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Meet Nate Cotterman of Nate Cotterman

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nate Cotterman.

Nate is a Los Angeles based glass designer/maker. He is known for his modern interpretation of glass objects, using traditional Venetian glass blowing techniques. Challenging low-end production with innovative design and handmade quality. Nate Cotterman has created a line of barware, lighting, and home décor that is both subtle and powerful. His simple forms highlight the natural beauty of the material. The fluidity of the material inspires and enables constant evolution in the design and production of each piece.

Nate graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Art with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Glass. He has worked as a gaffer for some of today’s top designers and makers. He is a sought-after instructor in the field, having demonstrated across the US at institutions such as the University of Montana, Cleveland Institute of Art, Pittsburgh Glass Center, and Pilchuck School of Glass. Upon relocating to Los Angeles in 2010, he has worked as a gaffer at 141 Penn Studio. Nate Cotterman exhibits annually at the NY NOW International Gift Show’s Accent on Design. Nate’s work is carried by retailers worldwide.

In 2008, he met Adam Holtzinger while working as the coordinator assistant for my good friend Slate Grove. The next summer, he returned for a workshop with Adam and Joe Cariati with a Scholarship. This workshop led to moving to Los Angeles to start a new life chapter. Coming from the craft-oriented background of the Cleveland Institute of Art, he was fortunate to start my glass career studying under Brent Young and working for some early studio glass makers, giving me a deep appreciation for the craft of glass making. While in undergrad, he focused on the art of crafting contemporary objects using traditional techniques.

He intended to study Industrial Design during his time at CIA, but stumbled onto glass and was fascinated with the process and material. His work in glass took a design-based approach through the use of technical drawing and creative problem solving to actualize his ideas. He likes to emphasize visually simple forms and clean lines while utilizing the functionality and ergonomics of everyday objects for inspiration. When he moved to LA, he was thrown into a production and design world. He was able to combine his knowledge of the tradition of glass craft with the aesthetic and function of simple design to create beautiful objects that are both functional and sculptural.

He was able to build on his love for the glass process and hone the efficiency of his technique in a production glass blowing setting. Using this combination of creative problem solving and traditional hot glass techniques, he created a line of barware, accents, and lighting that has become the core of his work. His position in the glass world is to use the material to solve problems and pay homage to the craft tradition. He strives to make work that is intriguing, functional and timeless while looking for the unique in the mundane.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has had its rough spots and smooth spots. Right now I struggle with constantly feeling is if I’m struggling to keep up, which is a good thing! It has been most definitely been an evolution and a journey. It isn’t going to stop anytime soon, so its a constant balance of being in the moment and handling one thing at a time and simultaneously stepping back to look at the big picture and set those checkpoints that keep you moving in the direction you want to head. It all depends on your perspective. Use the wrong perspective and anything could be a struggle. Its nonstop work and it takes a unique personality to not only blow glass but run your own business and be independently employed.

Please tell us about Nate Cotterman.
I run a custom design/fabrication/and handblown glass business that specializes in blown glass accents, lighting, and barware. We do wholesale, retail, and trade sales of our own unique designs (www.natecotterman.com). We also work with designers and fabricators to design and create unique lighting installations, as well as create a custom blown glass for other companies designs. We do repairs for individuals and re-creations for historical items.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
Looking back the only thing I regret is racking up a mountain of student loan dept. It has been a major hurdle in my career. I would have liked to figure out a way to get my education without the debt, but not if my education would have suffered. One of the most valuable things for me in undergrad was the time that was available to practice and experiment. So, had I worked an extra job to help with the debt, I likely wouldn’t have gotten the quality and experience of my education.

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