Dean’s creative talents started young as did his interest in the environment. He attended The College of Idaho with the desire to study Forestry via the Biology department. While his place on the Ski Team satisfied his extracurricular interests, he was still searching for his calling on a professional level. Eventually Dean was lured away from the Biology department and into the Art department by way of hot glass. This fascination soon started a hunger for what he had been missing since his youth, an immersion into the exploration and development of his creative side. Upon receiving his degree in Art in 1990, he moved to Ketchum/Sun Valley, Idaho where he continued working in glass at a local studio.
It wasn’t until 1997, that Dean decided to return to California to pursue glassblowing as a full-time career. Immersing himself in the Bay Area glass scene, he began working for many local artists. He has been featured twice by The Palo Alto Weekly newspaper, and has also dedicated time to promoting the glass arts. He started teaching at places such as Public Glass, San Jose State University and Palo Alto High School. He also attended Pilchuck Glass School in Washington on scholarship, and was a teaching assistant at Corning in New York. Dean’s work has been juried into many shows and exhibitions, like the San Francisco Airport Museums. Dean’s work is featured nationally and in many private collections, and his Redwood Trees were juried in 2006 into a show at the Oakland Museum of California. In 2007 Dean was featured on the Hallmark Channel’s morning show called “New Morning with Timberly Whitfield”. The show’s theme was “awareness” and highlighted his passion for making glass Redwood Trees and his concern regarding environmental preservation.
His redwood trees, created in both clear glass and in color, marked the beginning of his signature body of work. Focusing initially on environmental concerns, his concepts have continued to grow and evolve. More recently, Dean’s work goes further, in investigating the life cycles in nature, their significance, and the interplay between the earth and various species. His murrine pieces are the centerpoint of this series. Each slice of murrine serves to highlight one of nature’s footprints, marking the passage of time and a glimpse of history, the rings of life in a felled tree.
Over time, what was once a simple love of nature, has now matured into an idea that has a story to be told. His work is about an appreciation for life, the journey, and the stories it holds within.