Kiara Pelissier Title: Pearl
Kiara Pelissier Title: Pearl
  • Kiara Pelissier Title: Pearl
  • Kiara Pelissier Title: Pearl

Kiara Pelissier Title: Pearl


Kiara Pelissier


Blown and Assembled Glass

18" Round


Kiara, like her mother, also grew up immersed in a world of art, but with the craft element of it much more. When she was 18 she entered her first glass hot shop, and shortly afterward took a beginning glassblowing class. Assistantships with master glassblowers, have allowed her to continue mastering glass technique, and have also opened her to expression in other media and to apricate work from other artist and other times.

Kiara Pelissier’s works go beyond the technical elements of glassblowing, communicating the power of light, transparency, and color. She amplifies and exaggerates these qualities to express a certain mood by exploring different textures, varied hues, and dynamic compositions. In a recent statement she notes, “My work is about the silent conversation between objects, and how a piece breathes with the

space around it. Every form, texture, line, and color speaks in a different voice. Translucency searches for a dialogue with Light. My inspirations may change, but one thing always remains the same: my focus on bringing forth the soul of a material object.”

Pelissier was born in Mexico and began blowing glass in 1996, later spending the following decade working for experts in the field across the east and west coasts of the U.S. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Cleveland Institute of Art and Master of Fine Arts in glass from VCU (2000, 2006). She has taught glassblowing at Virginia Commonwealth University, Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine. She is in the collection of the Museum of American Glass in New Jersey, Capital One Bank, and Markel Corporation.


Name: Kiara Pelissier

What she makes: Handblown glass objects

Fun fact: She gave up her training as a gymnast to focus on glass, but says she still uses the skills she learned.

Early inspiration: When Pelissier was 12, she visited the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts on Deer Isle, Maine, and looked in on a glass workshop. “I distinctly remember that day and the smell of the burning material,” she recalls. “I said to myself, ‘I’m going to do that one day.’ I collected some scraps of glass and kept them like treasures.” At age 19, she says, “I took my first glass class and didn’t look back.”

Art education: After attending the Cleveland Institute of Art, Pelissier came to Richmond in 2004 to get her MFA at VCU School of the Arts because she wanted to study with glass professor Jack Wax. “I started experimenting and manipulating glass in grad school and worked with several amazing artists where the focus had been about reaching a level of perfection,” she says. “I wanted to find my own voice. I needed to say something, but I wasn’t sure what. I began to play with the boundaries of glass as a material.”

Recent work: Pelissier’s work continues to explore boundaries. Her “crumples” are made by blowing hot glass right up to the point where most artists stop, but she allows the watery blue objects to further transform. “I blow it up to be thin and hot, then I yank it out and have a few seconds to work with the material before it becomes rigid,” she explains. The hot glass folds in on itself creating different densities of color and unique shapes. She’s also making “splash anemones,” which she says are “a celebration of coral polyps that are starting to disappear due to unhealthy environmental conditions.” Also, on her studio shelves are blue and green glass knots formed with a textured brass mold, then pulled, stretched and twisted into coils.

Where she works: She blows her glass at The Glass Spot and works out of a space in the Fan District along with her parents who have their own studios. “I come from four generations of artists,” she says. “My father is a metalworker, my mother works with textiles, my grandmother and great-grandmother were sculptors.”

Collection: Glass

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