Netflix’s ‘Blown Away’ is a popular Canadian reality competition series that tests the glassblowing skills of 10 contestants who are all expert glassblowers. At the end of each episode, one participant is eliminated, and simultaneously one is declared “Best in Blow.” The winner receives a $60,000 prize and an artist residency at the Corning Museum of Glass. The life-altering opportunity also offers the contestants’ fame and success. Katherine Gray is the chief judge of their crafts on the show. Her impressive “glass” knowledge made us curious to dig deeper into her life, and here is everything we have found out!
Katherine Gray’s Background
Katherine Gray hails from Canada, and her public persona is focused only on her work. She has never discussed her personal life, including her parents, marriage, or family in general. Born in 1965, she earned her undergraduate degree from the Ontario College of Art, Toronto. Katherine’s fascination with glass began as an undergrad student when she walked into her school’s glass studio.
The moment remains etched in her memory to this day, as with the intention to design lighting and furniture, she took up a glass course that changed her life. The talented glass artist still goes back to the feeling but admits that she hardly made one light and a table as she channeled her talent into creating unique art pieces. Then, Katherine went on to pursue a Master’s in Fine Arts from Rhode Island School of Design.
Katherine Gray’s Professional Life
Now based in Los Angeles, Katherine Gray elevated her interest in glass as a medium to create fluid, dreamlike objects and has dedicated decades to the art of fine glassblowing. Her functional collection encompasses chandeliers, stylized hearths, and campfires, while the more artistic ones include vases, candelabras, goblets, etc. The most prominent of her artwork pieces remains “Forest Glass,” which is on display at the Corning Museum of Glass.
— corningmuseum (@corningmuseum) August 24, 2016
For creating the beautiful installation, she picked up secondhand glasses in varied shades of brown, green, and transparent from thrift stores and online auction sites and arranged them on clear shelves to give an illusion of trees. Her different creations have also been exhibited at the Glasmuseet Ebeltoft in Denmark, Urban Glass in New York, Galerie Handwerk in Munich, the Toledo Museum of Art, Tacoma Museum Glass, to name a few. In 2017, Katherine received the Libenský/Brychtová Award from the Pilchuck Glass School for her significant contributions to the art of glassblowing.
In addition to serving on the board of trustees for the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, she has also been working as an associate professor at California State University, San Bernardino. Her tutoring includes taking workshops with aspiring glassblowers across the country. Her immersive and insightful works have been reviewed in New York Observer, Artforum, LA Times, and the New York Times design magazine. A lifetime of glass creations has paved the way for Katherine to become the “resident reviewer,” aka the chief critic on ‘Blown Away.’