Moving to Kansas in 1988, Ben Kappen graduated high school in 1996, then spent three years studying illustration at the University of Kansas, before leaving to pursue a career in glass. After a brief time with Free State Glass in 1999, he began to learn how to furnace-work soft glass with Darren Davis at Rainbow Fired Glass in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Using what he had learned there with soft glass, he bought a small torch and began to 'lampwork' glass in early 2003. During this time Ben also began building his own equipment in order to open a soft glass studio in Lecompton, Kansas. Over a six month period he hand built an array of annealing ovens and reheating equipment, along with a 250 pound capacity hot-glass furnace. The furnace was first fired in June of 2004 and marked the grand opening of Illuminated Glass.
In 2011 Ben began working with Brad Chun, collaborating on multiple glass projects and refining techniques in glassmaking. In 2015, they opened the Illuminated Glass Studio in the East Arts District of Lawrence, Kansas located at 313 E 8th St.