Blossom Art Lecture Series kicks off at Kent State

Grant and Erin Garmezy present their story and work.

Chris Ramos

Grant and Erin Garmezy are the perfect match for each other.

The glassblowing couple came out to Kent State’s Center for the Visual Arts, as they told their story to the public Wednesday. Their presentation is part of the Blossom Art Lecture Series, a rich visual art program inviting accomplished artists from around the country to Kent State since 1968.

Grant grew up on a 64 acre farm in Nashville, Tennessee. He says art came to him naturally, as he took drawing classes with a local illustrator. He underwent an apprenticeship with a coppersmith and also served as an apprentice for Alan LeQuire. LeQuire is responsible for creating the replica of Athena Parthenos in the reconstructed Parthenon of Nashville. He taught Grant the importance of proportion in his work. Later, his passion for art guided him to the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Arts in Richmond, Virginia.

Erin shares a similar upbringing as she grew up in the countryside of Virginia. From an early age, Erin knew she wanted to be an artist. Her creative mind was noticed in high school, as her art teacher encouraged her to keep striving for a career in art. Often times, Erin would drive up to a hot shop in Sperryville, Virginia. Her visits to the hot shop would lead her to become infatuated with glass blowing. Erin traded shop work for studio lessons, utilizing every opportunity to practice. Eventually, she also found herself at VCU.

Erin and Grant both entered the Craft/Material Studies program, where they first met. This mutual path would result in the two getting married in 2014.  

Grant intended to work on jewelry while at VCU, however; he fell in love with glassblowing. He experimented with different forms and tried to capture physical features of animals. As his skills improved, he wanted to start conveying a message with his work. Erin experimented with textile, and in regard to glassblowing, wanted to express her love for nature. The two graduated from VCU with a BFA in craft/material studies. Erin also earned her BFA in art education.

As they carried on with their presentation, the couple recalled their days of working multiple jobs while maintaining a commitment to glass. They emphasized how important it is for an artist to keep diligent with their craft.

Their immense willpower paid off.

Grant received a large commission, creating an 80-piece hot sculpted coral reef for a man in Georgia. The couple have conducted numerous public demonstrations, one resulted in a trip to Seoul, South Korea.

The couple have remained in Richmond, living in a wooded area about 15 minutes away from downtown. They enjoy having a home studio, and hope to open up a hot shop of their own.

The Kent Blossom Art Lecture Series will continue on until June 6. Susanna Crum  spoke about print Thursday. Shannon Goff will speak about ceramics Friday. Bryan Hopkins will also talk about ceramics on Monday and Amanda Lee will hold a lecture on print on Wednesday.

Chris Ramos is a general assignment reporter. Contact him at [email protected].