By Amy Larson
Photography by Pete Grady
Christopher Gibson grew up in a family that loved nature. His creativity found its roots outdoors.
“I remember looking into the river when I was about five, noticing sparkling mica, water flowing over rocks, and how the light reflected. I observed on an up-close, personal scale, appreciating the visual aspects of nature. Later in life, I realized I could try to recreate that.”
Sensing a niche, Gibson worked with blown glass for two years before deciding it was too expensive an art form for a hobbyist. Putting that aside for more “practical” things, he rejoined the family farm, hoping to fill the void of wanting to produce something, but the artistry within didn’t subside; it only grew.
Taking up stained glass while farming, Gibson felt it lacked dimension. Purchasing a kiln, he discovered the endless versatility of fused glass, claiming one could spend several lifetimes developing new techniques.
In 2008 he was hired for his abilities by Fusions Glass Studio in Eagle. Like many artists, Gibson felt strongly other aspects of life were distractions when attempting to live in true purpose, and welcomed the opportunity to fulfill his dream of working within his passion full-time.
“I now fuse glass most days of the year, and have never been bored,” he says, “The more I do, the more I want to work harder, improve.”
Gibson believes lots of open-ended time is the best way to channel the gift.
“It’s already in there, you don’t need to ‘go find it,'” he explains. “Get a chunk of time, get into that rhythm, and it’s almost like an out of body experience. You can feel the energy artists put into it. If I’m looking at an object and it gives me chills, I know something’s going on there. I’ve felt that with other artists’ work, and three or four times with my own.”
Gibson’s nature themes display the playground where he first observed shapes, lines, and colors.
“I like what people often overlook. Mushrooms, pine needles, rocks, dirt. That comes out in my work. Idaho is so diverse, there’s so much to see; I get a lot from its landscape.”
A piece of his entitled “Forest Floor” was inspired from hiking with a heavy backpack and Gibson’s need to pay attention to where he was walking. His earthy style is well received, evidenced by growing popularity, participation in international competitions, and an enviable recent invitation to an eleven-day artist’s residency in Santa Fe where he hiked, took over 3,000 photos, and watched the sun and moon rise and set for lighting and color change value. All found its way into his continually- expanding career.
“I love the process, love working with my hands, and love figuring out how to turn a concept like lichen, mushrooms, or the composition of a rock into glass,” he says.
Christopher Gibson’s observant vision now brings the outdoors, through fused glass, into countless workplaces and homes, opening others’ eyes to his definition of the beauties of this world.