Brook Forrest White, Jr.
My work is about energy and motion. I want to express vitality. Glassblowing provides an arena where the medium equals my intensity. The fire, the heat, the physical action and the teamwork stimulate my creative drive. The process allows me to transfer a bit of myself into each piece, thereby encasing a portion of my passion within the glass.
The shapes are primarily a result of my physical exertion, but are also part of my mental process. The colors and surface designs are interpretations of my moods and inner thoughts. Each piece represents a part of me which is not clearly visible, but which is nonetheless essential to my personality.
Color engulfs my work. The relationships I build between the coloration, patterning and forms offer a glimpse into the soul of my glass. I desire to capture something that is almost elusive, but I strive to reveal a sliver of the realm of pure fire and light.
– Brook F. White, Jr.
Brook Forrest White, Jr. thrives on the intensity of the hot glass process. He openly shares his passion for glass art with all those who visit his studio, Flame Run.
A native of Owensboro, Kentucky, Brook grew up playing baseball, soccer and the drums. He was captain of his high school soccer team and went to Centre College in Danville, Kentucky to continue playing soccer at the collegiate level, where he was a four-year letterman. Little did he know that an elective class would change the trajectory of his life.
Brook was pursuing a government degree when he had to take an art class to fulfill a general requirement at Centre College. That class was Hot Glass I and was taught by internationally renowned glass artist Stephen Rolfe Powell. In the glassblowing studio, Brook found an outlet for his passion, intensity, athleticism and creativity. Brook’s imagination was immediately captured by the fire, the honey-like molten glass and being a member of Powell’s team helping create his signature work.
Brook went on to work many years for Powell. Those apprenticeship years would prove to be invaluable to Brook as he continued his fascination with hot glass. Brook credits his nearly decade of time spent with Powell as the inspiration he needed to start his own studio.
After a brief stint at the University of Kentucky’s Law School, Brook opened his first studio in 1995 in Danville, Kentucky. With the financial support of a select group of investors, Brook found a building and began building his first glass furnace in a studio just off of the Centre campus. Brook hosted several Centre students as interns, and they saw the true beginnings of how a glassblowing studio is built. Once the studio was finally up and running, Brook focused on creating a new style of work. He travelled across the state and region, making new contacts as he exhibited and began to sell his glass work.
Brook won a Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council in 1998. He took the opportunities winning the award provided to travel around the world. He visited glass artists, studios and factories, gaining insight and knowledge about glass and its amazing history. Brook’s journey included many countries, but his focus was on Sweden, Italy, Japan and Australia. This opportunity provided Brook with a newfound respect for glass and how others had made a career of working with it.
In 2001, a new glass enterprise was opening in Louisville, Kentucky – the Louisville Glassworks. The Glassworks was designed as a mixed use space highlighting glass art in its many forms. Brook was approached to be the Hot Shop Director, and he moved to Louisville to be an integral part of this new facility. Now Brook was operating the largest glassblowing studio in the region, teaching lessons, creating his own work and hosting glass artists from across the globe.
The University of Louisville became interested in glass art as the Glassworks project opened with much fanfare. In 2003, Brook taught as an adjunct instructor for U of L’s first ever hot glass class. It was such a success that the University went on to build its own studio and now offers glass as part of its fine arts curriculum.
With all of this new momentum, Brook saw the possibilities of Louisville, not only for glass art but for the larger arts community as well. So after two and a half years, Brook left the Glassworks to start a new venture. In 2004, he co-founded Flame Run Hot Glass Studio and Gallery. The new studio was located on the east side of Market Street, and the neighborhood would later transform into what is now called “NuLu.”
In this 12,000 square foot space, Brook and a team of fellow glass artists forged an atmosphere of creativity and openness while focusing on sharing glass art with the city, state and the region.
Flame Run continued Brook’s desire to bring together glass artists, students, collectors and enthusiasts in a studio and gallery committed to creating and exhibiting glass art by local and international artists. Brook’s vision came to fruition in 2010 when Louisville was selected to host the Glass Art Society’s International Glass Conference.
An interesting twist of fate in 2012 found Brook with the opportunity to take over the now defunct Glassworks facility. This was the original glassblowing studio that he had moved to Louisville to manage in 2001. Brook moved his team and studio back to the west end of Market Street. Once settled, the move proved to be nearly perfect because it provided the chance to be closer to the other museums and tourist attractions in the Museum Row District. The studio has continued and expanded on Brook’s commitment to glass education, creating his personal work, providing interactive hotshot activities, hosting exhibits of diverse glass art and the increasing demand for his large-scale installations.
Brook’s glass art has expanded to include private and corporate commissions as well as numerous architectural large-scale installations at a variety of different venues. Brook and Flame Run create awards and designer items ranging from unique paperweights and ornaments to chandeliers and lighting, individual glass vessels, hanging sculptures and mobiles and wall sculptures over 50 feet long.
Brook’s list of corporate clients include such names as Maker’s Mark, Churchill Downs, Angel’s Envy, The Muhammad Ali Center, YUM! Brands, Humana, Greater Louisville Inc., KFC, The Falls of the Ohio Interpretive Center, Northeast Christian Church and the Owensboro Medical Health System.
Numerous celebrities and other notables have been awarded Brook’s glass art. The list of celebrities with Brook’s pieces includes Muhammad Ali, President Jimmy Carter, Susan Sarandon, Guy Fieri, Michael Bolton, Diane Sawyer, Jim Brown, Condoleezza Rice and Pete Rose.
Brook is proud of Flame Run’s recognition as the largest and best glass studio in Kentucky, and the studio’s reputation is known across the country. Visitors come from all over to experience the thrill of watching glass being blown into beautiful art. It’s the same experience and emotions Brook had more than 20 years ago, and he continues to share his passion for hot glass with eager audiences. Today, Brook draws additional inspiration from his twin son and daughter. Brook challenges himself by taking on new projects of all sizes, seeking new adventures and coming up with new ways to share his love of glass.
Brook’s work is always on display at Flame Run, including pieces for sale. Select pieces may also be purchased online.
- 2009 Seminar with Australian Glass Master Benjamin Edols
- 1993 Appalachian Center for Crafts – Smithville, TN
- 1991 Centre College – Danville, KY
- 2004-2015 FLAME RUN Hot Glass Studio & Gallery, Louisville, KY, Owner
- 2004-2015 FLAME RUN Demonstrations – Host: Karen Willenbrink, Laura Donefer, Jim Mongrain, William Gudenrath, Hiroshi Yamano, Ben Edols, David Walters, John Kiley, D.H. McNabb, Stephen Rolfe Powell, John Miller
- 2006 American Craft Council SE Regional Conference Workshop, Louisville, KY, Instructor
- 2003 University of Louisville-Adjunct Instructor, Louisville, KY
- 2002 Glassworks, Director of Hot Shop, Louisville, KY
- 2000 Assistant to Lino Tagliapietra & Marvin Lipofsky, Danville, KY
- 1995-2002 Glassbrook, LLC-Founder/Operator, Danville, KY
- 1993-1995 Apprentice to Stephen Rolfe Powell, Danville, KY
- 1993 Apprentice to Curtiss Brock, Smithville, TN
- 1991-1992 Graduate Fellow, Centre College, Danville, KY
Related Professional Experience
- 2010 Demonstrator for Glass Art Society Conference
- 2010 Demonstrator Exhibitor, SOFA Chicago
- 2010 Focus Louisville Participant
- 2009-2010 Glass Art Society Conference Chair
- 2007 Artists Advisory Committee, Board of Directors, Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, Louisville, KY
- 2006 Flage Alumni Association, Lecture, Louisville, KY
- 2005 Leadership Kentucky
- 2005 American Craft Council Advisory Committee
- 2001 First Annual Glass Symposium Panel Discussion, Chattanooga, TN
- 2000 Speaker, Owensboro Museum of Fine Art
- 2008 Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau Ambassador
- 2006 Kentucky Crafted Purchase Award
- 2005 Kentucky Arts Council Individual Artist Professional Development Grant
- 2004 Kentucky Arts Council Grant Commission
- 2003 Distinguished Young Alumnus, Centre College
- 2003 Louisville Magazine, Best Glass Artist, Honorable Mention
- 2001 Serendipity Collection, Third Place Merit, Owensboro Museum of Fine Art
- 2001 Mayor’s Award of Excellence, City of Owensboro, KY
- 2000 First Prize, North American Glass 2000, The Guliford Handcraft Center
- 1999 Dorothea Schlechta Merit Award, Evansville Museum of Art and Science
- 1998 Al Smith Artists Fellowship, Kentucky Arts Council
- President Jimmy Carter
- Muhammed Ali
- Guy Fieri
- Susan Sarandon
- Michael Bolton
- Pete Rose
- Christiana Aguilera
- Jim Brown
- Mick Ebeling
- John Schiff, Jr.
- Dr. John and Bonnie Roth
- Kentucky History Museum
- Kentucky Governor’s Mansion
- Diane Sawyer
- Condoleezza Rice
- Vince Gill and Amy Grant
- Centre College
- John Michael Montgomery
- Southern Energy
- Owensboro Museum of Fine Art
- Merrily Orsini and Rick Heath
- Mary and Bill Stone
- Ricky Skaggs
- Trans Financial Bank
- Corning Incorporated
- Jewish Hospital
- Mitch McConnell