GAS 2010 40th Annual Conference

October 17, 2009

GAS conference

Louisville, Kentucky, USA. June 10-12, 2010. The “City of Possibilities,” has been selected as the designation for the 2010 conference of the Glass Art Society. As the host city, Louisville embodies the inventiveness and creativity that make glass art flourish as a medium. The largest city in the state was selected because ingenuity and possibility are its trademarks. The nascent but burgeoning glass scene in Louisville offers an opportunity for individual and community growth rivaled by few other locales.


Punty Talk

October 4, 2009

The egg punty.

The egg punty.

By Blaise Campbell

One of the first, big issues is making sure you have the right size punty for the right size piece. The most common problem people have when beginning is using a standard punty for really small pieces. It’s a good idea to have really small punties for really small, one or two gather pieces. A lot of people just starting out don’t have small enough punties, so it’s really good to have a little cup punty for doing tiny things. The same goes with bigger pieces. The standard pipe/punty combination found in most shops is good for medium range work. Every good glass blower has a whole range of punties and pipes to match the occasion, which not only depends on the size but also the weight of the work being attempted.

Ok, what’s next… gathering right. What I often do when teaching beginners is to emphasize really good gathering to make a punty, to barely, or if possible not, touch the glass. I like to call this the egg punty.  It’s a simple version of a standard punty also called a dome punty. You should be able to make a reasonably good punty just by gathering. Shaping, either at the marver or at the bench, can help you tailor the punty to specific kinds of needs.

Blaise Campbell is a self described “itinerant journeyman glassblower and raconteur”. His glassblowing journey began as a student at what was then called Sheridan College School of Craft and Design in 1987.  Between then and now he has travelled throughout North America and abroad as an instructor, visiting artist, or glassblower for hire. He has been a glass studio resident at the Harbourfront Center, a Fellow of the Creative Glass Center of America and an Emerging Artist in Residence at the Pilchuck Glass School and glass blowing instructor at Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning.



Artist Account How To

October 1, 2009

Here is a little walk through on how to use your new artist directory account.

Before getting started make sure that you have all of your information and images are ready.

All images need to be RGB (CMYK won’t show up in the site), 72 dpi, .jpg and no smaller than 710px wide.

Your cv for upload should be in word format.  That’s a .doc file.  If you are using a new version of MS Word (saves as .docx) you should use your “save as” command and save a .doc

Requirements to use the artist directory admin are:

The latest version of Safari, Internet Explorer or Firefox (we highly recommend using Firefox for its security and stability)

If you are having problems logging in to your account, editing etc.  Please update your browser.


Wilderness Glass by David James

Many thanks to David James and Emma Quinn and the Ontario Craft Council for permission to reprint this article which first appeared in the Spring/Summer 2009 issue of Studio Magazine.

Kevin Lockau Coyotes

Kevin Lockau, Behavioral Studies of Tolerance, 2009. Sandcast glass, concrete, steel. 56 cm x 86 cm x 28 cm per coyote. Forged steel by Duerst. Photo: T.H. Wall, Studio 105 Photography.

Kevin Lockau, winner of this year’s Saidye Bronfman Award, creates art that is rough, uncompromising and very, very Canadian.

Kevin Lockau lives in a rugged wilderness that is iconically Canadian. His home sits atop the Canadian Shield. As a glass artist, he would love to have been alive a billion years ago, to stir the molten volcanic flows and fold them under with extreme pressure and then let glacial cold work gouge, push and reveal the rough beauty that envelopes his home at Hybla, north of Bancroft, Ontario.

The bedrock and its forest have always been grist for Lockau, who in late March received the Saidye Bronfman Award for Excellence in Fine Crafts, Canada’s foremost distinction for excellence in visual arts. The award is presented annually by the Governor General at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. “I’m honoured and humbled,” says Lockau, who quips that some of the $25,000 prize will go towards fixing a leaky roof.

The Saidye Bronfman award recognizes Kevin’s singular talent, both as an artist and an educator. He taught cold working and hot casting for some 20 years at Sheridan College and has lectured on art and glass throughout Europe and North America. When Sir Sanford Fleming College introduced a glass blowing program at its Haliburton School of the Arts, Lockau was on its founding advisory committee and taught there for three years. He has exhibited internationally and his cast works, some of which use techniques unlike those of any other artist, are on display in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Musée des Arts Decoratifs in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Lockau won the Best of Show Award at the 1985 Canadian Glass Conference. Numerous national and international awards and scholarships have followed that first award.

Prominent glass art collectors, Anna and Joe Mendel of Montréal, admire Lockau’s work for its “substance, language, meaning, and its social and historical commentary about what we are doing to our earth.”

Kevin, born in 1956 in Halifax, fondly recalls looking forward to “more trees and more hills” during his family’s summer pilgrimages from the naval base to his grandparents’ riding stable in Kitchener. As a Cub and then a Queen scout, summer camp gave him further immersion in nature.

When he was fifteen, his family moved to Kitchener and Lockau had his horse year round. With the hope of becoming a veterinarian, he later enrolled in the Agricultural College at University of Guelph. Admittedly “not a good student,” he graduated with a general B.Sc. in animal science. He immediately found a job at a nearby industrial hog operation. While he liked working and living on the hog farm, after four years he left to pursue painting, which had come to consume his evenings.

Kevin Lockau, Breath - Inhale, 2007. Sandcast glass, Lake Superior sand and stone, oak. 178 cm x 53 cm x 36 cm. Photo: T.H. Wall, Studio 105 Photography.

Kevin Lockau, Breath - Inhale, 2007. Sandcast glass, Lake Superior sand and stone, oak. 178 cm x 53 cm x 36 cm. Photo: T.H. Wall, Studio 105 Photography.

In 1982, Lockau entered the Ontario College of Art with a goal: become an illustrator. Instructor Stuart Werle quickly turned him on to 3D design and sculpture but he became intrigued with glass when he saw second year student Alfred Engerer ladling glass into a sand mould at a college open house. The next year, Lockau was one of nine students vying for one of eight spots in the glass program. The part-time program head, Karl Schantz, reviewed everyone’s sketchbooks. Lockau made the cut and entered his future.

“It was a cauldron of talented people given free rein. We weren’t shown how to blow glass. Schantz came over from his own studio about one day per week. We were doing experimental arts, gaining experience with glass, welding and foundry work.”

Lockau’s first formal commission came while he was a student. It is a clear, colourless piece that he blew into a plaster mould to create the form of a barn. He painted on black text that describes the clash between city and rural ethics. Kevin chuckles as he recalls that it was for the head office of McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada.

Transparent, flame-polished, colourful variations of blown vessels represent an aesthetic that never appealed to Lockau. “It’s just not me. I’m the kind of guy who likes to dig in the earth, get shit on my hands. That appeals to my sensibility.” His first sculpture was window glass fused over a shard of quartzite rock from the Canadian Shield. Unwittingly, it became a combination that now preoccupies him.

After graduation, Lockau taught part-time at Sheridan College and started a four-year residency at the Harbourfront Glass Studio, an important incubator for many Canadian glass blowers. “Being a part-time instructor gave me the financial freedom to experiment, to take risks not possible when running a business. The best thing to do is teach or pump gas!” He taught, used the facilities and took advantage of free time to broaden his experience.

Lockau sought out opportunities to grow through collaboration. In 1987, he attended the Pilchuck Glass School, north of Seattle, Washington, where artists from around the world come together to share their knowledge and experiment with masters. Lockau spent four summers with groundbreaking innovators such as the doyens of Czech casting, the husband-and-wife team Stanislav Libensky and Jaroslava Brychtova, and the Swedish sand caster, Bertil Vallien. Lockau says the experience greatly expanded his appreciation for “what the casting process could do.”

A similar transformation came during a month-long stone-carving symposium with the Inuit of Iqaluit on Baffin Island in 2000. Previously, he focused mostly on relief carving and kept it separate from his glasswork. “I now started thinking in 3D for the sculptural stone pieces, and that’s when the two materials came together.”

A Christmas casting course critique at Sheridan created another artistic breakthrough. He volunteered his own pieces for discussion. Encouraged by his openness, the students enthusiastically told him to “go big or go home!” back to his studio and make it happen. That was when “what looked like road kill came to life” as timber wolves and coyotes. The life-size sculptures consist of solid cast or sand blown hollow pieces. The voids may contain pieces of pink insulation to resemble flesh. Tufts of dark hair stand out eerily from black areas. “The series challenges people to consider their relationship with the animals,” Lockau explains.

“The effect is hauntingly provocative”, says Megan Lafrenière, co-owner of the Ottawa glass gallery, Lafrenière & Pai Gallery. “The animals have become signature works.”

Lockau has developed a casting process that mimics the creation of the Canadian Shield. Drawing on forays into the bush and further afield, he brings back rocks, gravel, coloured sands and organic material. They go into works that “express the idea of the earth as a living other, which is in part our own skin of existence,” Lockau says, adding, “they are not landscape portraits.”

Kevin Lockau, Bustards, 2007. Sandcast glass, concrete, forged steel, wood. 30 cm x 76 cm x 20 cm. Photo: T.H. Wall, Studio 105 Photography.

Kevin Lockau, Bustards, 2007. Sandcast glass, concrete, forged steel, wood. 30 cm x 76 cm x 20 cm. Photo: T.H. Wall, Studio 105 Photography.

Kevin has given them titles such as Breath – Inhale, Conception, Resurrection, Annunciation and Do Unto Others. He acknowledges these appear to have Christian origins, yet for him the sculptures strongly suggest “spiritual animism.”

Concerned about the environmental impact of creating glass art, Lockau uses the dirty glass dregs at the bottom of crucibles. Instead of throwing it out, “molten glass is ladled onto piles of coloured sands and rocks that are scooped up with shovels and unceremoniously dumped onto each other in a rocking olivine sand mould. Mixing sticks flare like torches. The air is filled with steam, smoke and the stench of hot sands.”

Lockau’s use-or-abuse of glass is atypical. “I use qualities of glass that most people do not play with: the molten flow, the cracks from internal tensions, bubbles and the effects of burning out foreign materials.” The result “is no clubhouse sandwich with everything parallel!” When it cools, Kevin flips the piece onto the studio floor. “Loose sand falls away to reveal beautiful folding and fluidity!” Then the cutting, polishing and assembly of his final sculptures begin.

Elena Lee of Montreal, owner of the eponymous glass gallery, which is the oldest in Canada, says, “Kevin Lockau’s work is the most Canadian of Canadians. His represents the land like no other. It’s rough and uncompromising as is the country itself.”

Author David James is a sculptor and cast glass artist. Lafreniere & Pai Gallery nominated Lockau for this year’s Saidye Bronfman Award.

For more information visit:


Katherine Gray talks about ‘Forest Glass’

Katherine Gray talks about her installation ‘Forest Glass’ that was part of her exhibition “It’s a Very Deadly Weapon to Know What You’re Doing,” her first solo show at Acuna-Hansen Gallery in Los Angeles earlier this year.


Espace VERRE, vingt-cinq années vraiment bien remplies par Léopold L. Foulem

Carole Frève, Balançoire no1. (2007), verre soufflé, thermoformé et électroplaqué, cuivre. Crédit Michel Dubreuil.

Carole Frève, Balançoire no1. (2007), verre soufflé, thermoformé et électroplaqué, cuivre. Crédit Michel Dubreuil.

Une ancienne caserne de pompiers désaffectée située quelque part entre deux ponts dans une zone semi-industrielle est depuis vingt-cinq ans un laboratoire effervescent consacré au verre d’art. Ici, on préconise un système où l’élève et la matière, l’expérimentation et l’apprentissage sont au centre de l’exercice. Cette confrontation continuelle entre le savoir et le faire, le pourquoi et le comment, alimente et renouvelle constamment le processus créatif. Processus encadré par un souci de transmission rigoureuse de connaissances spécifiques à la discipline.

On apprend et expérimente lors du programme de formation de trois ans diverses méthodes de fabrication d’objets variés en verre. Ceux-ci s’inscrivent dans des créneaux qui vont de la pièce utilitaire aux œuvres d’expression libre, du verre soufflé au thermoformage par exemple.

Loin d’être bucolique, le lieu est néanmoins plus que convenable, efficace : les nombreux ateliers propres, méticuleusement propres, et adéquatement équipés occupent trois étages. Une galerie et des vitrines où se succèdent des expositions, ainsi qu’une bibliothèque spécialisée bien garnie s’ajoutent au complexe immobilier autosuffisant pour l’enseignement de cet art du feu.

La diffusion des travaux exécutés par les élèves diplômés constitue un aspect essentiel de la formation offerte à Espace VERRE. En plus d’être présentées régulièrement dans les vitrines destinées à cette fin et dans la galerie de l’institution, presque chaque année leurs œuvres sont exposées dans des milieux professionnels reconnus, galeries d’art ou centres d’artistes, rendant tout à fait concrets les liens production et marketing.

Donald Robertson, Miel. (2007), Pâte de cristal et cire perdue, (dimensions 34 x 41 x 37 cm). Crédit : Donald Robertson

Donald Robertson, Miel. (2007), Pâte de cristal et cire perdue, (dimensions 34 x 41 x 37 cm). Crédit : Donald Robertson

À Montréal, l’existence depuis trente-trois ans d’une galerie commerciale consacrée principalement à la promotion et à la diffusion du verre d’art constitue un atout important qui a soutenu et influencé cette discipline. N’oublions pas que plusieurs enseignants et diplômés de chez Espace VERRE font partie des artistes représentés par la Galerie Elena Lee. Non négligeables non plus sont les collections de verre en montre au Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal et particulièrement les espaces consacrées aux œuvres contemporaines. Ces lieux sont des sources opportunes où peuvent puiser les verriers et qui surtout valorisent la discipline aux yeux du grand public.

Conçu dès son origine comme un site d’expérimentation et d’apprentissage par François-Houdé et Ronald Labelle, des fondateurs visionnaires, Espace VERRE est heureusement resté fidèle à sa mission originale et a aussi élargi son mandat considérablement. Non seulement est-il une école atelier exemplaire, mais aussi il s’agit depuis son origine d’un pôle majeur d’échanges constants entre maîtres et élèves, entre résidents locaux et visiteurs étrangers, entre artisans et artistes. Une source d’émulation continuelle tout à fait bienfaisante et excitante. Il s’agit sans doute de la facette la plus remarquable du programme pédagogique développé, amélioré et soutenu sans réserve par l’école tout au long de son existence. La participation des élèves et des professeurs à des symposiums internationaux est courante et encouragée.

Lorsque l’on considère le corpus d’œuvres fabriquées par le groupe de maîtres verriers tous praticiens qui enseignent ici, la caractéristique première qui s’en dégage est la contemporanéité des démarches. Actuelles et compétentes, elles s’insèrent parfaitement dans le panorama du verre international d’aujourd’hui, qu’il s’agisse des sculptures à caractère mythologique de Donald Robertson, des intégrations à l’architecture de Michèle Lapointe, ou des formes de contenants sculpturaux en techniques mixtes de Carole Frève. La gamme de leurs réalisations est variée ce qui offre aux élèves de nombreuses possibilités quant à leurs propres interventions plastiques.

Susan Edgerley, Unfurl (2008). Verre façonné à la flamme (dimensions H : 168 cm x 213 cm largeur x 13 cm pro). Crédit Michel Dubreuil

Susan Edgerley, Unfurl (2008). Verre façonné à la flamme (dimensions H : 168 cm x 213 cm largeur x 13 cm pro). Crédit Michel Dubreuil

Unique en Amérique du Nord, l’atelier Fusion créé par Susan Edgerley, est réservé aux diplômés du programme, un lieu particulier voué à soutenir la relève en simulant une expérience de production, de mise en marché et de recherches formelles variées.

À ce jour, cent vingt-deux élèves ont terminé leurs périodes d’études pratiques exigées, dont quatre-vingt-neuf femmes et trente-trois hommes. Autre statistique intéressante et tout à fait concluante, soixante-trois d’entre eux, soit presque la moitié des diplômés, sont toujours actifs à temps plein ou partiel. La jeune génération se distingue notamment à l’étranger par les Sylvie Bélanger, Maude Bussières, Annie Cantin, Carole Frève, Catherine Labonté, Patrick Primeau, Stephen Pon, Cathy Strokowsky, pour ne nommer que ceux-là.

Par ailleurs, chaque année des maîtres-verriers sont invités à transmettre leur connaissance lors de stages de perfectionnement réservés aux verriers professionnels. Venus du Canada anglais, des États-Unis, d’Europe, d’Australie; comme Lino Tagiapietta d’Italie, David Reekie d’Angleterre, ou Philip Baldwin de Suisse. Ils ont tous séjourné à Espace VERRE afin d’animer des « master classes » de haut calibre.

Cette ouverture sur le monde, peut-être devrait-on écrire les mondes, est la base de la formation atypique offerte ici. Ce modèle pédagogique dynamique a emprunté, entre autres, certaines pratiques didactiques au niveau d’enseignement supérieur américain, et donne des résultats étonnants, vingt-cinq ans de surprises et de succès louables.

Un quart de siècle de cheminement mérite manifestement d’être souligné et célébré  Cette réussite impose également un regard objectif sur le futur si la mission de l’école veut demeurer pertinente. L’obsolescence guette tout programme d’enseignement s’il est laissé à lui-même.

Michèle Lapointe, Alice, Lorina, Édith et les autres (2006) détail, verre soufflé et photographies. Crédit René Rioux

Michèle Lapointe, Alice, Lorina, Édith et les autres (2006) détail, verre soufflé et photographies. Crédit René Rioux

La virtuosité est un atout  irréfutable. Malgré cela, elle peut devenir un handicap si la prouesse technique s’impose comme raison d’être principale de l’œuvre. Dans une telle éventualité, celle-ci perdrait malheureusement son âme.

Un grand défi déterminera l’avenir du verre d’art au Québec et d’Espace VERRE. C’est qu’après une formation solide où l’acquisition d’un savoir-faire basé sur l’émulation est prioritaire, il faudrait absolument que les protagonistes puissent et soient incités désormais à élargir leurs univers spécifiques dans un environnement  universitaire, afin que les prochaines décennies débordent non seulement de créativité, mais aussi d’innovations.

Léopold Foulem est reconnu pour ses talents d’éducateur, de rédacteur, de conférencier et par-dessus tout d’artiste. Il a reçu le prix national Jean A. Chalmers de métiers d’art en 1998, et le Prix Saydie Bronfman en 2001. En 2003, il recevait le prestigieux prix culturel Acadien. Il est parmi les premiers céramistes canadiens présent dans les collections du Victoria And Albert Museum de Londres, en Angleterre, et du Musée Gardiner. Il partage son temps entre sa ville natale de Caraquet au Nouveau-Brunswick et Montréal, et un horaire bien rempli d’expositions internationales.

Espace VERRE rénove actuellement son bâtiment et recevra le congrès de l’Association du verre d’art canadien en 2010, tandis que les musées montréalais présenteront d’avril à décembre 2010 des expositions sur le thème du verre. 2010, Montréal, ville de verre.


Galerie Elena Lee at SOFA Chicago 2009

A Visual Tour by Tanya Lyons

2371 Rte. Principale, Lachute, QC  J8H 3W7