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Rick and Valerie Beck are a husband and wife team who create cylinders and bowls that are inspired by repetitive patterns found in nature and everyday objects. Rick and Valerie met while attending Hastings College where Rick earned his Bachelor’s degree in Art with an emphasis in Glass and Valerie received her Bachelor’s degree in Human Services Administration and Political Science. They continued on to Southern Illinois University where Rick received his Master of the Fine Arts degree in Glass and Valerie completed her Masters in Educational Psychology. In 1991 they established their own studio in rural North Carolina. Rick served as an Instructor and Artist in Residence between 1991 and 1994 at the Penland School of Crafts. He has also been a teaching assistant at the Pilchuck Glass School, and Artist in Residence at the Appalachian Center for Crafts, TN. Their work was selected in the 1991 Corning Museum of Glass publication, New Glass Review 12.
Since then their work has been featured six times in Glass Magazine and the American Craft Magazine. Rick and Valerie’s work is in many public and private collections including the Dutton Lainson Company; Glass museum, Denmark; Mint Museum, NC; Johnson Wax Corporate Collection; Federal Reserve Bank, NC; Wustum Museum of Fine Arts, WI; and McDonald’s Corporate Collection. Rick and Valerie Beck create unique glass bowls and cylinders utilizing the graal technique. Graal is a process of painting the surface of glass with colored enamels in three layers. The graal is then encased in clear crystal, shaped and blown out. Rick and Valerie’s designs are inspired by repetitive patterns found in nature such as a leaf or everyday objects such as tile, wallpaper or a checkerboard. Rick and Valerie also produce a series of hand-blown glass ornaments. In these works they infuse small circular bits of colored glass called murrini into the glass to created vibrant designs.