Work of the Week– “Trout Vase” by Ken Carder

Monday, March 27, 2017

By Matt GorgaTrout Vase

It’s late March in Western North Carolina. For me, that means its time to dust off that fly rod, put on those waders and take advantage of the many rivers and streams that this area has to offer.

Browsing the Museum’s Permanent Collection, I came upon this vase by Ken Carder. I just spent the day on the Green River in Saluda, NC, and since this is the first week of Spring, this piece seems fitting for this week’s “Work of the Week.”

The vase is hot-sculpted and blown glass. I have always been fascinated by the skills required to work with hot glass. The time constraint is what really baffles me… Watching glass blowers craft beautiful works of art in a matter of minutes is truly awe inspiring.

The artist, Ken Carder, is an Ohio native, was born in 1955 and currently works and lives in Collinsville, CT. He has a strong connection to the Western North Carolina area, where from 1984 to 1988 he spent time at the Penland School of Crafts working as an assistant to Harvey Littleton and William Bernstein before becoming an artist in residence. Carder later opened his own studio in 1988. His work is in collections at the Mint Museum, the Glass Museum Ebetoft (Denmark) and the Glas Museum Oberglas (Austria).

Rainbow trout are a beautiful fish, and it’s impressive that Carder was able to transpose this beauty to glass. The cool shades of blue and green make the reds really pop out you, but not in an aggressive way. To me, the piece is soothing.

Now, I know not everyone enjoys fishing, but fly-fishing is an experience by itself. It  is one of the most serene outdoor activities that I have ever participated in, and I highly recommend hiring a local guide and giving it a try.

This vase brings to my mind a cozy river house, windows open, with the sounds of birds chirping and a steady flowing river filling the air.

Sounds like Spring to me…

Artwork above: Ken Carder, Trout Vase, 1999, Glass, Hot-worked and blown, 15 x 12.75 x 9 inches, Gift of Sonia and Isaac Luski, Permanent Collection