Wesley Fleming has received international recognition for his intricate glasswork which brings fantastic realism of the microcosmos to life. As an ambassador for smaller denizens of the earth, his passion for nature sparks awe and curiosity in others. He has taught in Japan, Germany, England and domestically at Penland and Corning, among others. In addition to numerous shows, he has work in the permanent collections of Corning Museum of Glass, Kobe Lampwork Museum and the Racine Art Museum.
Fleming has studied and admired the work of the Blashkas, and in 2016 the Harvard Museum of Natural History featured an interview with Fleming in their video announcing the reopening of the Glass Flowers Exhibit. At the beginning of his career, in 2005, he made a pilgrimage to the Venetian Island of Murano, the world center for glass craft. There he learned the ancient Italian technique for sculpting glass from icons in the field, maestros Vittorio Costantini and Lucio Bubacco. Fleming has focused more than a decade since honing his skills and finding his personal expression in the shapes of his lifelike sculptures of beetles, mantises, and other phyla of the plant and animal kingdoms. He captures the essence of actual insects with the intricate detail of their tiny antennae and foot segments in some pieces. In other work, he conjures creatures into being from his dreams.
Growing up in rural western Pennsylvania, Fleming’s favorite pastime was exploring the space beneath logs and rocks in the woods around his home or reading science fiction and comic books. Thus the shapes and colors of the natural world and his own wacky imagination are his muse. Before focusing on smaller glass forms, he studied jewelry fabrication as a teenager, then discovered hot glass in 2001. He worked on larger scale furnace-blown glass for Josh Simpson and MIT Glass Lab, among others. His proclivity for crafting fine detail and love for the meditative environment of solitude guided his switch to the flameworking process.