Prairie Fire Glass is owned and operated by glass artist Jim Downey in Monticello, Illinois.
Jim studied Fine Arts — including painting, printmaking, and sculpture — at Western Illinois University from 1973-1978. From 1983-2001 he worked for Kinko’s Inc., as a Unit Manager, District Manager, Divisional Director of Training and National Director of Field Training. During these years, he developed an affinity for stained glass, creating over 20 elaborate and often narrative pieces (several of which are on display in the PFG gallery.)
From 1998-2002, Jim studied glassblowing at the University of Illinois, culminating in the opening of Prairie Fire Glass in 2002. PFG continues to be a successful addition to the arts community of Central Illinois, providing glass workshops, classes and demonstrations, and a gallery displaying unique glass creations and mixed-media work by local artists. Jim also participates in several juried regional art festivals annually.
Through my creative process, I explore the relationship between randomness and order. As all of us make decisions, and act, we impact the unfolding random order of the universe. I attempt to make creative decisions with little or no concern of the outcome. My intention is to become a “mouthpiece” for the universe, making small yes/no decisions that result in work that represents my personal relationship to the unfolding flow of nature.
Glass, in all different forms, has a distinct character, temperament and personality that requires technical discipline and process orientation, but still allows for endless spontaneity. I have worked with glass for over 25 years, first with stained glass and for the last 10 years, with blown and fused glass. I feel most fortunate to have stumbled across a material that provides such an endless variety of applications that so perfectly suit my creative process.
- 1st Place, Fine Art: Danville Arts in the Park, June 2013
- Best of Show, 3-D Functional Art: Buffalo Grove Art Festival, July. 2012
- 1st Place – Fine Craft: Spring Bloom Art Festival, April 2012
- Best of Show, 3-D Functional Art: Buffalo Grove Art Festival, July. 2011
- 1st Place – Best in Glass: Decatur Arts in Central Park, Sept. 2010
- Best of Show, 3-D Functional Art: Downers Grove Art Festival, Sept. 2010
- 1st Place – Best in Glass, Springfield Old Capitol Art Fair, May 2010
- Merit Award: Burr Ridge Art on the Green, September 2009
- Best of Show, 3-D Functional: Art at the Glen Art Festival, August 2008
- Merit Award: Buffalo Grove Invitational Art Festival July, 2008
- Best in Glass: Evanston Fountain Square Art Festival, July 2007
- Best in 3D Functional Art: Chicago Lakeview East Art Festival, September 2007
Jim has been noted as one the top sellers in the 2004-2010 Artists Against Aids benefit exhibitions in Champaign, IL. His work is also displayed and sold at Illinois Artisans Galleries throughout Illinois, Art & Artisans Galleries in the Chicago Area, Peoria Art Guild Gallery and at the McLean County Arts Center Gallery.