James "Jim" Norton, who died unexpectedly on January 28, 2016, at the age of 58, was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, where he studied art and glassblowing, and where he built his career as a glassblower and educator. After studying at the Alberta College of Art + Design (ACAD) in Calgary, and the Pilchuk Glass School in Stanwood, Washington, he worked as a glassblowing instructor at ACAD ifrom 1986 until 2014. Norton also led summer workshops at Red Deer College from 1986 until 2005. When not teaching, he could usually be found working in the studio. He assisted in developing Skookum Glass in the 1980s, and opened the Double Struggle Studio in 1985 with Marty Kaufman and continued running the studio with Barry Fairbairn.
Norton is survived by his wife, Carol, and daughter, Nicole; his parents and bothers and sisters; his niece and nephew; and a wide circle of friends, colleagues. and students. He was known for his devotion to family, his dry sense of humor, dedication to his art, and passion for sharing his extensive knowledge of the field as an educator.
"Jim loved spending time with nature and especially going out for a walk with his dog Icy," reads a memorial distributed by his colleages. "He always came home with a long-lost treasure in his pocket like a rock with a pattern he liked, a stick that needed to be carved, or a chunk of wood that could be incorporated into an art piece. A beautiful view, a nice breeze, holding hands, sleeping in, reading a good western, feeding the birds, or hanging out with his Dad and family... These are things Jim cherished the most."
Nelson's work can be found in the Alberta Art Foundation, Edmonton, AB; the Petro Canada Collection, Calgary; McDougall House, Calgary; the Charles R. Bronfman Collection, (Claridge); the Esso Resources Canada Collection; and the Calgary Civic Collection among others. His work was also given as a gift from the city of Calgary to Queen Elizabeth of England,
A Gathering of Remembrance will be held in ACAD’s Main Mall and Room 371 on February 11, 2016 @ 5:30 p.m. The invitation offers the following advice: "Please don’t feel the need to dress up. Jim wouldn’t have."
Condolences may be forwarded through www.hffs.com or www.remembering.canada.com, where former students, colleagues, and friends are encouraged to "share your stories and memories of Jim that we can all use to lift our spirits and remember the kind and creative man we’ll always love."
The emailed announcement of his suprising passing ends with a quote:
It’s my turn now baby, “Here, let me take that.” – Jim Norton