Craig Zweifel, 76, nationally known glass artist and longtime Ketchum resident, passed away on Aug. 3, in Grants Pass, Ore., after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.
Born 1944 in San Diego, Calif., he grew up in Oakland, Calif., with his parents, June and Charles Zweifel, and siblings Jay and Linda. After high school, he entered the National Guard at Fort Ord in Monterey, where he completed basic training and learned to cook. Bucking his parents’ insistence that he attend dental school, he instead enrolled at San Jose State University as a ceramics major. There he fell in love with glassblowing. Later he said, “At my first glimpse of the hot glass studio, I was mesmerized by the glow of the molten glass, the fire and the heat, the roar of the furnaces, the rhythm, the dance, the process.” In glass he found a medium that mirrored his personality: fiery and exciting.
During his undergraduate years he met and married his first wife, Lynn. Thereafter the pair split their time between Jackson Hole, Wyo., where he built his first glass studio in 1969, and Los Angeles, where he attended graduate school at UCLA, obtaining his MFA in design. Their daughter Rain was born in 1972. Two years later, the family moved to Ketchum, where he was the first full-time glass artist in the area. In 1977, daughter Aara was born. Over the years he became a leading artist in the community.
Zweifel’s glass was highly regarded for his unique surface treatment, created by applying silver through a specialized process that he developed. His work was exhibited in galleries, art shows and museums across the U.S. and abroad, including the Corning Museum of Glass, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Smithsonian, among others.
Craig married his second wife, Anny, in 1987, and they continued to operate his glass studio in the Wood River Valley until they moved to the Applegate Valley in Oregon in 2004. It had been his dream to live in a place with a longer growing season and to have acreage to cultivate. Nevertheless, he continued to blow glass, because, as he said, his glass dance was the driving force of his life.
Craig was fiercely independent, hardworking and charismatic. He took his craft seriously, but was never pretentious. He loved good food and wine, barbecuing, hiking, fly fishing, grouse hunting, backpacking, golfing and dogs. Never one to miss a party or celebration, he loved being with friends, sharing stories and abundant laughter. His friends and family remember his humor and colorful language! Craig’s arms were open wide to whatever life brought him, and he lived life on his own terms.
Craig is survived by his wife, Anny Zweifel, of Williams, Ore., his two daughters, Rain (David) McDonald and Aara Zweifel of Hailey, Idaho; his grandchildren, Gavin, Makena and Savanna McDonald, of Hailey; his brother, Jay, of St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands; and his sister, Linda, of Danville, Calif.
There will be a celebration of his life in Ketchum at some future date when it is safe to do so. Memorial donations can be made to the Parkinson’s Foundation or the Wood River Land Trust.