We had the good fortune of connecting with Nate Cotterman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nate, do you have any habits that you feel contribute to your effectiveness?
I have developed a few habits that have really helped me be successful in my career. One is work ethic that is driven by my lack of ability to sit still. This was inherited from my father, who always had to be doing something; fixing a car, working on his motorcycle, or doing a house repair. This work ethic has allowed me to put in the required long days back to back that come with being self-employed. When I relocated to Los Angeles, I started getting up at 5:30am and this really supercharged my productivity. Getting up early makes it very easy to have long periods of focused time allowing me to get most of my work done before lunch. Lastly, maintaining a studio practice no matter what job I am working is critical to succeeding in an artistic field. For years, while working for other artists, I was able to keep and maintain a studio practice even when my practice wasn’t making any money. I think this is paramount in a creative/artist field where you need to be really self-driven and keep your hands in your own ideas and creations. Great ideas don’t just happen; you have to sift through all the bad ideas to get to the good ones.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My art is known for being a modern interpretation of glass objects, using traditional Venetian glass blowing techniques. I like to challenge low-end production with innovative design and handmade quality. I have created a line of bar ware, lighting, & home décor that is both subtle and powerful. My simple forms highlight the natural beauty of the material. In the last few years I have been developing adaptive lighting systems that combine blown glass shades with unique cast metal armatures. This has been an exciting change of course from production barware and vessels, as it’s an opportunity to collaborate with individual clients and create something significant that can transform their space. A long time friend and colleague, Uri Davillier, of Neptune Glassworks, and I collaborate on these lighting installations- I love collaborating with my peers. I continue to be proud and excited about the ongoing support of my patented Cube Glass, which was a collaboration with my brother in law/ bourbon enthusiast, Tommy Campanella. It is a unique object in that it contains a solid glass cube fused to the bottom of a handblown glass. The glass can be stored in your freezer, and will chill any beverage without diluting it. In terms of how I got to where I am today, I would have to say it is in large part that I practiced my craft as much as I could before launching into a formal business. With that as my focus, I became very good at what I made and was offered jobs because of my skill and work ethic. Additionally, when I partnered with my wife Antonia, she was able to bring a sense of business and structure to my art, which helped us be successful when exhibiting at trade shows and proactive with client communication. The business was established & grown in Los Angeles. After a successful 7+ years of business, exposure to markets, clients & design, we decided to apply for an opportunity that would take the financial burden of studio & house rental out of our equation. We were fortunate enough to be accepted to Penland School of Craft’s Resident Artist Program. It is a 3 year program that offers working artists subsidized studio and home rental, so that they may pour their earnings into their business.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would start by giving them a tour of the Penland Campus. We would either hike or mountain bike one of the trails on campus. Probably end that first day with some pizza out of our wood fired oven. Day two we would venture down to the North Toe River minutes from our house and do some fishing and or swimming. Day three we would visit Mt Mitchell (the highest mountain east of the mississippi) and do some hiking and likely some fishing on the way back home. Day three we would head south of Asheville, NC and do some camping, hiking, mountain bike riding, and fishing in the Pisgah National Forest for a couple days (never short on epic hikes and rides). On the way home we would stop by Big Ivy Recreation area (also in the Pisgah) and do some more hiking, riding, fishing, and biking.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My wife, & business partner Antonia Campanella. We met in college, she has been there from the beginning of my career, and has always encouraged, sacrificed & advocated for me. She has helped establish systems in our business that enable me to focus on making and being creative. I could not have gotten to where I am without her support.
Brady Connelly Tyler Barry NateCotterman