Demetra Theofanous is a Greek American artist, living in the San Francisco Bay Area. She was immersed in the arts from a very young age, but this thirst for expression was temporarily diverted, when she received her business degree from the Haas School of Business, at UC Berkeley. She graduated and spent time working in San Francisco, only to realize there was something missing in her work and she needed to find a way to return to her creative roots.
Demetra entered the medium of glass through flameworking, and developed a method for weaving with glass that provides a continuing basis for narratives and investigation in her work. She attended the Corning Museum of Glass in 2010, to learn the ancient technique of patè de verre, and began creating natural elements like leaves and butterflies, utilizing this technique. This method of casting offers a detailed and painterly approach that is well suited to creating hyperrealistic sculptures. She now works collaboratively with her partner Dean Bensen, combining flameworked glass, pate de verre, and blown glass, in creating their sculptures. They also create large scale installations, that are in numerous private collections.
Demetra has been internationally recognized for her woven glass sculptures, and is included in numerous private collections, as well as in the permanent collection of the Racine Art Museum, the Imagine Museum, the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation, and the International Biennale of Glass touring collection, in Bulgaria. Notable awards include: an award from the Chinese government, a Juror’s Choice Award from renowned collector Dorothy Saxe, a merit award from Paul Standard, two jurors awards from Carol Sauvion (executive producer of Craft in America), a NICHE Award, a Juror’s Choice Award at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, the Leigh Weimers Emerging Artist Grant, an Award of Excellence juried by the Detroit Institute of the Arts, and an Award of Excellence juried by E.D. Charles Shepard of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. She has exhibited internationally, including at the National Gallery of Art in Sophia, Bulgaria, the Ming Shangde Glass Museum in China, the Triennial of the Silicate Arts in Hungary, San Francisco Museum of Craft + Design, National Liberty Museum, Imagine Museum, Alexandria Museum of Art, and in the Crocker Art Museum’s prestigious Crocker-Kingsley Biennial. In 2017 she was an Artist in Residence at the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art with Dean Bensen, where their exhibition “Intertwined”, showcased the environmentally sensitive work created during their residency period. You can hear more about her art and collaborative practice with Dean Bensen in the June 2023 edition of the Talking Out Your Glass podcast by Shawn Waggoner. In 2023, Demetra was juried into the San Francisco de Young Museum’s Triennial exhibition, “The de Young Open”.
Demetra operates a private studio in the San Francisco Bay Area where she continues to develop her work. She has served as lecturer, juror and educator, teaching at top educational institutions such as Pratt Fine Arts Center, Pittsburgh Glass Center, and Bay Area Glass Institute. Demetra was a 2015 demonstrating artist at the Glass Art Society Conference, where she also served as a Conference Co-Chair, and has also served on the Glass Art Society Board of Directors. She is current Board President of the Glass Alliance of Northern California, and is the President of the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass. All of Demetra’s pieces are one of a kind, created in limited number, and produced solely by the artist and her collaborator Dean Bensen.
Imagine Museum, St. Petersburg, FL
Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation, Portland, OR
Skutt Kilns Corporate Collection, Portland, OR
Racine Art Museum, Racine, WI
International Biennale of Glass touring collection, Bulgaria