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BOONE LIFE: The looking glass

Sunday, October 7, 2007 | 7:45 p.m. CDT; updated 9:50 p.m. CST, Monday, February 9, 2009
Glass artist Santo Noce holds a glowing hot goblet-in-progress. Noce works with color borosilicate, a glass material made of silica and boric oxide, in his Columbia art studio.

COLUMBIA — Santo Noce, 25, remembers his childhood growing up on 75 acres of woodland in Ashland’s rolling hills as a time of infinite freedom.

His parents, Sharon Kilfoyle and Peter Noce, were both artists, and the world in and outside their home was always seen as ripe for exploration. Whatever his interests were, Noce says, “They made it pretty easy for me. There weren’t really any limitations or things that were seen as not OK. Whatever I wanted to do, they supported me.”

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What he wanted to do was to travel and to make art. From a young age he began playing music, as well as learning techniques in fabric arts, painting and sculpture from his parents. A large community of friends extended the reach of available instructors to learn from.

And so, when he first encountered artists making glass a few years ago on a trip to Tobe, a sculptural ceramic artists’ village in Japan, he found the inspiration that he needed to learn a new craft.

When he returned to the United States he spent time traveling and found a borosilicate kit in California that gave him the necessary tools to make his own glass work. He began reading books and found artists to apprentice with. He converted the barn behind his Columbia house on Barberry Avenue into a studio where he has set up everything he needs to make the small sculptures and jewelry that now provide him the financial means to live his dream of being an artist. Last year, Noce had a show in Japan with his mom, who is a fabric artist. Another show is upcoming, and he hopes to be able to make the trip with his work.

“Just to be able to travel around and make a living off of my art — I feel like I’ve already reached my goal. I feel pretty blessed,” he said.


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