James Stone has proven to be an accomplished artist and inspiring figure in Escondido as he has spent more than three decades perfecting his business in glass blowing. Stone & Glass is a company that thrives on creating public awareness for oceanographic and ecological impacts that affect our way of life.
They educate students, nurture community involvement in the arts and for nonprofit contributions for helping the environment and they spend every day forming amazing pieces of art from glass and metal in sizes great and small.
From commissioned work, to personal visions, James Stone has worked alongside his wife, Carol Rogers, and three assistants (David, John, and Travis) to form a business that is easy to work with and reliable. They have a system that has exceeded the expectations of many when it comes to collaborating with an artist to fulfill a need for design, architecture and construction. Stone has created accent walls; elaborate fence pieces, installations, fountains, garden art, and so much more.
Being in Escondido for just two years now, James and Carol have quickly begun forming a true home here. Working with public schools and local nonprofits to help create public awareness for nature conservancy and environmental conservation through the use of art education, physical activity, and lecture.
James, over the many years of making art, has developed his own theory of creativity:
“Every human being is creative. I’ve taught over 8,000 students, I always ask, ‘Who in this class is creative?’ and out of everyone in the class only about two people ever raise their hand. Then I ask, ‘And what about the rest of you?’ And they always say, ‘Oh, no. We’re not creative. We don’tdo any of that stuff and we don’t create anything.’ So, I have to explain to them exactly what is creativity and where do you look for it. What does it look like? What does it feel like? And how do you turn it into outcome? That is the point of my Saturday class is ‘What is creativity…’
“For me it’s not a theory. It is a reality. For me, creativity is a form of energy, and the seeds of creativity ride in all the energy that we consume and absorb so, no matter who you are, the fact that you eat, drink, go out into the sunlight or stand in front of a fire; you’re being bathed with the seeds of creativity and they always appear in every human being in the same place first: In your heart,” he says
“Lots of people say that imagination and creativity occur in your brain. It’s not true. The brain is the second place. You get the messages in your heart. It starts with a feeling. The job of the brain is to translate the feeling into pictures, comprehension and outcome.”
Stone and Glass completed an art contest on behalf of World Ocean Day this past June, inspiring children ages 12 and under. The winner: True Beauty, as an Art Piece, by Pahel Srivastava. Carol Rogers explained that they were given direction to submit a drawing of something in and around the ocean that they thought should be made out of glass. “This submittal came from a 10-year-old girl. As the winner, she got to come into the studio and make this drawing into a glass sculpture with James. She was actuallyon the floor working with James.
“So this is the piece that she and James made, and the one on the right is the piece that James made without her. Don’t you find it interesting how hers is a little softer and a little more feminine, and this other is definitely more masculine.”
The cool thing about this is that the young girl’s mother inquired about why her daughter drew the fins so long and she explained to her mom that the piece was going to be a glass sculpture and that it has to have a means for standing up. The young artist gets to keep her completed piece. Both James and she signed the work with engraved signatures on the base.
“I’ve taken on various big jobs,” said James. “This metal piece is about a $15,000 job. Before you start cutting metal, before you do anything, you want to make a cardboard maquette and you want to put it in place: (A) to make sure it fits and (B) to make sure it is really what the customer wants; because the last thing you want to do is complete $15,000 worth of work, install it and have the customer go, ‘Oh, I didn’t expect for it to look like that.’ That becomes very painful for all involved. Do a maquette and show the patron what the finished piece is going to look like when it’s in place. This time proven process just stops everything from becoming an unfortunate situation in the end,” said Stone as we walked through his workshop.
Classes offered, geared for all age levels, can help to nurture team building and leadership skills, and offer upa one-of-a-kind experience that allows you to take home a timeless memory captured in a translucent figure all your own creation.
“I really enjoyed this class! James’s lecture at the beginning showed his incredible passion for glass and art. It set a wonderful tone for the day,” said D. Collins, a participant of this year’s glass blowing classes at Stone & Glass. “I appreciated his willingness to allow me to perform more of the steps on my piece with minimal or no assistance. I’m really glad that he went the extra mile to turn the nice tumbler into a fantastic highball glass.
“The format of the class worked well for me since it gave me time to see the designs that others were making as well as to look around at all of the pieces on display. That way, I was able to decide exactly how I wanted my piece to look. I will definitely be recommending Stone and Glass to my friends!” said Collins.
Regularly scheduled courses are offered for couple’s classes, private events, creating unique vases and sculptures of various types, and now seasonal options are being offered.
“Had a wonderful time making my glass. James is a great guy and so passionate about what he does. It is infectious. All the staff were very friendly and helpful and I very much appreciated their skill and expertise. Would love to take more classes!” said S. Brickman, another recent participant.
Starting September 30, classes will be offered for learning to make pumpkins and ghosts for the ghoulish season, ornaments and other decorations will soon follow. So far, the youngest student that has participated in the glass blowing classes was nine yearsold, and the eldest was actually an 82-yearold gentleman from Cleveland.
“He saw our work in Cleveland. He was 80 years old. He came to San Diego to take a class and he had so much fun that he came back the next year. And then he recently contacted us and said he was selling his house in Cleveland and that he was moving to San Diego just so that he could become a glass blower,” said James, as he reminisced about some of his most memorable students.
“We do specialty classes. For instance, we had a student who was a quadriplegic and when I met him and said to him, ‘Why don’t you come blow some glass,’ he was sorrowfully asking, ‘How can I blow glass? Look at me. I’m in a wheel chair and I can’t use my hands,’ and I said, ‘Come on. We’ll make it happen,’ and I really wanted to do something special with him. So my assistants and I helped him and he blew a pretty good-sized fish, about eight years ago. He still talks about his experience and how he was able to do that,” recollects Stone.
What’s the next big project for Stone & Glass? According to Carol Rogers, the gallery is looking to partner with companies to feature a project for Beer Week. For companies interested in such a project, feel free to contact the company directly to discuss further details. Stone & Glass is now the elite glass blowing company in Escondido. Visit stoneandglass.com/ for schedule of classes, special events, updated information and more.
Stone and Glass Gallery is located at 1285 Simpson Way in Escondido and is open from 1 to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.