The Magic of Glass

I feel ‘at peace’ here at Pilchuck. I’m living well. It’s the constant excitement of being challenged with new ideas and new techniques. People are funny, focused and very upbeat. This place is a model for learning — it’s the embodiment of what’s right in the world. Many people here are involved in projects related to rebuilding (a passion of mine -it’s why I work with recycled materials). Several hot shop folks have mentioned that they share studio space to allow inner city kids a chance to learn about glass and feel good about their lives.

Eddie Bernard fixes broken houses from Katrina. Bruce Mau has that optimistic viewpoint about our ability to redesign and consider the welfare of the whole human race. Catherine Chalmers crosses a delightful line between a scientific observation of the natural world and ‘messing around’ to change things in a way that actually reveals who we really are. Lienors, who, as my instructor is obviously the person I am in closest contact with, shows a level of calmness and patience that amazes me; she cherishes the small and the perfect. I believe her ability to do that is a sign of really being in the moment, of valuing and preserving what is close and immediate and not having a need to flit onto the next ‘big thing.’

I’ve talked to so many different people here and over and over again I feel a common aura of celebration. Maybe it’s the magic of glass, the way it transforms and has a life of its own. Perhaps there is something about it that attracts a certain type of person. Perhaps if you work with it for long enough you become that type of person. Many people here started with other art forms, then ‘experienced’ glass and found that it became their medium.

Sand Dollar Mold

We’re working on pate de verre today. I’ve made a little sand dollar mold and the wonderful texture of fused frit will hopefully work well for this project.

'Message in a Bottle" fresh out of the mold

My first casting, the ‘message in a bottle’, came out of the kiln today as well and although the mold had cracked, the lines can be smoothed out with the grit wheel. So more interesting times ahead for me!

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