Local husband-and-wife glassblowing team, James and Andrea Stanford, have been creating art together for nearly five years under the moniker 720 Glassworks.
Their pieces — appropriately given titles like Fireballs, Raindrops, Jelly Bells and Personality Bubbles — are created in the couple’s home studio in St. Augustine.
With work garnering attention from Tarpon Springs and Boca Raton to Mount Dora and Lake Mary, 720 Glassworks has made a name for itself in the glassblowing community.
In 2009, James Stanford was commissioned by the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of Natural History to create sculptures for a permanent exhibit, The David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins.
Compass caught up with the duo to learn more about how they met and what it’s like working and creating with a spouse. Here’s part of that conversation.
Compass: Tell me a bit about how the two of you met.
James Stanford: Andrea and I met on Francis Field in December of 2011. We were both exhibiting at Old Town Winter Art Show produced by Lynn Wettach. While Andrea and I were talking for the first time, she had asked if I gave lessons or workshops. I typically do not. However, I had just trademarked the Fireball design and was about to exhibit in my first craftsman wholesale event where art galleries and gift shops buy the work they will be carrying for the year. I knew I would need help if I was going to be able to keep up with the orders. With that in mind, I asked her about her background and was delighted to learn of her initiative: She had her own line of glasswork, her own booth at the show, and more experience with various forms of glass art than I had been exposed to.
Compass: The two of you collaborated remotely before Andrea moved to St. Augustine, right?
J.S.: It did not take us long to realize that it would be preferable for her to move closer. She rented a studio apartment downtown here in St. Augustine and began to work side-by-side with me, making it possible to hand off partially completed pieces for her to finish and vice-versa. … We each have our own body of work, as well. At this point, the narrative pieces and the masks have been largely my own work, whereas, the jewelry has been mostly Andrea’s creations.
Compass: What is it like working with your wife?
J.S.: We got married after about a year of working together. For many friends and family, this seemed a little fast. However, when you can work side by side in the stifling heat for 40 hours during the week … you learn a lot about how well you communicate. Despite spending that much time together … we had always looked forward to seeing each other the following day. Due to the respect, the dignity and the honesty we shared, getting married was an easy decision and a blessing of love. Since then, we have naturally drawn ever closer. There are times, though, when you work so well with someone, that a miscue can be particularly frustrating. In those moments, we re-evaluate how effective our direct communication is, and if necessary, say a prayer together before we discuss the situation.
Compass: What obstacles do you face when working and creating art with your significant other?
J.S.: Balance. Though our relationship was founded upon our working partnership, we cannot allow that to be the dominant focus of our lives. As the demand of our work grows, we often feel the pressure to fulfill the orders we receive, both on the wholesale and retail level, which threatens to crowd out our family time, as well as our spiritual pursuits. It is particularly difficult to manage our thoughts, even while on getaway trips, we can become quickly consumed with conversations about work.
Compass: Where is your work available?
J.S.: Currently, as for local storefronts, with the exception of the lighthouse bubbles in the Lighthouse Museum, our gift items are found exclusively at Metalartz. Outside of St. Augustine, we are represented by approximately 100 galleries and gift shops throughout the country and a handful internationally including Canada, the British Virgin Islands [and] the American Virgin Islands. We have had requests overseas, but are reluctant to get involved with the shipping and trade nuances.
To learn more about James and Andrea Stanford, go to 720glassworks.com.