Tony Cray is “a pyro with a passion for process.” In 1986, he began blowing glass while studying ceramics at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville (B.F.A., studio art 1990). In 1997, he founded and built Snake Ranch Studio. Located approximately 40 miles west of St. Louis, Missouri, near the town of New Melle, Snake Ranch is a full-time glass studio.
His approach to producing work is self-seeking. He would rather make it than write about it; there is no underlying message or moral to ponder. Hi work is about the work. It’s about the process. It’s about the work in progress. He strives to produce original, high-quality, classic-inspired modern objects that are finely crafted, obviously handmade, and uniquely mine.
Techniques include cane and murrini work, incalmo joints, and switched-axis transfers. Hand-cut, sand-carved surfaces, saturated color overlays, and clean lines comprise the visual elements.
Each piece is made one at a time, using traditional glassblowing tools. He is the designer and the maker from start to finish. Working from a 2000+ degree furnace containing clear molten glass, colored glass is applied to each individual piece, enabling him to work from a virtually endless color pallet. He uses only the finest base and colored glass available, in the attempt to produce some of the finest glassware ever.
The rest is about trial and error, patience and persistence. Each piece leads to the next, one piece at a time.