Right Brain: Eric Ratcliffe
February 12, 2008
Colorado native and current Frisco resident Eric Ratcliffe spent his summers in Summit County before moving to Canada at the age of 17 to learn his craft.”I didn’t know anything about (glassblowing), except that my older brother did it,” he said. “He told me if I bought the equipment he would teach me.”Ratcliffe, now 23, moved to the county in late 2006 and now teaches others the art through workshops.His work includes sculpture pieces, ornaments, necklaces, wine glasses and abstract and realistic glass sculptures.He is currently teaching classes of soft glass bead making at his studio, which folks can sign up for through Luna’s Beads and Glass in Frisco.
A recent project of Ratcliffe’s reflects his personal values of sustainability.He created the glass columns for the “Lunchbox Laboratory,” which is showing at the New York Museum of Modern Art through April as part of the Design and the Elastic Mind Exhibition.He got involved with the project, which detects hydrogen production in algae, through a friend at the Colorado School of Mines and author of the project, Jonathan Meuser.”I’m all about renewable energy, healthy food and healthy living,” Ratcliffe said.Ratcliffe, who works at Copper Mountain and Alpine Natural Foods, is currently showing a new series called “Trees” at the Fox Ridge Fine Art Gallery in Breckenridge.
What are your dreams/what would you like to do with your art? Every day I understand more about working with glass and its endless possibilities. When I was just starting out my work was very confined. Recently I’ve been working on as many mixed media projects as possible. Collaborating with other Summit County artists has continuously opened new doors for me. For instance, I’m currently working on a piece with Jef Frick in Frisco that’s a steel tree with big glass leaves on it. Other examples are a local collaboration, which will be a leather lamp shade with colored glass marbles installed in it. I am working on this piece with Michael Pero, owner of “The Leather Farm,” located in the Frisco Mall. I came to a realization the other day that most of my friends are local artists with a trade of some sort that I admire. What are you most proud of regarding your art (and/or greatest accomplishment)?
I would have to say it is everything that I have contributed toward renewable energy research. One of the main reasons I live in Frisco is not because I love to ski and snowboard. Having curbside recycling on Main Street and realistic public transportation makes the town of Frisco my home. Working at Copper Mountain this season, I have driven to work or to ski only once so far. What do you do when you’re not making art?In the winter I ski and snowboard as much as possible as well as work at Copper Mountain. Of course even when I’m not making art I’m teaching it through our local glass workshops so I do spend quite a bit of time in the studio. In the summer I love to ride my bike, use my longboards, go on hikes, hang out at Rainbow Lake and just be outside enjoying the sun. This summer I hope to fix up my old classic car and go sailing a few times. I also plan on starting a local food bank for those who are less fortunate. Every week local supermarkets throw out produce when new shipments come in; they also throw out things that carry expiration dates two or three months in advance of their true time of expiration. I would like to recover this food before it is wasted and do some good. For more information on how to donate or volunteer contact me at FriscoFoodBank@email.com.- Leslie Brefeld