Pure Magic at Pilchuck

I can’t believe today is the last studio day. Tomorrow is clean up and then Friday – we — this collaborative amazing creative and funny group of people — must disperse.

I can’t believe I haven’t been in a car for nearly three weeks. Although I was invited, I’ve had no desire to go into town, make a trip to Seattle or leave for any reason.

I intend to stay connected to Pilchuck, and I hope to return. Ruth, the artistic director told me of some of the tentative plans for artists in residence and oh boy! I want to be here to see them!

I also told Ruth about my idea to keep our “Glassimations” group intact online — hopefully expanding it as well and she is very supportive. I see something really interesting coming out of this!

Last night – great after dinner talk by Jay (who lives in my city but I didn’t know of him till I got here – and he’s originally from Prince Rupert which caused someone in the group to sort of gasp and say ‘that is really far north’.). He’s an amazingly skilled hot glass worker who can both interpret the ideas of others as a gaffer and also imagine and make his own stunning creations based on things ranging from plant life to shipwrecks on the beach. The joke when Jay was introduced: “What’s the first thing a Canadian does when he wakes up in the morning?” Answer: “Apologize. (pause) For things he might do during the day.”

Jay started his career in glass in what was basically a factory. He made 250 paperweights/day. The workers there were told that if they ever went to Pilchuck, they shouldn’t bother to come back. Jay did the job for six years then *did* go to Pilchuck. And he believes that the paperweight job gave him a skill in his hands so he didn’t have to think about them and could work directly with the ideas in his head. And after all those functional pieces he was able to focus on completely non-functional pieces.

Jay has had many roles at Pilchuck since he began here. And he has explored some interesting combinations of video and glass that address ideas about dementia — how our brain can get scrambled in its access of the timeline. He depicts this through some beautiful time-lapse portraits that are reflected from glass.

Also, I absolutely loved his project of attaching LED lights to people working in the hot shop and videoing their movement via time lapse.

Then… I was off to work on my own classes’ final videos for presentation on the studio walk which will be tonight. As Charlotte said — the class has been pure magic and when everyone set up their work, that magic became truly visible.


2 Responses to Pure Magic at Pilchuck

  1. jay macdonell says:

    Hi Elizabeth,
    jay here, just to clarify the LED project was the brain child of the class taught by Ken Rinaldo and Joe Cariati, I just documented it. It was great to meet you, awesome blog!!
    take care,


    • Thanks Jay! It was really great to meet at Pilchuck and I hope to visit you here in good old Polite Canada at your studio sometime. Where did you document the LED project? I’d love to link to that.

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