Jun 27, 2016
Episode 114- Lewis Wilson The "P.T.Barnum " of the glass world
Lewis C. Wilson was born on January 14, 1949 in Roswell, New
Mexico. He was part of a military family. Moved to Dallas, Texas in
1954, then lived in Sidi Slamane, Morroco, North Africa from 1956
until 1959, and then moved to Riverside, California. In 1960 he
moved to Goose Bay, Labrador, Nova Scotia Province, Canada. While
in Goose Bay (age 11) he taught himself how to eat fire, juggle,
throw knives and do various magic and circus tricks.
In 1963 his family moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico. He started learning Shotokan karate in 1964. Received his first degree black belt in 1969 and fought in 10 to 12 tournaments a year from 1964 to 1974.
Lewis joined the United States Air Force on January 19, 1970. He worked in the emergency room the last 3 years of active duty as a physician’s assistant. In the fall of 1970 he founded the Patrick Air Force Base karate club. He was part of the ground medical crew for Apollo XII in 1971 for the second lunar landing.
In 1972 Lewis got an old book on scientific glassblowing from a local library and taught himself how to make small glass figurines by using the Bunsen burners in the medical lab. In October of 1973 he approached the Arribas Brothers who held the concessions for the glass blowing at Walt Disney World. Lewis worked for the Arribas Brothers for 3 months under a transition program from the Air Force.
Lewis left the Air Force on January 20,1974. The next day he went to Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida to try to get a job as a glassblower. He wasn’t able to be their glassblower, but they did have a vacancy for a juggler and fire-eater. For the next 2 years Lewis worked with tattooed belly dancers, a magician, and an organ grinder and his monkey.
In July of 1974 Lewis got married, and they moved to St. Petersburg, Florida. He named his glass business Crystal Myths. In July of 1975 Lewis’ daughter Jennifer was born. In 1977 they moved to Quincy, Massachusetts and did about 30-35 art shows a year. In 1981 Lewis got divorced and moved back to Albuquerque, New Mexico along with his daughter.
In 1987 Governor Gary Carruthers presented King Juan Carlos of Spain with one of Lewis’ limited edition Eagle dancers as a gift of state. The State of New Mexico later used a limited edition Eagle dancer as an inaugural gift to President George Bush and a limited edition Red Tail Hawk dancer as an inaugural gift to President Bill Clinton.
In 1993 Lewis produced his first glassworking video, Glass Bead Making. Crystal Myths has now produced more than 20 titles on glassworking.
In 1996 Crystal Myths promoted their first show, The Best Bead Show, in Tucson, Arizona. This was the same year that Robert Lui, one of the editors of Ornament Magazine, called Lewis the P.T. Barnum of beadmakers.
In 2002 Lewis promoted the world’s largest hot glass competition. It was called the Albuquerque Flame-Off. There were 300 glass workers from the U.S. and Canada and 6 torches running for twelve hours a day for 2 days.
In the 2003 winter issue of Ornament, Robert Lui once again granted Lewis a title, “The Impressario of Beads”.
In 2005 Lewis demonstrated at the Kobe International Lampworking Festival in Kobe, Japan. Lewis taught himself Japanese and only spoke Japanese during the demo.
One of the highlights in Lewis’ career was the dedication of a
building named after him at Art Glass Invitational in September of
Lewis is a founding member of the International Society of Glass Beadmakers, a member of the Glass Art Society.
In 2008 Lewis sold the Best Bead Shows . 2008 was a pivotal point in his life. Reemerging as a talented artist and being able to concentrate fully on lampworking.
In 2008 at the Oakland ISGB convention, Lewis was presented with the Hall of Flame Award.
In 2011 Lewis married glass artist Barbara Svetlick. Together their work made it to the cover of Glass Art Magazine in Jan/Feb 2012.
Together , Lewis and Barb do a few shows a year. Lewis is teaching privately and enjoying life
It's officially been 1yr since he launch of his podcast. I can't thank you enough for the love and support for myself and the show. Thank you to all the guests, anyone who's contacted me via email, all the subscribers of the show as well as the newsletter. You all are beautiful and I Love You!!!
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ABOUT SEA CUBE
Sea Cube Co was established in 2001 by Christopher Bock.Chris is
and has worked his way up through the ranks from
assembly worker to senior glassblower. His main focus has always been
scientific glassware, with a major focus on petrochemical products.
With exposure through the American Scientific Glassblowers Society (ASGS),
Chris has come to appreciate and dabble in artistic glass. Over the years
through formal education and experimentation, Chris has embraced the
artistic side of the craft.
Chris currently works as a glassblower for a small manufacturer as well
as owning and operating Sea Cube Co. He is a long-standing member
of the Delaware Valley Section of ASGS and is currently serving as
Vice Chairman for the Section. He has served as a consultant
to many of the glass companies locally and has been sought out on a
national scale for unique, specialty items as well as intricate, detailed repairs.
Sea Cube Co is happy to talk to you about all your needs, just drop a line!
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