It is a long way, from learning pottery alongside his family, to becoming internationally celebrated as a master of glass art.
Tony Jojola trod his own path, and today he is one of only a few Native glass artists; one of even fewer who use the hot-blown glass technique, exclusively.
Formed by twirling molten glass on a rod, while manually “sculpting” it, to reach the desired shape, glass-making of this sort is a collaborative process.
It requires assistants to hold fire-proof panels, to protect the artist from the white-hot heat, and someone to hold the rod steady, as the artist shapes the piece.
Tony attended prestigious non-Native art schools, and worked with the great glass artist Dale Chihuly, but his work always refers to his Pueblo roots, as does this imposing piece.
Unusually large (the larger, the more difficult), this radiant golden piece is a contemporary version of a gourd. Gourds or squash were staples in Pueblo diets, for centuries.
This ethereal version seems to capture both the fragility of memory, and the luminous glow of sunlight.
It started as clear glass; the layer of golden yellow glass “jimmies” was applied after the piece took shape, while the glass was still hot.
The twirling of the rod produced the diagonal stripes apparent on the stem, which adds even more visual interest.
It will bring eternal sunshine into your home, as the light illuminates the color.
It has an integral loop, so you may hang this in front of a window, or from any high spot, or display is on its side, as if lying in a field.
(If you hang it, be sure the support is sturdy – this looks like a bubble, but has a bit of weight,)