David Royce, Sculptor of Light

In David Royce’s studio, the furnace burns at 2,000 degrees 24-7. He can spend a month creating one glass-and-metal sculpture or churn out 15 vessels a day, depending on what he’s working. His workday always ends at 5:00 pm, though, so he can pick up his two year-old from day care.

David Royce-8

“I’ve been doing this for over half my life now,” says Royce, 31, he started work as an apprentice glassworker at just 15 when he was visiting a community clay studio owned by a family friend. He found himself intrigued by the glass artists there. “I asked how old you had to be to become an apprentice. They said 18 and I said I was just 15,” Royce explains. “They told me to come back tomorrow. I went back every day; I was bitten by the glass bug.“


Royce continued to study glass making through high school and into college before making a foray into Chinese language studies and Child Psychology at the U of MN. He soon found himself back working with glass as the studio manager at FOCI: Minnesota Center for Glass Arts.

He is currently developing new techniques that marry metal with glass. “My latest sculptures have an industrial feel to them. I’m interested in where society is going next and that influences my work,” Royce says. His work involves kinetic pieces and applying cast bronze and sheet metal to the glass, innovating in the field of glass art.

Royce also makes functional objects such as vessels and lighting. “Running a glass studio requires you to be both creative as well as business-minded,” he realizes, though he admits he never tires of making dozens of the same object. “I constantly focus on smaller and smaller details to improve each piece…there’s something a little magical, a little mystical about the glass making process.”

whiteHis passion for glasswork has garnered international attention. Royce participated in the prestigious SOFA Chicago exhibit the last four years, won Best in Show at the Uptown Art Fair, and been featured in a public television series on MN artists.

This Sunday, November 22 at 2:00 p.m. Royce will be presenting at FOCI: Minnesota Center for Glass Arts as part of Rimon’s popular Salon Series. He will give a glass-blowing demonstration and discuss his process along with Jennifer Komar Olivarez, Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

“I’m still finalizing what I’m going to make,” Royce tells me about his glass-blowing presentation with Rimon this weekend. “I’m excited for the opportunity. It’s an open book.”

Reserve tickets for “Sculpting Light: The Art of Glass” this Sunday at www.rimonMN.org. Tickets are $12, $6 for those under 30.

To learn more about David Royce’s process or purchase his work, visit DavidRoyceGlass.com .