The artists will work with UMW glassblowing students April 17-21, hosted by Montana Western’s Glass Program. On Friday, April 21, at 3:30 p.m., the artists will present a public visual lecture based on their history with glass and directly afterwards, from 4:15-5:30 p.m., the artists will give a glassblowing demonstration. All are invited to attend the free event and light refreshments will be served.
“The Montana Western Glass Program is excited to welcome Elizabeth and Michael to UMW. We are so appreciative of their dedication to the medium of glass in a multitude of forms, and their willingness to share their skills and experiences with our students,” said Associate Professor of Fine Arts and Glass Program Coordinator, Ruth King.
Biography of the Artists
Elizabeth Bervy Walters grew up in Austerlitz, NY, a small town in Columbia County. The third of four children, she studied classical piano beginning at age eight, was a semi-finalist in the Johann Sebastian Bach International Competition for Junior Pianists at age 12 and earned a place in the Young Artists Piano Program (sponsored by Boston University) at Tanglewood in Lenox, MA, the summer she turned 16. She played tennis on the high school tennis team, often partnering with her sister in doubles, and enjoyed investing time developing drawing and painting skills.
She attended The Rhode Island School of Design after high school with the intention of majoring in illustration or painting, but after taking glassblowing for the winter-session term, became a glass major going into her sophomore year. Through the robust visiting artist program organized by Glass Department Head Bruce Chao, she had the opportunity to work with established glass artists including Dale Chihuly, Bertil Vallien, Therman Statom, Richard Harned, and Jay Musler.
Graduating in 1987 with a BFA in Glass, she returned to Columbia County and set up a glass studio, Crusader Glass and Design in Philmont, NY. Michael, her eventual husband, joined her in the business in 1990, and together they ran the studio until 1998. In 1991, she was commissioned to create custom Venetian-inspired stemware, which led her to hire Mark Weiner to be the gaffer for that project. Work responsibilities for Michael and Elizabeth included glassware design, production management, sales/marketing, and shop oversight and maintenance. Glasswork was marketed primarily through craft markets, the NY Gift Show in particular, and studio sales.
Their clients included Bergdorf Goodman, Mikimoto, Neiman Marcus, Gumps of San Francisco, Barneys, Henri Bendel, and a multitude of other fine stores and museum shops. Glassware was published in numerous magazines, including Modern Bride, Cosmopolitan, Gourmet, Bon Appetite, Home, House Beautiful, and Country Living Gardener.
With the birth of their third son in 1998, Elizabeth and Michael put the glass business on the back burner for a season, pursuing other income options while homeschooling their four kids, finishing up with the youngest in 2020. Michael made custom furniture and restored old houses, and from 1996-2020, Elizabeth ran “Vintage Feathers,” a unique business that supplied antique feather and flower hat trims to the millinery and costume trades. In its prime, it was the largest collection of vintage feather hat trims in the world.
Elizabeth and Michael moved to Dillon in 2020 after making a plan in 2017 to relocate to Montana, bringing with them an assortment of glassblowing tools, supplies, and equipment in hopes of eventually setting up a glass shop again. Elizabeth currently owns and operates Overflow Farm, a small flower farm in Dillon, bringing the beauty and joy of floriculture to the local marketplace via fresh cut flowers, dried florals, and potted tabletop flowers, bulbs, and herb gardens.
For more information about the event or the Montana Western Glass Program, please contact Associate Professor of Fine Arts, Ruth King: [email protected] or 406-683-7344.