Meet Lukas, one of Niche's glass-blowers! Read his employee spotlight to learn more about his role at Niche and what he enjoys doing in his spare time.
What drew you to Niche?
After graduating from the glass program at Temple University, I began looking for jobs that allowed me to continue to grow my skill set as an artist and glass-maker. Niche was a great fit for me because I enjoy the challenge of perfecting a handmade process to make something flawless.
As one of the glass blowers at Niche, what does your day-to-day look like?
To make our designs, every step from production to our customer’s doorstep must go perfectly. As a member of the production team, we control the beginning of this process. On a production day, I work as the “starter.” My job entails gathering glass from the furnace, blowing a small bubble in it, and stretching a thin layer of color over it to give each piece the right look. Then I pass each start to the next member of the team, who will work to give the glass its final form.
Tell us a little about your background as a glass-blower. What made you pursue that path?
Before I found glass, I worked as a metalsmith, designing jewelry and working in a bronze casting foundry. When I found glass-blowing at my college, however, I was enchanted. The ephemeral nature of molten glass and the skill and teamwork it takes to coax the material into its intended shape drew me in and kept me coming back for more.
Before you came to work at Niche what kind of glass pieces were you making? Do you find time to create outside of Niche?
Prior to working at Niche, I was making artwork revolving around science and modern alchemy. To me, glass is this amazing material that undergoes a radical transformation as it cools. Inspired by this, I experimented with ways to capture other transformations in the world around us, like steel rusting away in water, the optic effects of glass, and the effects of electromagnetic fields around us.
Check out Lukas's video on his art work entitled Mobile Alchemy Research Station (M.A.R.S).
He has also worked on the Corning Museum Glass Barge, where the art of glass blowing went mobile up the Hudson River and across the state of New York on the Erie Canal, from Brooklyn to Buffalo.
What is your favorite spot in the Hudson Valley? Why?
My favorite place I’ve found in the Hudson Valley is a small isle on the Hudson River called Bannerman’s Island. I like to sit nearby and watch the ships and tugboats go by. The island is home to the ruins of a once magnificent castle built to house ammunition and military surplus during times of peace. If you’re lucky, you can still catch the castle’s façade peeking through the mists on a train ride from New York City to Beacon.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
In my free time, I enjoy hiking, vegetarian cooking, and doing DIY projects around the house. A long-term goal of mine is to build my own art studio and home to house my creations.
What is your favorite Niche pendant shape and color combination? Why? Is you favorite Niche design also your favorite to make? Why?
My favorite pendant light is probably the Crystal Pod. With clean, clear glass, there isn’t anything to hide defects, so we must pay extra attention to how we work. These lights are also fun to make, because they get a hand finished element we lovingly refer to as “the tuck,” making each light slightly unique.
What elements and objects in the design world inspire you the most?
My favorite designs highlight quality materials, and the processes used to create them. Many objects in the modern era try to disguise one material as another or hide the way they were made. I think that choosing quality material for a project and showcasing the hands of the maker can give a design a life and history all its own.