Maurice Heaton

Born in Switzerland to a family of English glassmakers, artist Maurice Heaton (1900–1990) moved to New York State with his family in 1914. He studied engineering at the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey before beginning to work with his father, a stained-glass artist, on window commissions. Heaton struck out on his own during the Depression, earning recognition for his lighting fixtures, tableware, murals, and panels. He is known for creating designs in glazes and powdered enamels on flat glass that he slumped in iron molds of his own making.


Africa, 1948. Colorless glass, enamel. Overall Diam: 37.25 cm, Depth: 6.5 cm. Collection of The Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York. (51.4.533).

Madonna & Child Platter, c. 1955. Kiln-formed, powdered glass enamel decoration, slumped, linear drawing of the Madonna & Child in blue, surrounded by red sky with yellow stars, black and white outer pinwheel design, signed: “M.H.” under figure. Collection of the Museum of American Glass, Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center (2010.020.001).
Fish-shaped dish, c. 1970. Green and yellow shades, red dots and red eye with green outer circle, signed: “M.H.” on top fin. Collection of the Museum of American Glass, Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center, Milville, New Jersey (2013.020.006).


Artist Sydney Cash discusses learning to bend glass from Maurice Heaton.

2:17 Transcript

Sydney Cash discusses learning to bend glass from Maurice Heaton. Oral history interview with Sydney Cash, March 22, 2018, Bard Graduate Center. Clip length: 01:39.

Sydney Cash: I ended up being involved with Bloomingdale’s—stores around the city. And I started selling wholesale, I was selling wholesale in and around the country. Soon after, I had a shop in Greenwich Village. I was making mirrors, I was casting these frames and embedding the mirror into it. So it—the mirror was there, I didn’t have to frame it into it or glue it in, it was already into it. And at one point when I went to Europe to look for stuff to buy to replicate, I bought a fancy frame that had a convex mirror. And I fell in love with the mirror, and I fell in love with reflected imagery that wasn’t just straight. So I ended up [clears throat] going to all these—looking for everything I could that was curved. Found a guy in SoHo, an old Italian glazier, who could mirror anything for me. I would go to these glass-bending places and buy their rejects that were sitting around. There were actually glass-bending facilities in Manhattan, in Chelsea at that time. And I started showing that stuff in the—that store that I had. And [clears throat] I got a lot of attention from it. Bloomingdale’s where I’d been selling these things as well as accessories, loved the mirrors. I got—I did a lot of work for them. And at one point I said, ‘Oh I need to start bending the glass myself.’ So I contacted the American Craft Museum [Now Museum of Arts and Design, New York, New York] who connected me with Paul—not Paul, Maurice Heaton. And he was an Englishman, fifth-generation, bending glass to make plates or lighting fixtures. And he lived up in Westchester; I went and visited him. He told me how to make a kiln and sent me on my way, and I made a kiln and all of a sudden I’m bending glass in Tribeca.


Maurice Heaton discusses his enameling on glass technique in a 1984 interview with Paul Hollister.

Playing3:46 Transcript
Maurice Heaton

Maurice Heaton discusses his enameling on glass technique in a 1984 interview with Paul Hollister. Interview with Maurice Heaton by Paul Hollister, April 28, 1984. (Rakow title: Frances Higgins, Edris Eckhardt, Maurice Heaton interview [sound recording] / with Paul Hollister, BIB ID: 168560) Clip length: 03:46.

Time stamp: 00:00
Clip 1: Maurice Heaton talks about color techniques in his work. Clip length: 01:13.

Maurice Heaton (MH): No, its black enamel. Before you put the black enamel on you put red. Now you see, I did this one and I used to make them with some of the white that was clear here, and I decided to do it all black. Now, this one here has black and not quite enough red. You see the quality of the red in here is better. See how beautiful it is?

Paul Hollister (PH): Yes, wonderful, yeah.

MH: Now, I know—

PH: Glows.

MH: —a gray in here is put on—you have to be very, very careful as to how you sprinkle the gray on. When it gets too dark it’s no good. And then after you cover the whole thing with white.

PH: Oh.

MH: And then, you see, the piece becomes whiter. In other words you make this transparent—

PH: But you first—

MH: [inaudible] with gray, and then put white all over it. 

PH: You put a little gray? I thought that was just the difference in the depth of the sandblasting or whatever.

MH: There’s no sandblasting.

PH: No sandblasting?

MH: No, it’s all done by sifting the enamel.

Time stamp: 01:15
Clip 2: Maurice Heaton discusses his coated enamel technique. Clip length: 01:14.

Paul Hollister (PH): So what gives—what gives this ridge? What gives this sunken—

Maurice Heaton (MH): Because— 

PH: These are sunken and these are ridged. 

MH: Well, the enamel is black in here—has thickness—

PH: I see.

MH: This has no thickness—

PH: I see.

MH: —except a little bit for the white.

PH: Oh. So it’s not sandblasted at all [inaudible]—

MH: There’s no sandblasting. 

PH: —and then enameled over. 

MH:  Only one operation on it. 

PH: Which is enameling with several different coats.

MH: —[inaudible] different coats.

PH: Yeah, and you sprinkle a little gray—

MH: —Sprinkle a little gray in here, and after you—

PH: You have to do that in reverse, of course. It’s like painting on the back of glass.

MH: The wonderful part is this: when I do this and these and so on, I have a mirror here, and two pieces of wire here, and when I put my design here, it is like this, I can see it in the mirror as it will be when it’s [inaudible] over.

PH: Aha, that’s right, because you get the reverse.

MH: Yeah, so I get the reverse.

PH: You get it in reverse, which is really positive.

MH: Yeah.

Time stamp: 02:33
Clip 3: Maurice Heaton talks about using float glass. Clip length: 01:13.

Paul Hollister (PH): This one also has a rainbow sheen to it on the—looking here it must be the lighting or something.

Maurice Heaton (MH): Well—

PH: Was that intentional?

MH: [inaudible]

PH: That rainbow? Is it just my eyesight?

MH: Sort of a brutish thing, yeah. Sometimes, you know, they make the glass now, the window glass is made—

PH: Yes.

MH: —and they call it float glass. 

PH: Mm-hm.

MH: Now, what I have to do is to test each piece and keep it with a label on, and I decorate it so that the float glass is under the—float glass that comes in contact with a [inaudible] is underneath. If I put it on top then it has, sometimes, a sheen like this, and sometimes it’s rather obnoxious. 

PH: Well I don’t think it’s obnoxious, it’s lovely. Can’t you see that one in there, that bowl?

MH: Oh, I know. It becomes almost—

PH: Rainbow.

MH: —yeah, and it looks very nice on white. Now when you have the rainbow on this, then it becomes rather obnoxious.

PH: Mm-hmm. Well, I can see that.



Writings by Paul Hollister Bibliography

“USA Studio Glass vor 1962 / before 1962: Maurice Heaton, Frances and Michael Higgins, Edris Eckhardt, Vier Pioniere und Wegbereiter / Four Pioneers and True Originals.” Neues Glas, no. 4 (October/December 1985): 232–40.