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Art and Soul

Doug Frates of Doug Frates Glass, the bold creator of art glass pieces, is debuting a new collection of hand-blown glass vases, bowls, sculptures, wall mounts and lighting. Drawing inspiration from nature, texture and masters in the industry, Frates reflects on his travels, education and even his time serving the country:
What are some of your inspirations?
I spent time in Sedona, AZ among the city’s red sandstone formations and riverbed rocks. Now one of my favorite places in the world and the inspiration behind my Sedona collection of vases, bowls and sculptures that is representative of the breathtaking red rocks and canyon walls. The rich colors and textures of the natural world are directly translated into the pieces in my Sedona collection.
Who are some of your inspirations/mentors?
I studied at the Sonoran Glass Art Academy, where I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to learn the artisanship from the masters Fritz Dreisbach and Tom Philabaum.
What’s your favorite type of art to create?
I am captivated by the artistry and creative of working with glass and will always be lead by innovation to create avante-garde pieces that stretch the visual and technical boundaries of the art glass industry.
Where does your creativity come from? 
The thrill and rush of creating new pieces. Even after a piece is done, I am driven to keep creating the unexpected.
What’s your design process like for creating these pieces?
While my company is lead by product lines and collections, I am always captivated when creating a new piece to see what my hands are lead to create.
How has your time in the Marine Corps impacted your art? 
I served in Iraq in 2003. When my tour of duty ended, I was left in search for a civilian career. I will always be thankful and appreciative for my time in service as it has greatly impacted and inspired me to take chances and a leap of faith by pursuing an artistic career.
What was the job search process like when you returned, and how did you discover this passion for design? 
After settling into my new hometown of Tucson, AZ and enrolling in glassblowing classes, I was immediately captivated with the creativity of working with glass.
Did you always have this passion for creating art, designs or glassblowing, or did you first discover it when you returned? 
I was born with the passion to create, yet it fizzled out over time. After returning from overseas and starting at the Sonoran Glass Art Academy, my seeds of creativity started to sprout again and I was able to further pursue this passion by working with glass.
Is there anything else we should know about you, your inspirations or design process? 
I am continually inspired by the life around me—scenery, nature, sunsets—to create color combinations and glass forms that mix old traditional style with uniquely modern elements. The result is artwork that is truly representative of myself and different than everyone else’s.