As a child, Aaron Slater watched a PBS documentary film about glass artist Dale Chihuly. Soon, he was melting beer bottles and breaking glass in the basement, fascinated by what he had seen in Chihuly’s early work. That led to taking a variety of art classes in school. Later, he discovered the work of Rick Satava, whose glass jellyfish are known worldwide, and Paul Stankard, famous for his glass paper weights. He was also inspired by American glass pipe makers who pushed the art of flameworking forward in the early 2000s, when he began his own career as a glass artist.
For a time, writing diverted Slater’s attention and he earned a BFA in creative writing with a minor in film at Emerson College, which led to him reading scripts in Los Angeles before he returned to glass art. He never looked back and began teaching himself glass art.
“Being self-taught was not easy,” he admitted. “I think about it when I meet young glass artists who learn technical skills so quickly. For me, it was a long journey of reverse engineering pieces of glass art that I admired along with experimenting, failing and trying again. I believe that process helped me develop an artistic voice and a set of techniques that are mine alone.”