Sauder Village
22611 St. Rt. 2
Archbold, Ohio 43502
In Northwest Ohio


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Mark Matthews is notably recognized for his work in glass, especially in glass spheres. Working with only one assistant, each piece is meticulously worked and signed by the artist. Highly collected and valued, Matthews’ work has been published in many books and is held in museums such as the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, England, the Corning Museum of Glass in New York, the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio and the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

In 1985, Mark was invited to open a glass business within the Sauder Village. It was here that he began making glass spheres (or marbles). Mark soon discovered that the sphere was a perfect form to explore radically diverse color systems and historical glass techniques. He quickly became obsessed with marbles. His design inspirations came from many places. Some designs came from the study of antique marbles; most designs were drawn from historical glass techniques that had never been used in a marble format. Out of this endeavor came some surprising results and discoveries.

Mark's "Ice Blue Air Numbers" were inspired by a Swedish air-trap paperweight made in the 1950's. His re-creation of this technique soon led to precision air entrapment of the integers 0 through 9, and later the entire alphabet, encased in spheres. This technique was so intriguing it was included in the 1994 New Glass Review 13 for innovation in design. This also caught the attention of Mr. Yukou Morito, a Japanese businessman who came to visit Mark several times, and he has included a wide variety of Mark's work in the Sphere Museum in Tokyo.

One of Matthews' most exciting discoveries are in the animal skin marbles. Having had the idea back in the 80's, it wasn't until the early 90's that he made his first animal skin marble when a friend hooked him up with some real leopard and tiger pelts. The pelts were photographed and converted into black and white.  These  images were then transferred onto masking material. Mark made cylindrical blanks with specifically placed layers of colored glass. After a blank was sandblasted with the pelt design it would then be reheated and covered with a layer of clear glass, and then made into two or three spheres. One only has to examine the white underbellies, and the masterfully gradated stripes or spots to see the excellence in their execution. In 1995 an example of the Tiger and Leopard marbles were included in the permanent collection of the prestigious Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

To evoke a whole new idea and feeling from the viewer, Mark brings several radically different marble designs together by resting them in a hemispherical clear bowl. "Birthday Bowl", "Tequila Sunrise" and "Great White Hunter" are just a few of these pieces. His "Nine Balls in a Bowl" was purchased by the Ohio Designer Craftsmen for inclusion in the Ohio Craft Museum and chosen as the "poster child" for their "Best of 1993" show.

One of Matthews' most impressive and ambitious sphere groupings are in large cylindrical jars called Population Portraits. The Population Portraits can be compared to a crowd of people sitting on bleachers; they're all people, but on closer examination you will see diversity among them. On first glance you see a jar of marbles, but within you find incredible variety in color, pattern, size and design. Five "generations" of marble Population Portraits have been made since 1985. Population Portrait IX was four years in the works; it is approximately 37 inches tall, with two pieces of polished granite to serve as the foundation. Before the glass cylinders could be made a revamp of the glass shop and the construction of new equipment were necessary. There were many frustrations before the edition of seven jars was completed. All together there are 144 premium select marbles in the jar. It is upon close examination that one begins to grasp the contemplation and strife that lies behind this work of great magnitude.

"Population Portrait VIII, Marble Jar III" , is in the permanent collection at the Corning Museum of Glass in New York. "Population Portrait VII, Marble Jar V" is in the permanent collection at the Miami University Art Museum in Oxford, Ohio. "Population Portrait IX " is currently available for sale. A complete information packet can be sent on request.

Fabergé and Mirror Hexagon; the newest of the Black and White Spheres are now available. These are the first black and whites based on hexagons and the first to shift black and white dominance at the equator. The largest, at nearly 4 inches is sheared to a fine point at both poles. The sophistication and struggle for perfection make these highly desirable.

To contact the artist directly...
Matthews Art Glass
PO Box 332
Archbold, Ohio 43502

Phone or Fax: (419)335-2448
Glass Studio: (419)446-9469


In the News...

January, 2010 - Mark Matthews has been selected for inclusion in the New Glass Review 31. This is an annual international competition sponsored by the Corning Museum of Glass, to present 100 innovative developments in glass. A total of 888 artists from 43 countries sent 2503 images for consideration. The 100 winners will be published in the German magazine “Neues Glas” this May 2010.
Arabesque Spheres 7 Lobe 14 Color
Rainbow Spheres