New Exhibit: Passage and Place


Announcing the art exhibit Passage and Place featuring glass works by Big Island artist Heather Mettler. The exhibition opens to the public on Saturday, January 13th and is on display through Sunday, February 11th, 9am – 5pm daily at the Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. The artist will be present for the opening reception held on Saturday, January 13th from 5-7 PM.

The exhibition showcases new glass work by Mettler which explore themes of migration, navigation and immigration. Specifically questions such as “How humans, plants and animals make their way to a certain place? How a place becomes a home, and the process that binds, or connects us to particular places?

HeatherMettler4Using a combination of hand blown, chiseled and etched glass Heather reflects patterns and designs which illustrate her reverence for the mountain environment and the ocean which surround these islands. While not born here, her family moved to Hawaiʻi when she was six years old. “I have spent most of my life on the beautiful Big Island of Hawaii. I grew up immersed in the flora, fauna, and ocean of the Kona coast. With its hapuʻu ferns, wild ginger, coconut palms, dolphins, sea turtles, rustic lava fields, and exquisite birds, Kona has been a magical place to call home.” Heather feels deeply rooted to this place and finds it a constant source of inspiration for her art.

HeatherMettler3Mettler’s fascination with glass began when she was a teenager working as an apprentice to an artist specializing in sandblasting. She expanded her skills at the Pilchuck Glass School where she studied mosaic design with Felice Nittolo. After learning casting and glass blowing, two techniques that greatly expanded her artistic expression, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree of Fine Art in Glass from the University of Hawaiʻi.

Mettler has been working in glass for nearly twenty years and states she is “continuously inspired by its versatility, fluidity, and textural capabilities. I draw creative energy for my pieces by watching the changing water of the Pacific, which reminds me of the liquid potential of my medium. I’m always looking for patterns and similarities in what I see, translating these elements into artistic language within my work. Glass has always been my canvas, but the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands is my true inspiration.”

Mettler, is well known for her unique “Basket Series” of glass vessels. That collection combines layers of woven copper baskets, blown glass, and sandblasted imagery to create a watery and ethereal experience for the viewer. Her new works have taken that concept and expanded it even further. The “navigation cylinders” specifically in this new body of work expose the woven baskets on the exterior of the vessel instead of being contained within. The woven copper forms reference the use of woven star charts used by ancient navigators. This unique collection of works by Heather Mettler invites the viewer to think of their own migratory story and their sought or provided sense of place in this world.


  1. Diane Bailey says

    The large triangular glass pieces are haunting and I will never forget. First, I was only attracted to “the mast with 6 sails” (my interpretation), then after reading your bio, and etchings on the “glass mountains of big island” ( again my interpretation), the whole room fit together for me. Thank you. Diane

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