Carl Radke

Carl Radke was one of a vanguard of young artists who participated in the Renaissance of American Art Glass in the early 1970's. Originated by Tiffany in 1881, and popular during the early part of the nineteenth century, Lustre Art Glass had fallen out of favor after about 1925, and had practically become a lost art. The art programs of several California universities be­gan to rekindle an interest in glassblowing in general and in Sil­ver Lustre Art Glass specifically, in the latter part of the 60's. Several of the young artists became fascinated by the medium and caught up in the challenge of re-discovering this complex and sophisticated art form.

Lustre Glass is a very specialized glassblowing medium. Because of the silver and gold content in the glass, it has always been one of the most costly forms of glass ever produced. In addition to the high cost of the raw materials used in Lustre Glass, other fac­tors prevent this volatile studio glass from being mass-produced in a large factory environment. The raw glass can only be main­tained in the over for a short period of time before the color, quality and texture of the glass batch begins to degenerate. Not only the specific formulas and high raw material costs, but the experience and technique of maintaining this volatile form of glass in a usable state, has kept the blowing of Silver Lustre Art Glass in the hands of a few skillful artisans. The glassblower must be chemist as well as craftsman to work successfully in this medium.

Radke is one of only a few glassblowers out of the thousands in the United States who continues to work in this dif­ficult and traditional glass. His skill with glass and glass decora­tion has allowed him to "play" with the medium and to develop this unique collection.

Carl Radke's glass has been displayed in numerous gal­leries and exhibitions since 1975, and is considered to be highly collectible.