Michael Mortara was born in Honolulu and earned a degree in architecture at the University of Hawai`i at Manoa where he minored in fine art, studying glass under Rick Mills. Michael has been blowing glass full time since 1986. Prior to that, he was teaching and technical assistant in the well-known glass blowing program at Punahou School.
In late 1999, he designed and built a glass studio in Volcano where he can produce cast and blown glass. He works with his wife Misato, also a glass artist, along with other glass artists living on the Big Island.
“There is something both dramatic and dynamic about the manipulation of a molten mass of glass, such that the process has almost as much appeal for me as the product. Hot glass is a medium in constant motion where balance, timing and rhythm are the essential tools in the process. Once you start, you can’t stop until it’s done. After more than 30 years in glass, I’ve conceded that it is the glass that is really in control, however much I would like to think otherwise. There is no denying the inherent beauty of the material, and I have never made any attempt to direct glass away from what it does best. I consider a work successful if the people whose life it becomes a part of derive some satisfaction from beauty and a sense of mystery as to how it evolved.”