I am a second generation glass and stone carver. Creating original art, including custom-designed collaborative projects, has been a constant part of my life and has been my full-time employment for the past 14 years.
Exploring the intrinsic parallels between natural forms and abstract design is a vital part of my work: capturing fleeting moments of natural beauty in these most enduring materials can reawaken a sense of the paradoxical nature of the passage of time. Using hand-held diamond-edged and garnet-abrasive lapidary tools, I create incised and bas relief carvings in crystal-grade glass and in unusually hard fine-grained stone which I personally prospect and hand-select all over North America. When building frames, furniture and cabinetry to complement the stone and glass, I use primarily black walnut and mountain ash in conjunction with my own custom-designed steel fittings to make simple, organically integrated pieces of art.
With stone, my approach to the raw material is collaborative, allowing the artwork to be informed by the unique characteristics of each individual stone.
Glass, on the other hand, provides the unique opportunity to create artwork in a medium that is essentially invisible except for the imagery itself, like painting with light on thin air. It must be the closest thing to creating something out of nothing that an artist can experience. Glass can allow for painterly and impressionist effects, as different textures are chosen to catch both natural ambient light and/or carefully programmed LED lighting.
I enjoy collaborating with individual patrons of the arts, architects and designers to create unique custom wall pieces, architectural installations, furniture, and outdoor monuments. Over the past 14 years, according to personal inspiration as well as the demands of a diverse array of commissioned artworks, I have incorporated a broad range of historical styles into a flexible contemporary approach to carving in both glass and stone.
I display my work nationally at an ever-changing selection of venues from coast to coast, as well as here in the Northwest and neighboring regions of Canada.
Public art installations are on permanent display in Vancouver B.C., Seattle and Spokane Wa., and adjacent cities.
My studio is based north of Spokane, Washington. Visitors to my rural studio are welcome by appointment.
Sam was a pleasure to work with but most important, the final piece was stunning. We love it more every day.
See photos of the "final piece" here: "Lake Horizon Triptych"
- Professor Emeritus, Whitworth University, Spokane, WA
I have followed Sam's work for almost a decade and commissioned a three panel tryptich representing the Trinity. Sam is a remarkable artist. Our conversations regarding the faith journey implicit and explicit ranged far and wide, yet gained focus as the concepts came into view, especially as the lage stone panels were acquired. Sam's insights, reading in theology, his skills as an artist and his delightful human qualities of joy, wonder and awe commend him to your program. Having spoken with his other clients, who are very rigorous in their expectations, second this recommendation. Sam Bates has my highest recommendation.
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