Sunday Spotlight: Moshe Bursuker, glassblowing artist and educator

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Moshe Bursuker, at home at Evari Studio. (Benjamin Allen / HudValley Photo)

Architects, interior designers and artists across the country know that when they want high-end, one-of-a-kind or limited-edition glass art and light fixtures for their clients, the place to go is Evari Studio.

The Studio, located inside a beautiful two-story barn in North Salem, is run by Moshe Bursuker, an acclaimed glassblower who has studied at the Studio of the Corning Museum of Glass, one of the best glassmaking schools in the world. Here, Bursuker spends much of his time crafting unique light fixtures ranging from elaborate chandeliers to modern pendants.

Moshe Bursuker chooses a tool. (Benjamin Allen / HudValley Photo)

Glassblowing is an ancient art form, dating back thousands of years. Netflix brought it into the pop culture mainstream in 2019 with the show Blown Away, in which glass-blowing artists from around the world compete in challenges to win a cash prize. Today, Bursuker points out, much of our lives are surrounded by glass, in our cars, in our homes and on our phones.

“Look at what we’re doing with our cars and smart glass and smart phones,” he said. “Pretty soon buttons won’t exist anymore and everything in a vehicle will be glass paneling. Look around, it’s everywhere.”

Three times a year, a delivery truck pulls up to Bursuker’s studio entrance to drop off pallets of sand, which Bursuker will use to make glass from scratch. The heavy bags are stacked in a room on the ground floor of his 1,000-square-foot studio space, awaiting transformation from something that looks like little more than white dust into exquisite works of art that can sometimes sell for thousands of dollars. Bursuker’s light fixtures are particularly sought after by artists and designers.

A handmade light created by Bursuker. (Benjamin Allen / HudValley Photo)

“I really enjoy working on how the glass will interact with the light,” said Bursuker. “I enjoy putting together the hardware, and the marriage of metal and glass or wood and glass. I like that problem solving of getting these two materials to work together harmoniously.”

Each one of Bursuker’s projects starts the same way: as sand in a furnace. The raw material is melted at extremely high temperatures—as high as over 3,000 degrees—to be malleable enough to work with. “In the summer, it’s not fun to be a glassblower,” Bursuker remarked. 

The furnace inside Evari Studio. (Benjamin Allen, HudValley Photo)

From there it’s all about muscle memory, technique and refinement. A separate area of the studio has several different machines and hand tools that Bursuker uses to manipulate the shape of the glass. Once an object is shaped, it goes into a kiln—just like in ceramics—to prevent cracking as the piece cools down slowly.

On a recent week in the studio, Bursuker was working on three different projects: collaborating with an artist to re-create antique windows, crafting a custom set of barware, including pilsner and wine glasses, and creating pendant lighting. 

The following week, Bursuker would spend much of his time at his alma mater, University of Hartford, where he has been an adjunct professor at the Hartford Art School for the past six years. There, he teaches glass fabrication, sculpture, metal, woodworking and graphic design. “That’s a big part of my identity, not only as an artist, but also as an educator,” Bursuker said. His students’ eagerness and motivation to learn fuels Bursuker’s own drive as an artist. “I enjoy the mentoring aspect and getting them to make their work as great as it could possibly be. I have high standards for myself but also for my students.”

As an artist, Bursuker is driven by challenge. He’ll often set time aside to allow himself to fail on a project. “Sometimes I’ll take a little loss in order to figure out a complex idea,” Bursuker said. His focus is not on mastery—he doesn’t believe in it—but rather in incremental improvements to his craft. “I try to pick ideas that I think are not just going to be successful but that I’ll also be rewarded for attempting to execute.”

A collection of ornaments made by Bursuker. (Benjamin Allen / HudValley Photo)

From large-scale hotel jobs helping to manufacture hundreds of items to singular projects for individual clients, Bursuker continues to find inspiration in creating a variety of glass work.

“I have more ideas that I would like to achieve than I have time in my life to do.”

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