Walt Cottingham / Hawk Ridge FarmI have lived in the Southern Appalachians for most of my life, and have been creating craft pieces since childhood....
Pelican Glass Works
Jim lives and works in the beautiful foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Lenoir NC. He is largly self taught and continues to experiment with trying to bring the beauty and utility of Glass into daily life through his art.My influences include both the natural and undersea world both here in NC and also the Caribbean.
James was born in 1951 in Washington, DC. He lived in DC until the age of 1 when his family moved to suburban Maryland. James lived in Rockville, Md for the next 20 years. He met his future wife, Gail, in high school. They were the prototypical high school sweethearts. After High school, James enrolled in Montgomery College and joined the Army Reserve. He also around this time 1972 married Gail. After a few years of supporting the family, Gail decided that Jim should find a job. He then became an apprentice in the local Electrical Union, and remains a Union member to this day. In 1976 two major events shaped their futures, the first was the birth of their daughter, Kelly. And the second was Jim becoming employed by the Washington Transit System.
A few months prior to the birth of their daughter, Jim took a class in Stained Glass. He had developed an interest in Glass at an early age from the beautiful Stained Glass windows in his church. He made his first piece as a commemoration of the birth of Kelly and his long journey in glasswork was begun.
Over the course of the next two decades the Burchett's moved to the rural exurbs of DC and had a son, Joshua, Jim continued with the Transit system and worked on his glass as a hobby. He made several works for his home and also a number of private and ecclesiastical commissions.
As the children grew and moved out on their own, Jim and Gail developed an interest in travel and took up SCUBA diving, which has become another passion. They also developed a deep love for the Caribbean and ultimately bought a home in St.Lucia where they spend several months a year.
In 2003 Jim retired from the Transit System and decided to explore his art more fully. In 2005 they relocated to Lenoir and Jim was able to equip his new home with a full studio to really pursue his art. He left the restrictions of Stained Glass behind and moved into the area of Kiln Formed Glass, which allows a much less restrictive mode of expression. He is striving to combine his appreciation for nature and especially the undersea world with the utility of Glass objects to expand people’s appreciation for the art in their everyday lives.
In early 2008 Jim entered the next exciting phase of his life as he has become a .Grandfather for the first time. Since then he has gotten another grandson, a Son-in-Law, and membership in the Guild. Life is good and He hopes to enjoy it for many years to come.