Eric Mort was bitten by the creativity bug at a young age and spent much of his free time drawing and painting. “I grew up in a home where art was treasured,” he says. “I remember Mom’s sketchbooks, the jewelry Dad cast in his basement workshop, and the bronze sculptures by my Uncle Dave — so I guess it isn’t all019 that surprising that I ended up doing something creative.”

However, it wasn’t until 1994 — when he met well-known glass artist Lewis Wilson in Quartzite, Arizona — that Eric realized what something should be. “Lewis had a booth set up and was doing Pyrex sculpture and making beads,” remembers Eric. “I told him that I collected old beads, and he asked if I’d like to learn how to make them. ‘Sure!’ I replied. But I didn’t have much money for lessons — so Lewis told me that if I bought his instructional videos and watched them that evening, I could come back the next day and he’d let me play on the torch for free.” Eric spent eight hours at the torch the following day, totally enraptured with the experience of manipulating molten glass. “You know,” he muses, “it’s a powerful experience when you find your passion.”

Eric spent the next two years scrounging up enough money for tools and materials, and learning the craft. His work first appeared at “The Best Bead Show” in 1996 in Tucson, Arizona; in 1997 his creations were included in the book Beads by Janet Coles and Robert Budwig. Over the next nine years he continued to experiment with both soft glass and borosilicate; his passion for the medium continued to intensify.

In110 2006, he took up the torch full time and moved to Austin, Texas, where he built a home studio so that he could continue his love affair with glass while caring for his three daughters. “I am profoundly grateful to my wife for encouraging me to follow my dream,” Eric says.

Since early 2006 Eric has been working strictly in borosilicate glass, using precious metals such as gold, silver, and palladium. “Boro makes you crazy sometimes. It’s temperamental and downright persnickety — but the colors you get are worth it.” Since so many factors can influence the final colors of the glass, duplicating a particular effect can be extremely difficult. “Every morning is Christmas for me when I open my kiln,” Eric quips with a grin. “Sometimes Santa leaves me that new bike I was hoping for, and other times I wind up with just another pair of tube socks!” Even though not all Eric’s experiments turn out as planned, he often finds that an unexpected result leads him down a new and exciting creative path.

Eric’s spheres, Pocket Galaxies, and pendants are becoming more and more popular, which he hopes to unveil in the near future.