Artist Profile: McDermott Glass Studio, glassmakers
Cape Cod Art / Annual Art 2017 / Art & Entertainment, People & Businesses
Writer: Amanda Wastrom / Photographer:
One of the most striking features of the McDermott Glass Studio is the complete lack of ego. The creative process is collaborative among co-owners (and husband and wife), David McDermott and Yukimi Matsumoto, and their assistant, Isabel Green, who has been with the studio for 10 years, starting when she was 16. “We call it one head, six hands,” says McDermott. “Whenever we make a piece—it may be Yukimi’s or Isabel’s—each of us has touched it at some point. Three different glassmakers, three different styles—anything’s possible.”
Each artist has a particular strength. McDermott does form. Matsumoto is a master of color. Green creates sculptural work. The studio’s production includes functional stemware, decorative vases and sculptural pieces. Swirls of surprising (and often clashing) colors and a mix of transparent and opaque glass are signature elements of a McDermott piece, which transforms dramatically when illuminated.
After graduating from Bourne High School, McDermott apprenticed with Robert Mason, a master glassblower in the Scottish tradition. “It’s like a pyramid,” he says. “You’re at the top with thousands of years and people funneling information. It’s a great way to learn. It’s an honor, really.” The studio’s well-worn tools—blackened iron tongs and brass molds—reflect that history. Some of them have been passed from master to student for hundreds of years.
McDermott met his future wife and partner while they were taking a class at the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York, where both have since taught. They stayed in touch, and Matsumoto started visiting (from Japan) for three months at a time. Work led to love, then marriage, then their studio in 2001. Sixteen years later, their glass is in hundreds of galleries around the country, as well as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Last year, they opened a retail location in Mashpee Commons.
Despite their long experience and success as glassmakers, they still get uncomfortable being called artists. “We’re craftsmen,” McDermott says. “I’m just lucky. I get to live on the Cape, with Yukimi, with our studio in the backyard and our dogs at our feet, making things we love.”
The work of McDermott Glass Studio’s artisans can be seen in their gallery in Mashpee Commons, their studio on Cotuit Road in Sandwich, and online at mcdermottglass.com. Their work can also be found in Gallery Artrio, 50 Pearl Street, Hyannis; Impulse Art Gallery, 188 Commercial Street, Provincetown; and the Sandwich Glass Museum and Dan’l Webster Inn, both in Sandwich.