Randy Schaffer's glassblowing career began as a result of an epiphany he experienced when observing his first demonstration in 1998. He fondly speaks of the captivating moment, "A fire drew me in, my heart lifted, and I knew my life's calling. The vibrant colors of the earth, the optical effect, and the translucent glow were an immediate inspiration. This path of inspiration quickly became my passion." After receiving a degree in glassblowing and outdoor wilderness education from Southern Illinois University, Randy moved to Portland, Oregon, to continue pursuing his artistic career. During this time he worked with some of the finest glassblowers in America, developing his skills and creating his own unique designs while at Elements Studio (Portland, OR). The cooperation and respect that a glassblowing team develops together has been integral to guiding the way in which Randy lives his life.
In 2007, his ultimate dream was realized when he had the good fortune to move to the beautiful island of Maui to continue blowing glass at another studio, Da Factory. It was during this time that Randy would meet his current business partner and fellow glassblowing artist, Justin Brown. They joined artistic ventures in 2010 to form Makai Glass Creations.
Randy draws the majority of his artistic inspiration from the abundant, organic farm that he shares with his wife Chrissy, son Zion, and daughter Jahsolyn. This off-the-grid, intimate Garden of Eden is the ideal place for Randy's family and art to grow and blossom. In addition to the art of glassblowing, Randy enjoys diving and playing volleyball on Maui's beaches.
Justin Brown's prolific career as a glass artist began in early 2003, when his mother - herself a prominent artist - welcomed him into the family business with a gift of classes at Seattle Glassblowing Studio. She had recognized in Justin a gift for three-dimensional art at an early age and nurtured it until she passed in late 2003. It was then that Justin made the life-changing decision to become a professional glassblowing artist.
His newfound passion continued to grow as he worked as an assistant at Seattle Glassblowing Studio, Morrison Glass Art in Bellingham, Washington, The Glasshouse Studio in Seattle, Washington, and at the Gler i Bergvik Studio in Reykjavik, Iceland.
During his time as an assistant, he continued to develop the skills and specialized techniques necessary for his own designs. Many of Justin's early pieces can be found in homes and businesses around the Pacific Northwest. In 2008, Justin continued to follow his dream of living in Hawaii by moving to Maui to work as an assistant at another glassblowing studio, Da Factory.
From the beginning of his involvement with glassblowing, Justin has been fascinated by the material of glass itself, its fluidity, transparency, interaction with light, and fundamental tension of being as strong as stone yet extremely delicate. The source of his inspiration comes from his love for and appreciation of the ocean and the intricacies of nature. Justin says of his work, "I am most drawn to recreating parts of nature with such life-like realism that the pieces begin to seem as real as the objects they represent." During the creation process, Justin's approach to fine detail seems to come naturally and appears effortless as he works synergistically with the glass.
One of the pinnacle turning points in Justin's glassblowing career was when he teamed up with fellow Maui glassblowing artist Randy Schaffer in 2010 to form Makai Glass Creations. Their dynamic partnership has been the strong foundation of the company and continues to be the reason for their success as one of the largest art-glass studios in the world. Makai Glass is currently pioneering new processes for melting and re-heating glass with the renewable resources that are abundant in Hawaii. One of Justin's most proud moments in this business was when they made the transition to run off the grid by way of a biodiesel generator.
When Justin isn't busy creating captivating pieces of glass art, he can usually be found at the ocean pursuing his other passions of surfing, diving, and kite boarding. For Justin, the ocean and glass possess many similarities and have taught him how to be fluid and remain in the present moment.Read More