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Discover the Artist

Essays

If anyone wants to know what “spirit” is, or what “God’s fragrance” means lean your head toward him or her. Keep your face there close.

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Masters of Blown Glass

What response, in thought or emotion, are you trying to engender in the viewer?

Surprise, tenderness, flow, a kind of cleansing feeling, ancient excavations, newness, childlike curiosity, beauty and play.

What drives you to create?

I am hard wired to make things in three dimensions. I always loved building and being in another world. . In my father's toy store, everything was talking, whether to me or its neighbor ; It was a magical world. I am searching each day for that deeper connection with objects.

What were your biggest breakthroughs?

I listen to my inner being then observe and experiment in the studio until it feels right, until a connection is made with what I am feeling or imagining and the thing in front of me. Breakthroughs seem to come slowly by day to day interaction with the work. I can't be in a hurry and in fact the work tells me to slow down. It took me years to recognize that link between the reverie of the toy in my childhood to the resonance in the objects I was making as an adult. That is magic.

That was an "aha!" moment.

What influences you?

Nature, art history, contemporary art, experience, light and shadows, water, people, the breath, rivers, life, death, survival, vulnerability, tenuousness, fragility, heartbreak, fear, the lack of connection, understanding, sympathy, tenderness.

What inspires you?

Sometimes it is just a scent in the air, the way the earth sounds under foot, the feel of cool water against my hand as it pushes through the river surface, or something deep in the woods that I can only catch a glimpse of that sets off thinking about work, shapes, relationships and the tenuous connections we make with the landscape and with each other.

How do you map out your work beforehand?

Starting with an impulse, an idea, a verb, I'll draw it out if I need to and plan it as best I can before I get to the studio, then work and try to translate without losing the gesture as I layer the work with added complexity. I will consider a mark as I am etching the glass. I'll create a gesture with the acid cream on the brush and "paint" the surface of the glass two, three, four or five times until the surface has the depth and movement I am looking for, not just sealing the surface but considering each mark and its relationship to the ones before it. The metal is approached with the same energy, so mild steel will have brush stokes of patination and then sealed. I have a cache of glass drops in many sizes and thicknesses. They are my palette that I can reach to as I am composing the drops on the etched glass panel. Each drop has a relationship to the last one building left to right like a scroll, telling a story. I will sit with the drops and contemplate their position, movement, gesture as the composition builds. I am listening to the surface, the light and the depth behind as I build these compositions. The work take months. I start with the idea and the scale, order the glass, then order the metal from my fabricator Gene Stahl, and prepare drops. As the glass comes in I'll build the pin placements for the slump. I use either my studio ovens or if the work is larger I'll bend it at the Pittsburgh Glass Center or at Gerry Wagner's studio for the 4' x 4' sheets. Gerry has a large ceramic kiln that he converts for my slumps and it works perfectly. Ron my partner helps in all of this. I have great support to help make my works.

Excerpt from Lark Books Publication Masters of Blown Glass