Michelle Kaptur has been blowing glass since 1975. She came to glass after completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree at Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon. Michelle worked for 10 years learning the basics of glass blowing and then went on to paint for several years. “Painting is where I put together all the composition, color, and design stuff that I learned about in school. When I came back to glass I had a much stronger sense of what sort of design choices I wanted to make and why. I feel my work was my work and was much stronger after this.”
Her interests include doing things outdoors and traveling with animals. She owned a sled dog team of nine for 10 years, which took her to Alaska for a winter with her team to help a friend train an Iditarod team. “I thought I would like to run the Iditarod for my fortieth birthday but after a winter of training dogs at that intensity I decided it was too much like a job. My dogs had enjoyed distance training and were willing to do this but they were not as enthusiastic as they were for the shorter distances.”
Michelle was also a wilderness ranger on horseback for the United States Forest Service for five summers, packing into the Three Sisters Wilderness four days a week.
Michelle’s interest in travel has taken her to Africa where she rode horses with zebras, elephants, and giraffes in Botswana and in Zimbabwe. “This is the most spectacular riding and traveling I’ve ever done. To sleep hearing lions roar is just too much to describe. I hope to do more of this sort of travel in the future.”
Upon returning from Africa she spent the next several months producing 10 one-of-a-kind pieces of glass that were a commission for a private Boeing 737 owned by a European businessman. “I found this work to be very invigorating as I had to push myself pretty hard to figure out how to give these people the glass they were dreaming of. It was great fun and I would like to do more commission work in the future.”