Born into the glass studio, Nicholas Cash Nourot's early years were full of hours of playing in the shop and watching his parents create their work. At the young age of 6, Nicholas had already been designing glass pieces and producing them with the help and supervision of his parents and older sister. He was quite content to sit in the studio and watch for hours. One of the highlights of his early years in the Nourot studio was the honor of having a private lesson with master glass-blower Lino Tagliapietra. Lino was in town with Dante Marioni for the 1994 G.A.S. conference, and had accepted an invitation by Micheal Nourot to demonstrate in their Benicia Studio.
"It wasn't until my teenage years that I had the size and physical ability required to make larger vases and more refined shapes. I would demonstrate for the studios patrons at our annual open house, and even have people take home my first works."
The time came for Nicholas to get a job, and the only one he wanted was in the studio. Assistant to several artists in the studio including his mother Ann, Nicholas started to learn the process even more thoroughly. By the time he was sixteen, he was creating large scale vases that were always a bit different than what his parents made. A huge draw for him was the technical challenges that come when working in a team to create a piece that was on center and had a beautiful appearance as well.
After graduating from Benicia High School in 2002, Nicholas moved to Eugene Oregon to study and teach at the Eugene Glass School. Working closely with Charles Lowery he was inspired by new techniques he hadn't been exposed to in the family studio. During this time Micheal Nourot came up to Eugene to do a demonstration with Nicholas. Also while at the Eugene school Nicholas was exposed to the Italian style of goblet making, which would influence his journey later. In 2004 Nicholas went to Seattle to look for a job in the glass industry.
Having fallen in love with the Northwest, Nicholas was reluctant to move back to California, but in the fall of 2004 he returned home to learn more about the family studio. While working part time for the family shop, Nicholas also taught at San Jose State University under professor Mary White. There he was fortunate enough to be around for the 40th anniversary of the SJSU glass program, at which he was able to meet and assist Fritz Drisbach.
Nourot Red Goblet
Placer Mantle Hunt Bowl
In the summer of 2005 Nicholas was accepted into a James Mongrain Venetian goblet making course at the famed Pilchuck Glass School. This course exposed him to a level of technical ability with glass he had yet to see.
"James Mongrain is one of the most skilled glass people I have ever worked with. He blew cups for four days straight without making a single mistake. On the fourth day he dropped one by accident and I almost couldn't believe it. Being exposed to so many different masters with different styles at such a young age was a true blessing."
2006 saw Nicholas taking on a lot more responsibility at the Nourot studio. At the young age of 22 he began making some of the production pieces and, having taken great interest in how the red glass formulas were made, he began working as the batch maker that year as well. Micheal and Nicholas worked together to create some of the largest and most technical pieces of that time period. Incorporating knowledge gained during his travels, Nicholas started to build new equipment and adjust the old to make the larger scale work Micheal had been gravitating towards more achievable in their home studio.
The next few years saw Nicholas introduce new patterns and shapes to the Nourot line. He also started doing installations, completing a collaborative project for the City of Benicia with other local artists including Micheal Nourot. Another notable installation during this time was a series of platters commissioned by Northbay Healthcare.
Nourot lost their patriarch in May of 2015. Micheal was loved far and wide for his gentle demeanor and silly sense of humor. Soon thereafter the Smyers family, who owned and operated Smyers' Glass Studio adjacent to Nourot, decided to retire. Following these events, Ann and Nicholas decided to permanently close the Benicia retail space on H street.
Immediately following the closure of the Benicia location, Nicholas reconnected with a friend and glass artist who owned a studio in Oakland California. There he found a facility that offered everything he needed to create his work. Shortly after starting in Oakland, his friend bought out a facility in Richmond California. Being just seventeen miles from Benicia, Nicholas travels there to blow glass a few times a week.