Glass, Bill Jr.

Bill Glass Jr.
Date of Birth: 
3/15/1950
Place of Birth: 
Tahlequah, Oklahoma

Tribe(s)

 
Schedule:

Biography:

      The renowned Cherokee artist Bill Glass Jr. was born in Tahlequah, Oklahoma on 3/15/1950.  The son of a career Bureau of Indian Affairs employee, Bill grew up in Kansas, Arizona, New Mexico, & graduated from El Reno (Oklahoma) High School in 1968.  Bill studied at Northern Arizona University & Central State (Oklahoma) University before enrolling in the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, NM.  Bill studied sculpture under the renowned Ft. Sill Apache artist Allan Houser.  Bill studied ceramics & graduated from IAIA in 1975 with an Associate of Fine Arts degree. 
      Bill returned to Oklahoma.  For the next two years, Bill set up arts & crafts classes in numerous NE Oklahoma communities as the Arts & Crafts Director for the Cherokee Nation.  Bill's dedication & hard work with Cherokee artists & craftsmen helped establish the Cherokee Artist Association, Inc.  Bill enjoyed his work because of the many opportunities his job provided him to see & learn more about Cherokee art & culture & become more involved with his tribal heritage.
      Bill's success as an artist is derived from his natural talent & curiosity.  Experimenting with a variety of techniques & materials, or mixing & testing chemicals for glazes in his home studio near Locust Grove (Oklahoma), Bill has largely developed his own unique talents in ceramics & ceramic sculpture.
      Bill works in a contemporary style.  Starting a sculpture piece on the wheel, a bowl is formed & collapsed.  Bill responds to the sagging & bulging clay, trying to control but not dominate the clay, allowing his spirit to coincide with the spirit of the clay.  Bill proceeds with hand-building & burnishing techniques, & bisque fires the piece. 
      The piece is then ready for glazing.  Bill considers the glazing process as a painting on a three-dimensional surface.  Using design elements, abstraction, movement, whatever traditional or conterporary technique needed to bring life, a freshness to a piece, Bill tries to create artwork that brings about a response of excitement in the viewer.
      As a Cherokee artist, Bill tries to communicate a sense of pride in his work.  Bill primarily uses designs & variations of the Mound Builder Era, the prehistory of the Cherokee & other Southeast Woodland Indian traditions.  To Bill these images are "our Cherokee heritage", they show pride in the colorful history of the Cherokee people.  These images, along with family history, can be handed down to the next generation.  Bill says, "We are Cherokee, we are who we are."  It is no surprise that Bill believes everyone with Cherokee blood should have a piece of Cherokee art.  Art is a great teacher.  Through Art, we learn to relate to one another.
       A humble man, Bill is very grateful for his artistic talents.  Bill has been a full-time artist since 1977.  In 1986, Bill was inducted as a Master Artist of the Five Civilized Tribes Museum (Muskogee, OK).  In 1996, Bill participated in the "Cherokee Fire Takers Show" at the Cherokee National Museum (Tahlequah, OK).  In 1999, Bill received the Cherokee Medal of Honor from the Cherokee Honor Society (Tahlequah, OK).  In Nov. 1999, Bill participated as a panelist in a symposium "Native Lands:  Indians & Georgia" at the Atlanta History Center.  The associated art show included two of Bill's pieces, one of which was used on the catalog cover.  Bill participated in the "Winter Camp 2000 Art Show", the first group show for Native American artists at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (Oklahoma City, OK).  In 2002, Bill participated in the "Winter Camp # 2 Art Show" at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.  In 2005, Bill participated in "Changing Hands:  Art Without Reservation 2" at the Museum of Arts & Design (New York, NY).  In 2006, Bill participated in the Tulsa (OK) Arts & Humanities Council fundraiser "Simply Oklahoma Gala".  Bill has one of his ceramic sculptures in the permanent collection of the Heard Museum. 
      Over the years, Bill has expanded his range of media to include bronze sculpture & installation pieces.   In 1994, Bill designed & created large light fixtures for the Talking Leaves Job Corps facility (Tahlequah, OK).  Bill & his son Demos Glass were among the five Cherokee artists that formed Cherokee Artists Gadugi Team, Inc.  In 2004, the city of Chattanooga (TN) commissioned the Gadugi Team to produce artwork of a Southeast Woodland style as part of "The Passage", a riverside development at the former location of the John Ross Trading Post at Ross Landing along the Tennessee River.  In 2007, Bill & Demos were commissioned by the Tulsa Art Commission to design four 22 foot diameter terazzo floor medallions for the BOK Events Arena (Tulsa, OK).  
 
Awards:
 
      Bill has won over 50 awards, including a First Place award in Contemporary Pottery at the 1974 Annual Heard Museum Guild Indian Arts & Crafts Exhibit (Phoenix, AZ), an award in Stone Sculpture at the 1975 Philbrook Art Center American Indian National Exihibition (Tulsa, OK), a First Place in Contemporary Pottery at the 1979 Gallup Ceremonials (Gallup, NM), a First Place in Sculpture at the 1980 Cherokee National Historical Society (Tahlequah, OK), a First Place & Third Place in Contemporary Ceramic Sculpture at the 1980 Annual Indian Market (Santa Fe, NM), a First Place in Sculpture at the 1980 Five Civilized Tribes Museum, a Second Place in Sculpture at the 1988 Tulsa (OK) Indian Art Festival, a First Place in Pottery at the 1988 Red Earth Festival (Oklahoma City, OK), a First Place in Pottery & Honorable Mention in Sculpture at the 1989 Red Earth Festival, a First Place in Sculpture at the 1989 Five Civilized Tribes Museum Masters Show, a Second Place in Contemporary Pottery at the 1990 Tulsa Indian Arts Festival, an Honorable Mention in Sculpture at the 1990 Red Earth Festival, a First Place in Sculpture at the 1990 Five Civilized Tribes Museum Masters Show, an Honorable Mention in Pottery at the 1991 Red Earth Festival, a First Place in Contemporary Pottery & a Second Place in Ceramic Sculpture at the 1992 Red Earth Festival, a First Place in Sculpture & a Second Place in Miniatures at the 1992 Five Civilized Tribes Museum Masters Show, a Second Place in Contemporary Pottery at the 1993 Red Earth Festival, a First Place in Sculpture at the 1993 Five Civilized Tribes Museum Masters Show, a First Place in Sculpture at the 1994 Red Earth Festival, the Spirit of Oklahoma Award at the 1994 Five Civilized Tribes Museum Masters Show, a First Place in Clay Sculpture & a First Place in Contemporary Pottery at the 1995 Red Earth Indian Festival, the Grand Award at the 1995 Five Civilized Tribes Museum Masters Show, a Second Place in Clay Sculpture at the 1996 Red Earth Festival, the Best of Show Award at the 1998 Indian Territory Arts Festival (Broken Arrow, OK), a First Place in Clay Sculpture & First Place in Contemporary Pottery at the 1998 Red Earth Festival, the Grand Award at the 1999 Cherokee National Museum's 28th Annual Trail of Tears Art Show (Tahlequah, OK), a First Place in Contemporary Pottery at the 2001 Annual Indian Market, the Trail of Tears Award at the 2002 29th Annual Trail of Tears Art Show, a Second Place in Contemporary Ceramic Forms at the Annual Indian Market, the Grand Award at the 2003 Five Civilized Tribes Museum Masters Show, & Best of Show Award at the 2010 6th Annual Cherokee Art Market (Tulsa, OK).
      In 1976, one of Bill's ceramic sculptures was included in the IAIA "One With The Earth" national tour.  In 1977, Bill's artwork was included in the Heard Museum "Invitational Showing of Thirteen Indian Artists.  Three of Bill's artworks were included in the premier exhibition "American Indian Art in the 1980's" at the Native American Center's "Turtle" (Niagra Falls, NY).  Bill's artwork has been featured in Jamake Highwater's book "The Sweet Grass Lives On", published in 1980 by Lippincott & Crowell (New York, NY).  Bill has been featured in several other books & publications, including "Cherokees:  an Illustrated History" by Billy M. Jones & Odie B. Faulk (1984), "North American Indian Jewelry & Adornment from Prehistory to the Present: by Lois Sherr Dubin (1999), "Cherokee" (a photography book) by David G. Fitzgerald (2002), "Art of the Cherokee:  Prehistory to the Present" by Susan C. Powers (2007), "Artists of the Earth" Southern Living magazine (1989), "Best of the West" Southwest Art magazine (Sept. 1996), in the Dec. 1990 issue of Oklahoma Today magazine, in the 1997 Indian Market Official Program & in the Sept. 2002 Cowboys & Indians magazine.
      
Articles about or from Bill Glass Jr.:

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