Jim Kingwell was born and reared in Portland, Oregon. He attended Willamette University in Salem, and Portland State University. He majored in ceramics, with a particular interest in design and silicate chemistry.
In 1971, he began blowing glass when he and a partner built a hot glass studio on the Oregon coast. They used recycled glass and discovered ways to alter its colors and properties. In 1974, Jim began making glass from its raw ingredients.
After moving the studio to a couple of locations in Oregon, in 1991 Jim found the shop in Cannon Beach, where he operates Icefire Glassworks today.
What began as a five-year experiment evolved into a life-forming fascination. Jim’s work has appeared in shows and galleries throughout the Northwest, and he has pieces in all 50 states and in more than 40 countries. His work offers a stunning array of colors and forms.
He currently melts a virtually colorless formula with exceptional clarity and handling capability. The remarkable light-gathering quality of the clear glass energizes every color used with it, while the responsive nature of the molten material sustains the delicate balance of spontaneity and control integral to off-hand blown glass design.
The Icefire Glassworks logo incorporates the alchemical symbols for earth, air, fire, and water, honoring the linkage of art and science. Says Jim, "Glass offers all the physical and mental challenges that one could hope for in a life of creativity."