Bruce Sillars is a prolific designer considered by other glass blowers to be a true master of glass technique. Sillars grew up in the Los Angeles suburbs. In high school he worked in ceramics, later becoming a technician in the ceramic studio at Moorpark College. He holds a BA degree in Art with an emphasis in ceramics, glass, and sculpture from California State University, Chico. In 1973.
His career in glass began when he was hired as Orient & Flume's first employee. Bruce created iridescent vases and paperweights that incorporated both geometric and naturalistic floral motifs. As time passed by, the designs became more and more complex and sophisticated, and by the early 80's his work began to move away from iridescent glass. Replacing the iridescent glass with clear crystal, Bruce began an all consuming and life-long exploration of heavy clear glass vessels utilizing three-dimensional motifs and employing both "torch worked" and "lamp worked" design elements.
For Bruce, the experience of designing and creating glass becomes a very personal, intellectual interpretation of his own emotions, perceptions and impressions. "While I don't try to reproduce a motif exactly, it is the small details that express the essence of a design. I work mostly from memory, allowing my impression of the subject matter to be represented as much as the details of reality." "Craftsmanship is important to me, as I learn to better understand and control the glass I find that I have more design freedom. Devising new tools, colors and techniques is an important part of the design process. Sometimes a new design will be inspired by a new development. Then again, many new techniques have come from the effort to develop a certain idea. Often I get ideas for pieces that I don't yet know how to execute. It can sometimes take a year or more to find all of the right methods and components to satisfactorily finish a design. When I learn something new and different, it's exciting to be able to put it to use."
"I like the immediate gratification that glass offers. You are not able to put a piece down and think about it, Once you start, you must work it to the finish."
Since 1973, Bruce has been responsible for many of Orient & Flume's most successful designs, including his famous Tulip vase, as seen on the cover of Gumps's catalogue. Bruce has an endless collection of designs credited him, including the following: Lily of the Valley, Rose Buds, Dutch Iris, Pink Cherry Blossoms, Poinsettia, Red Clown Fish, Blue Tang, Johnny Jump-Ups, Winter Woods, and his classic Water Lily Bowl.