Get to know the team that bring Hot Sand glassblowing to you!
PAUL ELYSEEV: CO-FOUNDER
Paul Elyseev spent the last 40 summers in Ocean Grove, NJ. Paul received a BFA in Glass and Sculpture from Jacksonville University and continued his glassblowing education at Pilchuck Glass School and Penland School of Crafts. Paul also spent a year as a glass apprentice for Master Erwin Eisch — Eisch Factory in Germany and one month working at the Minden Glass Museum.
Paul's other full-time job is a project manager for LevelLine Build & Renovations, LLC, 6-time National Rowing Champion, Asbury Park lifeguard for 16 years, and volunteer fireman. He is a life-long summer resident of the Jersey Shore.
THOMAS K. STEVENS: CO-FOUNDER
Thomas Stevens moved to Asbury Park 13 years ago, after 7 years in Amsterdam, where he worked in graphic design. That's also where he began his love affair with hot glass. At van Tetterode Glasatelier, he completed his first glass blowing course and was hooked. After 2 years studying, he began supervising the studio and various workshops with Bibi Smit and Richard Price.
Back in the States, he's been working in various studios and selling his glass through APeX Gallery and Weber Fine Art (mike-weber.com). (He's also been a Fulbright Scholar and a NYC Public school teacher.)
SCOTT STAATS: GLASSBLOWER
Scott Staats started his career in glass working as an apprentice to artist Robert Kuster; together they created and installed large scale chandeliers. Scott continued his education attending the Penland School of Crafts to study with renowned glass artists. Along the way he has worked with many different artist and designers helping them create their beautiful work. Scott’s personal body of work celebrates bright colors and borrows inspiration from artifacts and nature. In addition to being part of the Hot Sand Glassblowing team, Scott can be found at craft shows throughout New Jersey selling his own glass art.
LENNY CAMPOS: GLASSBLOWER
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Lenny Campos discovered his passion for glassblowing in late 2012 when he landed a job at Brooklyn Glass, sorting neon glass tubing and parts. After countless hours of watching skilled artists work in the Hot Shop, he tried his hand at glassblowing and fell in love with the process. Lenny honed his craft as an Artist Assistant, as well as a Teacher’s Assistant to numerous artist at Brooklyn's, Urban Glass, and Glassroots. Lenny loves exploring new glass techniques and using his Mexican heritage as a resource for his own artwork which has been shown by Galleries in New Jersey where he currently resides and is continuing to grow and develop as an artist, craftsperson and new dad.
BONNIE KOOKLIN: ARTIST & GALLERY EXPERT
Bonnie started working at Hot Sand in 2012. With a BFA in Costume Design and wig making, she took her passion of color and design into a new medium. After becoming obsessed with the glassmaking process, she has continued on learning new techniques in glass casting and fusing. Her passion is creating one of kind jewelry pieces. Currently, she spends most of her time working with HotPaws paw print castings and her corgi Razor.
JIM YACK: GALLERY DIRECTOR
A native of the Jersey Shore with an extensive background in Education Operations, Jim joined the Team as our Gallery Director in September of 2017 to streamline and create operations systems that allow Hot Sand to better serve its customers and expand its reach. While not a glassblower, Jim’s enthusiasm for glass art is evident in the images he creates for our social media feeds - always digging into the most granular details of the Gallery Art to help share the story of Hot Sand and the love of Glass Art with the Public.