discovered world of glass. He completed his B.F.A. at the Massachusetts College of Art and then received his M.A. at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. Although Leon experienced success exhibiting and selling his work as an undergraduate, he sought to further his education beyond what the available universities could offer.
In 1973 Leon journeyed across the Atlantic to study the enduring tradition of Swedish glass forming at the Orrefeorís Glass School. There Leon beggn to explore the Swedish style of optically thick glass that would influence the future of his work.
After a year of studying and working at Boda Glass in Sweden, Leon returned to the U.S. to pursue his M.F.A. in glass from the Rochester Institute of Technology. During this period, Leon was able to synthesize the Swedish glass techniques with his ideas of using the color spectrum and trapping air to create bubbles as a design element that continues to define his work.
For the next 25 years, Leon has been developing new ideas, techniques, and designs on hot glass. He enjoys the glass shaping processes and feels it a privilege to blow glass. He has taught at RIT and Naples Mill Art School in Naples, NY, and conducted workshops throughout the country. His work is represented in the permanent collections of The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, The Corning Museum of Glass, and the Ajeto Glass Museum, among many others. He also shows in many national and international galleries.
Leon currently resides with his family at Sahaj Glass Studio in Prattsburgh, NY.
The process of blowing glass has been my teacher for the past 30 years. I have developed glass blowing techniques for my work that captivate the fluid energy of hot glass, using fire, air, centrifugal force, gravity and tools to push and pull the glass. I enjoy exploring the visual dimensions of massive glass and reflective interiors, using transparent colors so that light passes through and brings out the pure beauty and essence of glass.
Select awards include:
Purchase Award, Tennesse Arts Commission
First Prize, Annual Festival of the Arts Toledo, OH
Purchase Award, National Art Exhibition, Valley City State College
Purchase Award, Saenger National Sculpture Exhibit
Purchase Award, Toledo Museum of Art Toledo, OH
Purchase Award, Butler Institute of American Art Youngstown, OH
Jurorís Special Award, Butler Institute of American Art
Winner in Fragile Art Competition, Glass Studio Portland, OR
Purchase Award, Art League Indianapolis, IN
Best of Crafts Gold Medal, Toledo Museum of Art Toledo, OH
Excellence in Crafts Award, Ringling Brothers Craft Show Sarasota, FL
Best of Show (for 2 years) Miami, FL
More than 20, including:
New York, NY
Los Angeles, CA
Judith Wolov Gallery
Elaine Potter Gallery
San Francisco, CA
New York, NY
Christy Taylor Gallery
Boca Raton, FL
National Glass Show
Southfield , MI
Masters in Glass
American Contemporary Art Glass
Galerie Verre díArt
Kanazawa Crafts International
Japan Kyoto Glass International
Select collections include:
Fisk University Nashville, TN
The McChnaugh Collection of American Art Youngstown, OH
Culver Stockton College Canton, MO
Canton Art Institute Canton, OH
The Patrick Lannen Art Foundation Palm Beach, FL
Select collections include:
Wheaton Museum of Glass Miliville, NJ
Brunner Museum at Iowa State University Ames, IA
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Washington, DC
Corning Museum of Glass Corning, NY
Gulf Coast Museum of Art Largo, FL
Vero Beach Museum of Art Vero Beach, FL
Ajeto Glass Museum Novy Bor, Czech Republic