Name: Chad Trent
Age Group (under 15 is Pussy Willow; over 15 is Cherry Blossom): I’m more like a petrified redwood
Business Name: Cosmo Glassworks
Art Medium: Glass
ALBH: How did you get into your specific art?
CT: My wife and I started making jewelry, and we started buying glass beads. I got more and more interested in how they were made, and we went to a bead show in Philadelphia that was offering an introductory glass blowing class. We took the class and were hooked.
ALBH: Was your medium hard to learn?
CT: It’s pretty simple to get the basics down. I have taught many beginner’s classes. It’s nearly impossible to master. Every time I work I learn something else.
ALBH: What materials do you use?
CT: Glass mainly, but also use fine silver and 22k gold a lot. Occasionally opals, although they are getting harder and harder to find.
ALBH: How long have you been at this?
CT: I think about 8 years now.
ALBH: As a buyer, how would I care for one of your pieces?
CT: My pieces are glass, but that doesn’t necessarily make them fragile. As long as you treat them like you would any other piece of jewelry, you’ll be fine.
ALBH: Do you make a variety of items?
CT: Yes. Jewelry (pendants, beads, etc.), marbles, paperweights, vases, sculpture, functional pieces, etc.
ALBH: What’s your long-term goal as an artist?
CT: I haven’t decided. Right now to just learn as much as I can about the medium. If I can make a few bucks along the way, that’s good too, but honestly I really only sell my work to be able to buy more glass to work with.
ALBH: What does the word “Hippie” mean to you?
CT: I don’t like labels, unless it’s on a jar of salsa so I don’t accidentally buy the hot stuff again.
ALBH: What advice do you have to offer other artists?
CT: Do what you love. If you don’t love it, it’s just a job.
ALBH: What’s your favorite part of your craft?
CT: I have a couple. The first is going to a show and having someone pick up a piece and wonder about how it’s made. I like explaining the process to them. It gives them a better understanding for the craft and also helps them to realize why pieces cost what they do. I also love the people I’ve met during my time working with glass. Yes, I’ve met some people I wish I didn’t know, but I’ve also made a lot of life-long friends in the process.
ALBH: What’s your least favorite part of your craft?
CT: The business side – selling, shipping, paying taxes, etc. I wish I could afford to pay someone to do it for me.
ALBH: Would you be willing to teach others?
CT: Absolutely. I have been teaching classes for 4 or 5 years. I teach private classes and group classes. I have also written three books on the subject and am working on an online class.
ALBH: How long does a typical piece take you to make?
CT: With glass, there is no “typical”. Some pieces take 30 minutes. Some take several hours. The main challenge is that once you start working on a piece, you need to keep on working until it’s finished. Glass doesn’t like to be heated and cooled repeatedly. Once it’s hot, you need to keep working on it and keep it hot until you’re done.
ALBH: What’s your inspiration?
CT: The ocean and space. Many of my pieces are inspired by ocean life. Many also look like things you may see in space or on other worlds.
ALBH: What is your typical day like?
CT: Typical? What’s that? I wish I had a typical day. I’m famous for spreading myself too thinly. Right now I’m working part-time, doing freelance graphic and web design work, going to school full-time, raising kids, and trying to be the best husband I can be. I also try to ride my bike and go running when I can. Somehow I find time for glass among all that.
ALBH: What do you do for fun, outside of your art?
CT: I ride my bike, I run, I spend as much time as I can with my wife, I play the guitar, and I have a huge Lego collection. Yes, you heard me. Legos.
ALBH: What is your draw to your specific craft?
CT: I guess like a lot of boys growing up I was always drawn to fire. This is just a natural extension of that. Plus, I love the challenge that glass provides. One of the most famous glass blowers once said “The secret is not in telling the glass what to do. If you try to control the glass, you will fail. It’s letting the glass tell you what it will do, and you learning to adapt to that.”
ALBH: Why do you think your art is a good fit for A Little Bit Hippy?
CT: The glass culture as a whole is one of friendship, sharing, and caring. The people that I know that shop and work at A Little Bit Hippy share those same qualities. It is my hope that the love and passion I put into my work will be appreciated by those very same people.