Merritt Henggeler at Glass Roots 2016
Badge Glass is run by New Jersey based borosilicate glass artist Merritt Henggeler. Originally from Maryville, Missouri, he has been working with borosilicate glass since 2010. We caught up with him at the 2016 Glass Roots Art Show in Madison, Wisconsin.
How did you get into borosilicate glass as an art form and a profession?
“I got into borosilicate glass art just because I thought it was really cool. I ended up buying a kit and started learning on my own. Then I discovered glass art was really something that I wanted to do for the rest of my life, so I searched for a way I could realize that dream”(Henggeler, 2016).
After being a hobbyist for a period of time he became increasingly committed to the art form and eventually discovered that Salem Community College in New Jersey was the only place in North America that offered an Associates Degree Program in Scientific Glass Technology (SGT).
“When I initially arrived at school in New Jersey I was very adamant about applying my technical borosilicate glass knowledge to industrial research, production products and getting a job constructing scientific glass apparatuses for university laboratories” (Henggeler, 2016).
However, while he was a student in New Jersey he observed market demand and started making a lot of glass pipes and functional glassware as a source of income. He eventually discovered that being self-employed and making functional borosilicate glass art was as financially advantageous as an entry-level position making scientific apparatuses. He hasn’t looked back since.
Describe your art. What form does it take?
“Right now, I am incorporating a lot of Mudra into my work. I got into the Gyan Mudra because it is the Mudra of knowledge. I really value my education because it has enabled me express myself artistically and support myself financially. The hand positioning also conveniently holds all the marbles I have made, allowing me to incorporate an additional dimension to the work. I am really trying to build a story behind the art that I create. I don’t want to run a production orientated glass business. The artistic aspect of the industry is really what speaks to me the most. I don’t want to just produce products people use, I want to make art people love” (Henggeler, 2016).
What do you enjoy creating the most?
“The first couple years I started working with glass I made a lot of marbles and pendants. The marbles especially spoke to me. A marble is like a little orb of art where every-single angle has a viewing point. I really enjoy that aspect of them and try to incorporate marbles into of my work whenever I can. My favorite way to incorporate marbles into a functional piece of art is by creating a banger hanger style dab rigs with a suspended rotating marble. I call them “Spinners” or Marble Spinning Rigs” (Henggeler, 2016).