Bernstein Glass Biography
About the artists
Katherine and William both grew up in New Jersey and met while attending art school in Philadelphia. They married in 1968, and anxious to leave the city, they accepted Artist in Residence positions at the Penland School of Crafts in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.
After two years they moved to nearby Celo, North Carolina with their newborn son, Josh. They moved into a log cabin, planted a garden, and set up a studio in Celo Community, a land trust located on the beautiful South Toe River. They settled in. Their second son Alex was born in 1972.
In the early years, Katie worked in hand built porcelain and Billy, very influenced by Scandinavian and colonial American glass design, started producing a variable line of goblets and sculptural pieces. In 1971, Billy, together with glass pioneers Mark Peiser and Fritz Dreisbach took part in planning and hosting the first meeting of the Glass Arts Society. This organization has since grown into an international organization with over a thousand members.
In the mid 1970's glass master and educator Harvey Littleton moved nearby and quickly took an interest in the young artist's work. He insisted that Katie's sculpture in clay would translate beautifully into glass. To make his point, he took several of Katie's clay originals back to his studio and cast them in crystal. The results were wonderful, and Katie started working exclusively in glass.
By the 80's both artists had established themselves as major forces in the glass world, but to keep their studio running they needed a steady flow of sales which eventually brought them together on a line of goblets and tableware. Katie supplied the imagery with melted glass colored rods, and Billy formed the result into a vessel. This combination proved very popular and received wide recognition in design journals and magazines. They continue to produce these pieces today.
Currently Both Artists produce individual pieces for gallery shows and collaborate with two assistants on the functional work. Their oldest son Josh is a physician in Cambridge MA, and son Alex is a respected glass artist and professor at the Cleveland Institute of Art. Katie and Billy remain content in the log cabin with three huge black dogs.