Pilchuck Glass School was founded in 1971 by glass artist Dale Chihuly and patrons Anne Gould Hauberg and John H. Hauberg. What began as a one-summer glassblowing workshop has grown into the world’s most comprehensive center for glass art education. Thanks to the vision of the founders and the enthusiasm and dedication of all who have come to the campus, Pilchuck now hosts more than 500 students and artists each summer and is guided by a forty-one-member Board of Trustees. Pilchuck’s history is filled with stories of hard work, passion, and generosity. Although much has changed since the 1970s, the original core values of the school endure: to inspire creativity, transform individuals, and build community.
In the early days, artists and students worked with makeshift equipment and inferior-quality glass, happy to be making things up as they went along. Experimentation and exploration set the tone for Pilchuck and remain hallmarks of the school today. This small but enthusiastic community knew little of traditional techniques. Through trial and error, artists invented new forms and glassworking methods, and as this continued, the studio glass movement evolved. Over time, European master glass artists and designers visited the campus and introduced traditional materials and techniques—Muranese cane making and Czech kiln casting, among others—which were eagerly assimilated. The potent combination of Old World craftsmanship, New World individual artistic expression, and highly effective teamwork that emerged has come to characterize Pilchuck today.
As the artistic program developed, so did the facilities. What started as a camp grew into a campus. Pilchuck’s master plan has a quintessential Pacific Northwest feel, and the layout of the campus supports the special sense of community that is a large part of the school. The location, the climate, and the rustic environment are ideal for creating art with glass and are integral to the spirit of Pilchuck. In this remote corner of Washington State, people from all corners of the globe meet, techniques develop, and ideas form.
Pilchuck’s philosophy of education flows from Dale Chihuly’s original idea of “artists teaching artists.” And after nearly forty years, that concept still holds true. We believe that people everywhere thrive on creativity and can learn to cultivate their artistic talents, at any stage of life and at any point in their development as artists. In keeping with that belief, we aim to provide a learning experience that is unrivaled in its intensity, quality of instruction, and concentration of artistic talent.