E-news from Ed at Glass Mountain!
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Greetings! I’d like to start off with a bit of review of last year’s activities since it has been quite some time since our last newsletter, so bear with me and enjoy the read. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome, so let us know what you think.
2006 was a busy year for us. We did a fair amount of traveling and teaching, art making and writing projects.
In the early part of the year, I traveled to the studio of Mike and Penny Stevens in Salt Lake City, Utah to give a weeklong private glassblowing workshop. We worked on a plethora of forms and color techniques, and covered a great deal information in that short period of time
In May, I journeyed to Istanbul, Turkey where I taught a 2-week workshop at the Glass Furnace (www.glassfurnace.org). It was an amazing international experience for me. The people, facilities, food, and campus at the school were better than expected.
(Actually I had no idea what to expect!). The sights and scenes were sometimes familiar and at other times completely different.
It is clear that the city of Istanbul is becoming more “westernized” every day, yet it remains deeply rooted and tied to its past. Istanbul’s history spans thousands of years and encompasses numerous cultures. The city is truly a melting pot, a fascinating mix of the old and new, with influences from the East to the West everywhere you turn. There is also a sense of family and pride that permeates the people that live there and provides them strength and wisdom.
Students enrolled in my class came from Turkey, Israel, the U.K., the U.S. and Australia. Everyone was eager to learn and we covered a great deal of material in the 14 days we worked together. I learned a bit of Turkish and got to practice my German as well.
The following week was spent creating an installation: “From Grapes to Glass”.
With the help of some of the students and the excellent staff at the school, we created a metal and glass “arbor- sculpture” highlighting the qualities of glass and celebrating the history of wine and it’s place in our culture. The piece was set-up in downtown Istanbul as part of “Design Week”, an annual event exhibiting the works of artists and designers in a variety of media. The walk-through sculpture was well received and drew more attention to glass art and the school as well.
The trip left me exhausted; yet the experience was exhilarating. I have a great deal more respect and positive feeling for the Turkish people and their culture and highly recommend to anyone: if you ever have the chance to visit there: GO! Or better yet, take a class at the Glass Furnace!
In July, we celebrated a good old-fashioned Independence Day in Elena’s hometown of San Luis Obispo, and nearby Moro Bay and Cayucos. We enjoyed the bit of holiday with family and friends, and exploring the beaches and tide pools of central coastal California.
In August we returned to teach at the Ox-Bow School of the Arts in Saugatuck, Michigan. Ox-Bow (www.ox-bow.org) continues to be one of our favorite summer programs in Arts Education in the U.S.
The campus is beautiful (located on the Ox-Bow lagoon adjacent to Lake Michigan). This, plus the laid-back lifestyle that permeates campus makes it conducive to making art and new friends. The food is scrumptious. The facilities are great and the staff (and the T.A.’s) excellent and attentive.
The students in my class did remarkably well in spite of their different age groups and skill levels. By the end of the two-week period we made a fairly cohesive group that covered a wide-range of techniques and ideas.
In the fall, I worked full-time on completing my latest book: “The Glassworker’s Bathroom Reader”. I got the final draft off to the printers just before leaving on my next big international adventure to the southern hemisphere.
On Halloween I departed for New Zealand and Australia to do some research and instructing. First stop was the North Island of New Zealand. Garry Nash and family hosted me during my brief visit to their amazing country. We checked out Gaffer Glass to see their amazing glass colour manufacturing operation. I was impressed by the thoroughness of their set-up and their efforts to create a clean and healthy work environment. The robot that gathers tons of glass out of the furnace each day is ingenious and fun to see in action, (plus it saves the workers from blowing out their wrists from the repetitive action of making colored glass ingots all day long).
From Auckland Garry and I made the nearly 6-hour car ride to Wanganui in record time (yes, there are millions of sheep in New Zealand-and they are everywhere! [and none of them got run over-by us- at least!]).
I gave a brief lecture and demo at UCOL, the only glass school in New Zealand. The following day was spent with the good people over at Chronicle Glass playing with glass in their hot shop. Capping it off was a dinner of fish and chips and beer, plus a fireworks display in honor of Guy Fawkes Day. Thanks also to Stuart Smith and family for giving me a place to stay in Wanganui.
My next stop was Perth and the main reason for my travel “down under”. I taught a two-week workshop at Beach Gecko Glass. This is the studio of Dusan and Laurie Mills, (and their 19 year old son Nevin, who has become an amazingly good glassblower in a very short period of time). Their fully equipped studio is located on the West Coast of Australia, not too far from the beautiful beaches and stunning blue waters of the Indian Ocean.
We worked with glass canes and a variety of color techniques, as well as developed some new forms for production. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit in Perth and meeting the other glassblowers from the surrounding area. On my way back home I managed to stop in and check out the glass scenes in Sydney and Canberra. I hope to return down under again sometime in the future, and bring the whole family with me next time. There are just too many cool things to explore!
Christmas came a few days early this year as “The Glassworker’s Bathroom Reader” books finally arrived from the printers on December 21st. I sent out complimentary copies to all of the contributors and have been busy ever since fulfilling book orders. I hope the Bathroom Reader will continue to be popular with glassblowers in the coming years, and look forward to hearing more stories (and documenting them) about the trials and tribulations of my fellow artists and friends.
2007 looks to be another good year. We are in the midst of developing some new pieces, both sculptural and functional. I have been working on the helix series, as well as some off-hand hot sculpting. Elena continues to make her beads, glass jewelry and mixed media work in between looking after the kids.
This year will be peppered with workshops in flameworking and glassblowing, and bits of travel in between.
Elena and I continue to grow and develop with our children Ailia (age 5) and Milo (age 2)-as they remind us of friendship and love, and the beauty and joy there is in exploring the natural world that surrounds us, (that we so often take for granted.).
We wish to also send out our heartfelt thanks to all of the people who have helped us out on this great journey of life and art, and especially Brian Kerkvliet and family for assisting us with our website and “new” computer. We wish you all of the best in the coming year; drop us a line if you have the time-we’d love to hear from you,
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