About FireSpider Glass

Present Time

I am Skyler Raiter of Southwest New Mexico, where I still live and work. I have been working with glass full time since 2017 in both the hotshop and flameshop. In 2022 I took a job on a hotshot crew fighting wildfires half the year. I am splitting my time between my normal life of blowing glass and wildland firefighting because I have been working with glass since 2014 and felt that it was time to do something a little different, to work with other people in service of other people and the environment. This means my glass production has slowed over the past year, but wildland fire pays well and I am already taking huge steps progress towards my glass dreams. This means that custom orders will be accepted but not filled during my fire season. If you would like to get on the list send me an email or reach out on Instagram!

The Story:

The first time I saw someone working with glass I was convinced that he was a wizard. I was 6 at the time, but the medium is still pretty magical. A substance that can go from solid to liquid and back to solid all in a matter of seconds is such an immediate and satisfying medium to work with. The possibilities for creativity are overwhelmingly limitless.

My artwork consists primarily of glass writing pens, vessels, jewelry, and some models/sculptures. I like making pieces you can interact with and actually use. I am happiest when I am making objects that are aesthetic and require a good bit of technical skill to make. I have a compulsion to make things that are just beyond my skill level, overcoming challenges in glass work is a big part of the attraction for me.

I learned hotshop techniques at The Sonoran Glass School in Tucson, AZ and later taught there 2018-2020. Summer 2017 at Pilchuck, I studied with Matt Eskuche and Jason Christian, Summer 2018 I studied with John Miller. I learned to make glass from scratch (and much more) from Mark Peiser, Henry Halem, and Paul Anders-Stout. Wesley Fleming taught me a about making insects and lifeforms. Emilio Santini taught me classical Venetian techniques.

All of my glass pens are made out of borosilicate glass, which is the same glass that is used to make Pyrex kitchen and lab ware. This type of glass is very strong and quite resistant to thermal shock. Each piece is unique in the way it is made and colored, I either make things off of solid glass rods or I start with a glass tube. I use silver and gold to color many of my pieces and also buy colored glass rods and powder as another method of coloring pieces.

Historically, lampworkers used oil lamps to soften small amounts of glass into a workable state. Modern lampworkers use a torch to melt the glass. I was fourteen when I decided spend my savings on some glassblowing tools and my first shipment of raw glass. I started on a welding torch making and selling simple pendants until I could afford a glass blowing torch. I taught myself the basics, and then started taking classes.

If you have any questions or custom order requests feel free to contact me.

-Skyler Raiter