Glass and wood artist Craig Weatherby walks in two worlds. He is both a scientist and an artist, and while those two worlds might seem very different, from Craig’s perspective, they are intertwined. “Art is science; science is art.” He considers himself fortunate that his career as a wildlife ecologist allows him to have so many experiences from which he can draw inspiration for his art. He travels the world to places like Africa, Fiji, and the Caribbean to research how to help them preserve their ecosystems, and in doing so, he witnesses a variety of incredible natural phenomena like butterfly migrations and volcanic eruptions. When he speaks of these experiences, you can hear the appreciation in his voice and almost feel his sense of awe.
He tells of spending two months working underwater in Fiji on a research trip. Something beautiful would catch his eye, maybe coral or light reflecting off a fish, and he says “I’d just stop and suddenly move into a different world, from science to art. Art gives me a means to share my love of wildlife other than science. I can express my experience through art instead of writing papers or public speaking.” He witnessed a Monarch butterfly migration — “it was just a huge cloud of orange,” — and then went home to create “orange things with a lot of soft and gentle movements and wispy shapes.”
While he considers himself a lifelong artist, Craig began working with glass and wood in 2000. In addition to his advanced science degrees, he has extensive training in woodworking, glass, and ceramics, and has amassed a decade of artist awards and achievements for his work with both glass and wood. He enjoys thinking about the eventual buyer of his work while he’s creating, guessing their gender or age or even hair color, and wondering if they’ll interpret his work in the same way he does. He says they might see a parrot where he was thinking of a jellyfish. But he doesn’t mind. “In science, things are so black and white. In art, it’s different. You can touch people’s emotions.”
Visit Craig Weatherby’s booth at Art-A-Licious to see more his nature-inspired art. Afterward, maybe head over the the stage at Maumee and Broad Street to see one of our great musical performances.