Gear Patrol Mettle Work: In the Studio with Glass Artist Cedric Mitchell

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Mettle Work: In the Studio with Glass Artist Cedric Mitchell

With a mix of grit, commitment and raw talent, Cedric Mitchell has built a one-of-a-kind glass art business.


Cedric Mitchell didn’t fall in love with making glass the first time he tried it. He was in a studio watching several artists work together for hours to make a six-foot-tall vase, when, at the end of the day, the vase broke. All of their hard work was shattered at their feet.

It was then, seeing how fragile glass work can be, that he was hooked.

“It was exciting and scary and tense and dangerous,” Mitchell says of that experience. “That’s what attracted me at first. That initial moment of danger and teamwork, and letting go of attachment and being able to bounce back. Everything about it was exciting. I was in.”

This was back in Tulsa, Oklahoma, when Mitchell was studying business at a small community college and taking glass blowing as an elective. Now, Mitchell runs a thriving glass-making business in Los Angeles, drawing inspiration from hip hop, modern design and ‘80s art to create vibrant, colorful glass bowls, vases and sculptures for retailers and galleries worldwide. In addition to running a successful business, Mitchell has taught the art of making glass all over the world. Today, he’s been honored with distinctions as varied as earning an Artist in Residence at the Corning Museum of Glass to being featured in campaigns for national brands. It’s a diverse portfolio that has Mitchell in the studio seven days a week, tackling a variety of roles for his business, from glass blower to accountant.

“There are so many small details that go into running the business — ordering materials, customer service, tracking natural gas prices …” Mitchell says, adding that he’s constantly learning and trying to balance the roles of both entrepreneur and artist. “I’m 11 years into glass blowing, and I still watch Youtube videos of other people blowing glass, just to see how they’re doing it. Mastery is part of my journey. I want to be good at what I do. I want to know how to do everything, that way I can give that knowledge to other people.”

Mitchell credits the glass blowing community in Los Angeles for much of his success, calling it a “small family” that’s invested in each other’s goals, and he’s determined to pay it forward with the next generation of makers. His long-term vision includes owning a studio that could double as a teaching space, with internship programs for kids to learn skills like welding and glass blowing, as well as classes built around the different aspects of business that can help them pave the way for their own success.

“It’s always been bigger than me,” Mitchell says. “I feel like my main job is to help other people while I’m here. That’s the dream. Be successful, take care of my family, but help other people grow — and share these resources with them.”

And the most important thing he wants young artists and entrepreneurs to understand is actually the first lesson he learned about his craft, watching those artists handle themselves as their giant vase crumbled at their feet.

“There was a short moment of disappointment from everyone involved, and then they just got back to it,” Mitchell says, adding that overcoming adversity is a key talent for both artists and entrepreneurs. “You can’t spend too much time sitting in the mess. You have to clean up your room and do something.”


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