Geoffrey Beetem is regarded by many as a master glass artist in the use of dichroic glass in contemporary handmade glass marbles. Beetem’s continuous exploration of technique has become his hallmark. In 1980, he began with studying stained glass techniques, which involved painting and fusion in creating effects. It was though this exposure to the technical aspects of glass and color theory that led Beetem to enroll in a hot glass course at Ohio University.
Under the direction of Jane Bruce, much attention was given to Ittens School of color theory and conceptual ideas of glass. During that time, Geoffrey was encouraged to go to the New York Experimental Glass Workshop to study with Jioni Toso. He taught Geoffrey the blown and wrapped shell form, which Geoffrey later expanded upon enabling the pieces to become larger. He also taught Geoffrey many other techniques such as filigrana and Italian goblet making.
Then in 1987 Beetem was offered the hot shop technician position at the famous Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington. This was a great opportunity to study and work with the best from around the world.
“With so many world glass luminaries passing through, my glass skills were developed and eyes opened, it was quite unbelievable. The wide possibilities were endless.”
Beetem worked with such noted artists as Lino Taglapiertra, William Moris, Rich Royol, Dan Daily, and Donte Marioni. The influence of these artists and experience earned at Pilchuck can be seen in his style, technique and color theory.
Beetem’s work reflects the tremendous power contemporary studio glass can exert on an artist. In addition to his sculptural Sea Shells, Compote, Nesting Bowls, and Column Nest series, he took a suggestion from a friend, Rodney Lyndon, to design marbles as well.
When Beetem started his work with dichroic glass very little was known. The new material inspired Beetem’s theoretical use of color with its ability to do a three phase chromatic shift. Dichroic glass became instrumental in the design of the Cosmic series.
Beetem’s well known Stardust Marbles originated from his view of cosmic debris; stardust trailing behind a comet as it flies through space. The trailing frozen crystalline objects in his marbles are his artistic representation of this effect. In the Stardust V-Lobe, his design spirals through the center core much like and endless staircase. And the Stardust Clambroth design, which was drawn from antique clambroth marbles, has been duplicated by others but never replicated. They have consisted of 12 stripes and panels, which is a testament to Geoffrey’s skill. The use of dichroic color and the inclusions of vibrantly contrasting primary and secondary colors has continued in Beetem work until today.
The Cosmic series is a wonderful example of contemporary studio art glass transcending the field of collectible marbles to collectible art glass. “I decided to do the Earth marbles because it became apparent that some needed a realistic image of the Earth to see its vulnerability. “
Beetem’s concept started with an accurate depiction of the world’s continents then through 3 years of development he used computer technology to fine tune his graphics. The perfection of the 3-D effect and culmination of his work has created one of the world’s most unique contemporary marbles being crafted on a limited basis today. It was even used in a Star Trek Voyager episode when the crew needed to present a scale model of the Earth to a reptilian race that once inhabited the Earth.
His creativity and inspiration for advancement does not cease with the New Earth marble. His new Orange Dali Series displays Beetem’s ability to incorporate sculptural forms with a Daliesk conceptual flair. Event Horizon, Gravitational Pull and Singularity are works of Geoffrey Beetem that continue to expand the boundaries of the studio glass movement. In the realm of contemporary marbles and sculptural glasswork, the artistry of Geoffrey Beetem is a true testament to the creative process, imaginative artistry and technological advancements. He is ranked as one of the premier glass artist working today.
Each of Beetem’s marbles or sculptures has the ability to advance your collection by offering you hands on insight into the color theory, technical skill and personal interests of this artist. Collectors acquiring the finest contemporary handmade glass from the studio glass movement will long seek after his work, exhibited in galleries throughout the world and many of the finest permanent collections and museum displays.