“I’ve always been captivated by the concept of men who create beauty,” says glass artist Mark Pavlovits, listing off several of his personal heroes, including Tiffany & Co.’s head designer Jean Schlumberger and American-Parisian jeweler Joel Arthur Rosenthal. “As I began studying these men, I decided to dedicate my life to creating beauty, or what’s beautiful in my mind at least.”
Pavlovits maintained his mission, studying glass and design at the California College of the Arts and Crafts in 2001. However, upon graduation he became disenchanted by the lack of job opportunities in the glass industry, and took some time off to backpack through Europe with a friend. While in Paris, Pavlovits visited the Museum of Decorative Arts for a glassware exhibition, but, as fate would have it, the wing where the collection was being held was closed. “I already paid the money for admission, so I was walking around and stumbled into this jewelry room. It was pitch black with all of these sparkling contemporary jewels pinned up on the walls. It was the most beautiful sight.”
Returning from his trip abroad, Pavlovits put his glass endeavors on hold and attended the Gemological Institute of America. Shortly following graduation from the six-month program, he landed himself a position at Tiffany’s as a fine jewelry merchandiser and gemologist and still managed to blow glass in his free time. Two years later, he became more active with the craft, and, by 2016, Pavlovits decided to turn up the intensity of his creativity.
With a new role at jewelry designer Irene Neuwirth’s Los Angeles headquarters, Pavlovits found himself inspired by her affinity for rough stones. “I love how she’s drawn to funkier gemstones and embraces their inclusions,” says Pavlovits. “She always wants to celebrate the imperfect but is able to put it into perspective.” It’s a similar sentiment Pavlovits attempts to impart with his glassworks, which range from grooved vases to candleholders composed of crystal-like glass shards.
The eccentric elegance of Pavlovits’s glass pieces is what he believes preserves the age-old craft for the next generation. “It’s challenging, because people see colorless glass and think of their grandma,” he explains. “But I accept the challenge and try to keep things edgy and take that stigma away from the material.” Highlights of Pavlovits’s collection for the modern millennial include a scalloped edge bowl inspired by a Venus flytrap, as well as a vase meant to evoke the sight of a flower frozen in time. Meanwhile, the sheer beauty and detailed craftsmanship of each piece proves Pavlovits made good on his promise.