In Focus: Forging an Artist’s Path

Lee Proctor creates functional metal and glass sculptures at his studio near Bigfork

By Greg Lindstrom
Lee Proctor and Nate Adoretti cast hot glass in Proctor's Bigfork studio. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

As Lee Proctor and Nate Adoretti ladle liquefied glass into a curved mold less than two inches wide, the process looks practiced and polished. But the path of an artist wasn’t always the plan for Proctor.

“I was going to major in ecology and animal sciences and stuff like that – save the world, you know?” Proctor said from his studio near Bigfork.

But one watercolor class with Karen Noice at Flathead Valley Community College changed all that.

“I’ve always felt like I was living pretty intuitively as I moved toward art. It felt right,” he said.

Proctor learned blacksmithing skills during his summers shoeing horses while he went to school. He started making sculptures as gifts for friends and family, and ended up jumping into the arts full time. Now, he and his team at Proctor Studios focus on commissioned architectural art and functional sculptures made with metal and glass.

Although he has been creating works of art for more than 30 years, Proctor still has a passion for the process.

“The more you make and the more you do, the more you realize you want to do,” he said. “One idea leads to another, and I think that’s what drives you.”

Lee Proctor and Nate Adoretti cast hot glass in Proctor's Bigfork studio. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon
Lee Proctor and Nate Adoretti cast hot glass in Proctor’s Bigfork studio. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

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