Like many glass artists, David Tate began studying ceramics during high school and Junior college. Completing a bachelor of art degree in 1988 and continued at Cal State, Fullerton to graduate with a master’s degree, in 1991. Born in San Jose, CA., 1960, David has resided in California all his life. His parents moved to Claremont, CA. when he was an infant and lived in that area for the next twenty years. He moved close by Fullerton while attending school. Then after graduating moved to Wildomar, CA., where he began his studio career. Lived there for twelve years and in April 2003 moved to Romoland, which is located south of Riverside off the 215 freeway.
David’s parents both are career musicians and teachers. As a result, he had a lot of musical influences growing up. He applied to Cal State as a music major, with an open mind to discover what direction to take in music. Eventually the direction he took was migrating to the visual arts department and rediscovered ceramics after several years of being away from it. Located behind the ceramics lab at CSUF is the glass-forming lab. David was fascinated with what the students were making and he wanted to try it. He signed up for the class and has been captivated by “it” since then. David comments on that experience, “the college years were a wonderful time of exploring and experimentation. It allowed me the opportunity to spend a large amount of my time and energy learning about glass and I matured significantly”. A major highlight for David during those years (1988) was being invited to demonstrate and exhibit at the LA County Fair in the visual arts building. The county fair is open for seventeen days during late September. It was his first opportunity for building furnaces and setting them up as a glass studio for complete demonstrations. To quote David, “I was so excited to be there that I started building equipment six months ahead and began setting up three weeks before opening day”. The next year, (1989) David teamed up with another glass artist to demonstrate and display glass creations at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. It is seven consecutive weekends during August and September. David has participated every year since he began, which adds up to 22 years presently.
David was given the opportunity to teach glass forming and casting at CSU, Fullerton for four semesters between 2001-2003. David has poured himself into creating art glass at his home studio. Most of the year he is in his studio making glass pieces for galleries and for exhibition at art festivals. Then, about three months are spent on preparing and demonstrating at the Renaissance festival in Minnesota.
The following, David describes his technique in the studio; I use molten glass that is melted inside of a furnace to produce my glass creations. It is first drawn from the furnace using metal blowpipes and rods (called a punti.) The blown glass pieces are decorated by using different colored glass I acquire in the form of glass rods, powders, and frits. Frits are simply small pieces of glass and come in different sizes. These colors are fused together with the molten clear on the end of the blowpipe. The colored glass and the clear are first applied together and then heated inside of the glory hole (a working furnace) to fuse the colored glass smooth with the clear. I prepare special mixtures of color, many days in advance prior to making the blown glass pieces. Different colors are wrapped and layered around each other with sometimes as many as 14 different layers of color for one color bar. This is heated thoroughly and pulled into a long stick called cane. These canes are cut into various lengths and then reheated to apply onto the blown piece. It is the cross section of the color bars I make that produce the rings of color applied to the outside of a vase or the inside of a bowl. Once the decorative process is complete the thick gather of glass on the blowpipe is heated and the blowing and shaping of the glass begins. The glass is heated many times during the creation process. Quite often a punti rod is attached to the bottom of the piece so it can be removed from the blowpipe and the lip opening of the piece is heated and shaped. Once the piece is finished being shaped it must be put into an annealing oven so it can cool slowly. I use traditional tools and methods that have been around for hundreds of years and apply these methods to my modern creative art glass.