Mathew Porkola

Teaching Since: 2015
Involved Since: 2013
Department(s): Glass Blowing


I always feel suspended between opposites. I’m drawn to classical forms, but I also want humor. I want the rigors of formalism and the spontaneity of expressionism. This tension informs what I feel is my best work.
I discovered glassblowing as I was finishing an academic program in critical theory and found the issues that concerned me, the rational vs the irrational, logical consistency vs aesthetic elegance, could be addressed in an actual physical way. What began as a lark became a way of thinking about the physical world and led to my commitment to a craft ethic.
I was the chair of the San Francisco Art Commission's Craft Advisory Board for 30 years and am presently an exhibit fabricator for the Exploratorium and Academy of Science.