Art glass has helped Chico become identified as one of the top 100 art communities in America. Rick Satava’s renowned work is a big reason why.
Satava, a master glassblower, is the owner of Satava Art Glass. His Chico studio produces hand-blown and solid forms in glass, and his work is known throughout the world. Jellyfish in glass and hand-blown vases depicting natural landscapes are among the studio’s most sought-after creations.
Satava was introduced to glassblowing in 1969 while attending Ocean High School in Pacifica. He attended the College of San Mateo and Chico State University before opening his studio in 1977.
Using ancient techniques to create original designs in handblown glass, Satava creates individually crafted works with a combination of technical skills and creativity. In the art community, he is recognized for his vivid colors and distinctive portrayals of nature. His work is found in important public and private collections.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is one location that contracts with Satava to provide renditions of jellyfish in colorful, ethereal and intricately detailed shapes. He became fascinated with the creatures while visiting the aquarium in the 1980s, after having grownup as a beach boy in Pacifica. “I’ve always been inspired and had an interest in the sea – that’s where my nautical series has come from,” Satava said.
Many of his works draw on micro-local inspiration, focusing on Mt. Shasta, Lassen Peak and the rice fields around the Sutter Buttes. “Lots of mountains and local terrain figure in my designs,” said Satava, who has lived near Butte Creek for years. He’s currently working on a Native American basket series, where he is crafting baskets out of glass. “It’s something I’ve been playing around with for a while,” he said.
It’s a delight to work in a vibrant, creative town, Satava said of Chico. Artists of all varieties choose to make it their home. “It has always been a community that supports the arts, and also a community that’s affordable for a lot of artists,” Satava said. “Chico State has a pretty strong art department, which is how I ended up here – and it’s how many other artists arrived in Chico. It was a place I could afford to buy property and start a studio.”
Although with his success, Satava could live just about anywhere, he has stayed loyal to Chico. “I love the community. There are a lot of great people with a lot of creative energy,” Satava said. “The only thing that’s lacking for me … is an ocean.”