Oyster Catcher Rattle in Glass Art
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Preston Singletary grew up in the Seattle area listening to stories told by his great-grandparents, who were both full Tlingit. In high school, he met and became friends with future glass artist Dante Marioni, son of glass artist Paul Marioni. Shortly after graduating high school, Singletary (who was actively pursuing a career as a musician at the time) was asked by Dante Marioni to work as a night watchman at what was then the Glass Eye, a Seattle glass-blowing studio. Singletary quickly moved from being a night watchman to working the day shift to eventually joining one of the studio’s production teams. In 1984, Singletary took part in a workshop at Pilchuck Glass School for the first time. Singletary has blown glass around the world in countries such as Sweden, Italy, and Finland. In the late 1980s, Singletary began incorporating traditional Tlingit themes into his work and reaching out to other Northwest Coast Native American artists for collaborations.
Early on, Singletary’s work drew heavily from European glass artworks, especially those done in the Modernist style. Today he is perhaps best known for his use of glass to express and explore traditional Tlingit themes. Singletary has worked extensively with other native artists creating glass artworks such as the Founders Totem Pole (2001) and Devilfish Prow, one of a series created in collaboration with Maori artist Lewis Tamihana Gardiner (2007).
Singletary also plays bass in the band Khu.éex', which features spoken word, Native storytelling, and singing, performed with an experimental approach with rock/funk aspects. The band also performs in traditional regalia and NW coast masks and released their debut album, "The Wilderness Within" in 2016.