Timeline – Josh Simpson

Featured Work | Full Biography


1949 Josiah James Linsly Simpson, Jr., son of Jim and Norma Simpson, is born in New Haven, Connecticut.
Lewis Legbreaker born in Wagga Wagga, Australia, direct descendant of penal colonists.

1952 Brother Randy born.

1955 Brother Kim born.

1957 Josh publishes the Truesdale Lake News, circulation 350. Story is picked up by newspaper chain. Publishing career lasts for the summer.

1958 Josh and Lewis nearly arrested for illegal fireworks possession.

1963 Josh and Lewis build a series of night-launched eight-foot-tall hot air balloons made of rice paper and powered by propane and gasoline. Seven confirmed UFO sightings that summer dismissed by Air Force officials as “glowing swamp gas.”

1965 – 1968 Attends Kent School in Kent, Connecticut. Begins ceramic career.

1968 – 1973 Attends Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. Learns to blow glass at Goddard College in 1972. Gives up promising career as spoon player in Celtic and bluegrass bands.

1972 Builds his first studio in the Northeast Kingdom in Vermont. Lives in teepee, trades glass for one thousand pounds of dried chickpeas.
Attempts to borrow $5,000 to purchase studio land; bank executive mistakenly thinks he blows “grass” for a living and has him removed from premises by security guards.

1973 Lives in Datsun pick-up truck for the summer. Builds second studio in Northford, Connecticut. Main source of protein: chickpeas.

1974 Attends ACC Rhinebeck Craft Show. First gallery order for glass.

1976 Marries and moves to Shelburne Falls. Receives tarantula, Blanche, as wedding present from high school friend Bart.
First planets made to entertain visiting school children. Main source of protein still chickpeas.

1977 Rosalynn Carter commissions wine goblets for the White House. Chickpeas stricken from diet.
First IRS audit triggered when gas consumption in glass studio exceeds total propane use at all McDonald’s restaurants in Western Massachusetts. Of the two enterprises, only McDonald’s shows a profit that year. IRS auditor becomes glass collector.

1978 Lewis Legbreaker establishes Lewis Legbreaker Poisonous Chemical Co., Inc.
Josh hides first planets for kids to find in town.

1979 Included in Corning Museum’s New Glass Review traveling exhibit.

1980 Begins collection of coin sorting mechanisms from old vending machines.

1983 Son Josiah is born; Josh renovates section of barn for quiet studio in vain attempt to find a place to think.

1984 Josiah’s first spoken word: “Hot!”
Josh meets Swedish photographer Tommy Olof Elder; start of lifelong professional collaboration.
Member and chair of Shelburne Falls planning board, five-year term.

1985 Wins Juror’s Award, Artists Look at Earth, National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC.
Helps found Craft Emergency Relief Fund. Serves as Board president until 1992.

1987 Josh and wife split amicably.

1988 First international exhibit at Galerie Heidi Schneider in Zurich, Switzerland.
Fire destroys garage and threatens residence; Simpson rescues his toothbrush, his grandfather’s watch, and 1556 copy of De Re Metallica.
Nicholas Sant Foster buys planet at Corning Museum; begins close-up photography collaboration with Josh.

1989 Josh diagnosed as organizationally impaired. Begins lifelong organizational collaboration with Karen Krieger, who brings order to chaos.
Teaches at Penland School of Crafts, Penland, North Carolina.
Purchases scenic Patten Hill property in Shelburne for the Massachusetts agricultural preservation program.

1990 Josh answers wrong number and accidentally meets Air Force Captain Cady Coleman.
Teaches at Haystack Mountain School of Craft, Deer Isle, Maine.

1991 Exhibits at George Walter Vincent Smith Museum, Springfield, Massachusetts; and Arnot Art Museum, Elmira, New York.
Begins four-year collaboration with Carla Caruso to make glass jewelry.
Meets Mr. Y. Morito, president of Moritex Corporation; challenges Josh to make the “largest planet.”

1992 Elected president of Glass Art Society for two years; serves on board for seven years.
Learns to fly single engine airplanes.
Cady Coleman chosen as Mission Specialist NASA Astronaut; Josh overcome with jealousy.

1993 Guest lecturer at Aichi University, Aichi, Japan, and the Tokyo Glass Art Institute, Tokyo, Japan.
Collaboration with Neil Homstead to make glass blown into granite rock sculpture.
Start of collaboration with Joyce Roessler to make aquatic planets.

1995 Cady’s first space shuttle flight. Simpson planet goes into orbit. Josh receives pilot’s instrument rating.

1997 Josh and Cady marry. Second tarantula, Hairy, arrives from friend Bart.
Teaches at the Studio at the Corning Museum, Corning, New York; and Wanganui Polytechnic, Wanganui, New Zealand. Visits with Lewis’s relatives.

1998 Visionary Landscapes opens at the Bruce Museum, Greenwich, Connecticut.

1999 Cady’s second space flight.
Josh receives digital “pick and place” robot bead machine from Mr. Morito, who challenges him to find new uses for it. First successful image: Elvis.

2000 Josiah gets driver’s license. Second son, Jamey, is born, allergic to chickpeas.

2002 Cady sent by NASA on Extreme Environment Mission to Antarctica for 12 weeks to search for extra terrestrial meteorites. Living full time with his malevolent dad, two year old Jamey is forced to eat vegetables with dinner almost every night.

2004 Son Josiah spends College Junior Year living in a dung hut in Tanzania with a Masai family herding cattle. Wife Cady assigned to NASA NEEMO Extreme Environment Mission to live underwater off the coast of Florida. 4 year old Jamey learns to ride a two wheeler.

2005 Josh and Cady meet with His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei; Josh presented His Majesty with one of his Megaplanets.

2006 Son Josiah graduates from college, chooses to live in Portland, Oregon, as far as possible from New England.  Josh, diagnosed with testosterone poisoning, accepts commission to make 100 lb. Planet for Corning Museum of Glass.  Son Jamey enters kindergarten.

2007 Career retrospective opens at Huntsville Museum of Art. Cady assigned six month Space Station mission. Josh invited to collaborate with Steuben.
2008 Thanks to the recession and with little other work Josh recreates a glass he first melted in 1978, but never thought to write down.  After nearly 200 melts Josh finds the lost glass, now called Corona.  Josh has recipe tattooed on his chest.

2009 Son Josiah returns to the East Coast for graduate studies in Landscape Design.Josh attends exhibit of his work in New Zealand and four days later attends another in the Czech Republic Jamey learns to touch type… Cady assigned to Russian Soyuz rocket flight – to spend six months aboard Space Station.  Jamey once again upset by the prospect of being home alone with his malevolent dad, forced against his will to eat vegetables and type his daily journal.

Life is good.