The works in the current exhibition at Hawk Galleries resemble artifacts from ancient times and civilizations – tusks, bones, skulls, tools, vessels and bowls with hieroglyphics. But these are all blown glass made in the present day.

“William Morris: New Archival Treasures” features 21 works by the famous glass artist who retired at the age of 49 in 2007 to spend more time with his great love: nature. The “new” in the title of the exhibition refers to the works that have just been presented for exhibition in the artist’s collection.

All of the works are made of glass, but are so diverse in form, style and subject matter that they appear to have been created by a group of artists, not just one.

Petroglyphic ship of William Morris

“Burial Urn” (1991) is a textured gold vase with a hidden skull inside. “Anasazi Pot with Crow” (1991) is a chunky amber and brown bowl topped with a black crow, all in blown glass.

The immense “Rope Bowl” (1987) is a horizontal vessel, orange and yellow, in the shape of a wave. There are two “wall panels” (2008, according to the archives), each with an assemblage of animal heads, tusks, birds, beaks and blown glass tools.

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Morris, said gallerist Tom Hawk, “was able to make glass look like something other than glass – bone, leather, wood”.

Alongside the exhibition, Hawk Galleries presents John Andres’ 2008 documentary ‘Creative Nature’, capturing Morris at work in the glass studio and in outdoor activities such as climbing and running.

“I need to have a more abrupt encounter with the natural world,” the shirtless Morris says in the video.

Throughout his career as a glassblower, Morris drew inspiration from wilderness, archeology and ancient civilizations. Rock drawings adorn his three beautiful “Petroglyphic Vases” (1987).

“Standing Stone”, referring to prehistoric monuments such as Stonehenge, is a large vessel in shades of soft yellow and lilac created with the glass poured into a wooden mold which has been burned. The works in the “Mazorca” series pay homage to the importance of corn for ancient peoples.

Born in Carmel, California in 1957, Morris fell in love with glass as a young man at Pilchuck Glass School in Washington State. He drove a truck for Dale Chihuly, convincing the glass artist to let him work with him. In the 1980s Morris began making his own works in glass.

Anasazi Pot with Raven by William Morris

His art is part of the collections of international and American museums, including the Columbus Museum of Art. Thirteen years ago, Morris stopped blowing glass and sold his equipment. Today he lives in Hawaii where he continues his outdoor adventures.

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Hawk said he was delighted that the “treasure chest of Morris archives had been unlocked” – probably for just once – and that never-before-seen pieces could be put on display.

In the exhibition catalogue, Hawk writes, “Morris’ work continues to challenge the viewer, asking provocative questions about our priceless time on this earth and where we are heading culturally.

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In one look

“William Morris: New Archival Treasures” continues through April 30 at Hawk Galleries, 153 E. Main St. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Call 614-225-9595 or visit www.hawkgalleries.com.