Townsend is a self-taught artist, with over 30 years of experience in his field. His 10 year study of dancers in New York City had a profound influence on his style, leading to the clean lines and focus on motion that he has become known for. His background in classical music was instrumental in developing the preference for structure and form that permeates his work today.
Milon Townsend uses torches to melt the glass that he works with, a technique called flameworking. Colors are twisted upon themselves and encased inside the glass; delicate patterns are etched into sheets of dichroic glass; elements are ground and polished in preparation for assembly; ultraviolet adhesives are employed to laminate pieces together. Townsend uses modern technological innovations, traditional Italian techniques such as murrine and filigrana, and methods that he himself has developed to create the sculptures that appear in his mind.
Townsend is the author of six books. They include technical instruction manuals for flameworking glass, marketing guidelines and insight for all artists, and contemplative philosophical volumes. He is currently writing his next three books, and writes columns for 3 periodicals. He has also produced a series of eight videos, demonstrating the techniques that he has developed, making the information available to other artists in his field.
After a series of stores in the Rochester area in the ’70’s, Townsend traveled the country, and settled in New York City from 1980 – 1992. He has created works for Pres. George Bush (the elder), Arnold Palmer, and Cyrus Vance. Corporate clients include Bristol-Myers-Squibb, AT&T, Ford, & BusinessWeek magazine.
His work has been featured on the covers of Omni and Aviation Week & Space Technology magazines.
He has taught at RIT’s School of the American Craftsman, at Urban Glass in NYC, been a visiting artist at RISD and is a regular teacher at The Studio at the Corning Museum. His artwork is in the permanent collections of the Carnegie Museum of Art, American Glass Museum, and the National Liberty Museum. He is a member of the National Sculpture Society, the Salmagundi Club, and is on the Board of Directors of the Arts Business Institute. He works with a loosely configured team of skilled glass artists, who are an integral part of the creation of his pieces. He lives and works just outside a small village near Rochester, New York, with his wife Kiyoko and their son Timo.