meet our artists

















Alex Greenwood began working with molten glass in 2001 at the age of 22.  As an apprentice he worked in a studio near Raleigh, NC for 2 years learning Flame working techniques.  He then moved to Smithville, TN to attend the Appalachian Center for Crafts to learn off hand glass blowing.  Alex has lived and worked in Asheville since 2008. He co-founded the Asheville Glass Center in 2009 which then sold to the North Carolina Glass Center in the summer of 2016. He makes primarily functional work and likes to play with design and visual textures.




Originally from Fayetteville, North Carolina, Ben Greene-Colonnese is proud to call western NC home. As an avid rock climber and lover of the outdoors, he is able to combine his love of blown and cast glass art with his love for the backcountry. Ben say of his work, “In my glasswork, I create a visual bridge between two aesthetics: the primal aesthetic of the natural world and the aesthetic of the created form. This bridge both honor the natural world as untamed and opaque, and transcends it with transparency.” Whether in his nature-inspired functional blown glass or in his rough, gem-like cast glass and stone inspired sculptures, Ben Greene-Colonnese’s work forges a visual aesthetic connection between nature and fine art glass.


Brad Smith began blowing glass at age 13 at Bucks Rock visual and performing arts camp in New Milford, CT. Brad was exposed to a variety of mediums including ceramics, photography, metal working and wood working, but the exposure to glassblowing there had the most impact. From then he was determined to be a glassblower. After high school, Brad moved to Rindge, NH to attend Franklin Pierce College where he studied glassblowing and ceramics. After two years of study at Franklin Pierce College, Brad was offered the opportunity to work with master glassblower Peter Greenwood. Brad assisted Mr. Greenwood in the creation of several production designs as well as many special commissioned projects large and small. After his two-year apprenticeship, Brad moved to Smithville, TN. He studied for the next 5 years at the Appalachian Center for Craft under Curtiss Brock. In April 2012, Brad completed his study with the culmination of his senior exhibition at the craft center gallery. In 2012, Brad moved to Santa Fe, NM to pursue glass full time. He chose Santa Fe for its vibrant gallery scene, and small but close knit community of glass artists. In Brad built a home studio for grinding and polishing glass objects, and continued blowing glass in a local public access studio. In 2016, Brad relocated to Asheville, NC to continue to work professionally in an area renowned for its long tradition of craft. Brad works a staff glass blower at the North Carolina Glass Center in   Asheville, in addition to operating his own business, Brad Smith Studios.


Haley Jelinek received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2014 from Alfred University concentrating in glass and psychology. After graduation she received an emerging artist residency in upstate NY at Salem Art Works where she worked on a multigenerational community arts project called Alzheimer’s Glass and Iron. She has since helped to continue the project at Salem Art Works for a short residency every year. Haley has showcased hework throughout parts of New York and Pennsylvania. In 2015, she made a big move to western North Carolina where she can continue to work in glass and sculpture. Haley Jelinek’s work is inspired by the important relationship between humans and nature, offering functional glass with an organic feel. 




Hayden Wilson grew up in the mountains of Western North Carolina.  He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree with concentration in sculpture from the University of North Carolina at Asheville.  As a second-generation glass maker, he has been around glass his entire life, but working professionally as a glass blower and caster the past six years.  He has been an assistant instructor in the glass studio at Penland School of Craft and Pilchuck Glass School.  Hayden has also worked at Jackson County Green Energy Park, and for 5 years served as Asheville Glass Center shop manager building equipment, teaching glass classes.  He currently creates his work as well as serving as Studio Manager at the North Carolina Glass Center a non-profit, public access educational glass facility. 



Joseph Falzone first discovered his love of glass at the young age of eighteen. Having been an artist his entire life he was no stranger to the creative process. However,  it wasn’t until he was exposed to glass that he truly felt like he could express himself through art. After his first glassblowing experience at the University of Wisconsin River Falls he knew this was the medium he had been looking for. Joseph continued his glass education at Penland school of crafts. Where he had the opportunity to study under established glass artist and get a first hand look into the professional world of glass art. He went on to earn his BFA degree at Southern Illinois University where he perfected his technical skills and learned about the many different styles and traditions in blown glass. He has also had the opportunity to study overseas at Abate Zanetti in Murano, Italy. Currently he has been traveling and working in a variety of studios, finding inspiration for his work all over the United States. 


Joe Nicholson

My introduction to glassblowing was at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge,NH. At the time I was double majoring in Environmental Science and Education. After a semester I dropped the Education major for a Teacher Assistant position in the glass studio. I graduated from Franklin Pierce University in 2012 with a degree in Environmental Science and a passion for hot glass. Since, I have worked in various studios committed to learning techniques from different styles of glassblowers. I am now committed to living and working as an artist to bring those various techniques together to form new creative designs. 




When John Almaguer was a young teenager he first decided he wanted to try glassblowing.  It wasn't until years later that he got a chance to try it out. When he finally took his first gather of glass he felt like a little kid in a candy store and has been creating with glass ever since. This fire dancer creates sculpture and blown forms through this substance that is much like lava. John has received a Bachelor of Fine Art in Glass and won awards for his work, as well as, displayed in galleries all over the nation. Almaguer has also taught, demoed and lectured on glass around the nation and in some cases the world.  Almaguer apprenticed in Murano, Venice where John lived and worked directly before he arrived in Asheville, NC where he currently makes his work and lives with his growing family.




Kathryn Adams earned her BFA from Alfred University in 2011, with a focus in glass art.   Upon graduation she enrolled in a class at Penland School of Crafts to further her education.  Penland was her initial lure to NC, & since then she has immersed herself in the region’s thriving glass community.   Interning at Jackson County Green Energy Park, a glass blowing studio that uses methane gas from a landfill to create fuel, connected her to the growing city of Asheville, where she moved to in 2012.  She served as the Gallery Manager for the Asheville Glass Center for five years.  She currently works for the North Carolina Glass Center, a non-profit, public access, educational glass facility, where she is the Operations Manager.  Kathryn is able to create her own artwork out of the studio as well.  Currently her work focuses on function and aesthetics primarily through custom lighting & other decorative elements.



Michael C. Krupiarz began studying glass at Alfred University    NYSCC where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2005. In the spring of 2006 he assisted a glass course at Penland. After the assistantship he made the move to Penland and continued working with many of the glass artists in the area. Michael has participated in various workshops at the Penland School of Crafts, Haystack, Pittsburgh Glass Center, Corning, and Pilchuck Glass School. In 2012, he was awarded the Core Fellowship at Penland. During the next two years he explored his ideas not only in glass but wood and metal. His work has been exhibited at the Penland Gallery; the Greenhill Center for NC Art; The Center for Craft, Creativity and Design show “Harvey Littleton, the Next Generation of Studio Glass in Western North Carolina”; and the Asheville Area Arts Council. Michael currently lives in Asheville, NC where he continues to make his work and teach   at the North Carolina   Glass Center.




Signe Ballew studied glass blowing at Alfred University and received her BFA in 2012, with a focus in glass and printmaking. After graduation she has worked for several non-profits along the east coast. She started flameworking while working as the Special Topics Artist Fellow at Peters Valley School of Craft in New Jersey in 2014, she worked there for two summer seasons with a studio assistant job in DC in the middle. Her work has been shown in NYC at the Museum of Art and Design in "Profile 2012" and at Peters Valley School of Craft, "Peters Valley Faculty and Studio Assistant Exhibition" and "Making Matters". Signe currently lives in Asheville and works as one of the instructors and studio monitors in the flameshop at the NC Glass Center.