From -40 to +40: Canucks Down Under

May 1, 2011

By Chris Boha


As I drive down the left side of the road, without thinking about it by now, on my way to the petrol station, that I still refer to as a gas station every now and again, to fill up the ute, which I have finally stopped calling a truck, my thoughts drift back to past Canadian winters. The sound of snow crunching underfoot, the sparkle of sunlight reflecting off the surface of freshly fallen snow (then having to shovel it) … the unforgiving feeling of a frozen car seat at 40 below (47 below with a wind-chill) … yes, I grew up in Saskatchewan … and yes that’s Celsius for any Australians reading this.

Just to clarify, it’s not that I miss enduring months and months of winter each year, but having been in Australia for over two years now and with our first child on the way and, as such, having no plans for leaving anytime soon, I find myself reflecting on my childhood and life back in Canada. Now this winter reminiscence is not to say that I don’t miss many other things about the Canadian landscape or, conversely, that I don’t love many things about the Australian landscape, because I do:  the lush colour of green that so many Canadian plants possess – differing completely to the grey-green of many hearty native Australian plants, the sights and sounds of glacial rivers running down into aqua blue lakes just inside the magnificent Rocky Mountains, now contrasted by the deep red of the sprawling Australian outback … with an endless list of others.


Artist: Julia Reimer Title: Red Ripe Dimensions: 180 X 180 mm Photo: John Dean

I guess it’s just that winter is about as far from the deserts, beaches and outdoor living of Australia as it gets and, as such, the shared knowledge and experience of winter is something foreign to the average Australian. It is an experience that can only be shared and understood through experience and therefore is largely meaningless to individuals for whom freezing cold is plus 1, who cannot possibly fathom minus 30 or 40. This frigid and frozen shared winter knowledge is part of what makes us Canadian … the part that makes up about 7 months a year!

But regardless of the many differences between Australians and Canadians, there is an enduring connection and mutual interest in “the other” that exists between these two populations, one surely founded in our shared experiences and understandings of colonial and indigenous pasts as well as in similar spatial and geological understandings of distance and population. Combine this connection and interest with a closely connected community – such as the international glass community – and you have the perfect building blocks for a strong bridge between two vibrant and engaged communities.


Artist: Tyler Rock Title: Vestige Dimensions: 180 X 160 X 150 mm Photo: John Dean

Although Canada has a close and relatively connected glass community as well as great educational glass programs such as programs at the Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD), Espace Verre and Sheridan College, it lacks key educational opportunities such as a Masters or PhD program in glass. Due to this fact, Canadian glass artists wanting to undertake a masters program must leave the country … and Australia, having three universities with post grad glass programs, four up till a few months ago, and a well deserved international reputation for high quality glass, not to mention warm weather, beaches and some of the most unique animals in the world, is an obvious choice for consideration.

One of the first Canadian/Australian glass education connections I knew about was Natali Rodrigues a Canadian glass artist who graduated with her Masters from the Australian National University (ANU). Natali has gone on to teach at ACAD in Calgary and is the current head of the glass department there.

Artist: Natali Rodrigues Title: Proximity and Touch, # 1 Dimensions: Larger: 180 x 320 x 70 mm Smaller: 550 x 90 x 450 mm Materials: Cast, hot Formed and cold worked Photo: Ward Bastian

Around the same time that Natali was attending ANU, I was enrolled as an undergraduate in the glass program at ACAD, still trying to figure out the mysteries of attaching a punty and then getting it back off again WITHOUT breaking the bottom out of my work!! In my third year at ACAD, Fleur Schell, a visiting ceramic artist from Western Australia arrived at ACAD to teach for a year.  While she was there, she mentioned the glass program at the Jam Factory in Adelaide. For those unfamiliar with the Jam Factory, it is a training and public access facility specializing in Glass, Metals (Jewellery), Furniture and Ceramics as well as housing two galleries and a retail outlet. The glass area runs a 2-year intensive training associate-ship where the associates work with established artists on commissions as well as their own work, building both design and technical skills. As far as I know, there is no other program like it in the world. The Jam Factory has been a significant cornerstone in the establishment of not only the Adelaide glass scene but also the Australian glass scene as a whole.


Artist: Christine Cholewa Title: F1 Hybrid Materials: hand blown glass, kiln formed, etched, spray paint Dimensions: 1200 x 900 x 30mm Photo: Michael Haines

Canadian glass artist, Christine Cholewa, started what many Aussies now refer to as the “Canadian invasion” of Adelaide. She arrived in Adelaide in 2004 as an associate of the Jam Factory and spent the next two years involved in the local glass scene. As a graduate of ACAD, Christine assisted in the connections that helped to bring Australian glass artist and head of the University of South Australia’s (UniSA) glass program, Gabriella Bisetto, to ACAD as a visiting artist in 2006, where Tyler Rock, Julia Reimer, Jaan Poldaas and myself first met her. The same year I met Quebec glassblowers Caroline Ouellette and Patrick Primeau, as well as New Zealand glass caster Emma Camden at the GAAC Conference in Red Deer. Over the next two years, I became good friends with Caroline and Patrick, visiting them in their Montreal-based studio many times as well as keeping in contact with Emma and talking about the possibility of coming to work with her in New Zealand.


Artist: Caroline Ouellette Title: Pomona Materials: pate de verre and flameworked glass Dimensions: 1250 x 250 x 220 mm Photo: Michel Dubreuil

In 2008, I received an Alberta Foundation for the Arts grant to study more intensive casting techniques with Emma Camden in New Zealand and, as this coincided with the end of a teaching contract at ACAD as well as the end of my studio lease, I decided to turn my intended one month trip into a six month trip. So, in January of 2008, I left Canada and arrived in New Zealand, spending three amazing months working with Emma Camden, her partner David Murray and their two fantastic children Lola and Miro. I then reluctantly left New Zealand and through connections to Christine, a fellow ACAD graduate, and Gabriella, who I met on her 2006 residency at ACAD, I found myself with a three-month residency at UniSA in Adelaide.


Artist: Patrick's Primeau Untitled (Urchin series) Materials: blown glass Dimensions 300 x 300 x 300 mm Photo: Michel Dubreuil

Before leaving I had applied to a couple of Masters programs in the U.S. and later found out I was accepted into the Ohio State program, but after three months in Adelaide I was hooked! I fell in love with the city, the weather and the glass community (one member in particular).  So when I arrived back in Canada, I immediately started my application for the Masters program at UniSA and after a long seven months, I was back in Adelaide enrolled in the Masters by research.  This was only one week after Jaan Poldaas had arrived to take up his associate position at the Jam Factory! What a small world it is when you are a part of the glass community!

I feel lucky to count Tyler Rock, Julia Reimer, Caroline Ouellette, Patrick Primeau and Jaan Poldaas among my friends. Tyler taught Christine, Jaan and myself at ACAD, as well as had all of us assisting, at one time or another, in his and Julia’s studio, Firebrand Glass, in Black Diamond, Alberta. Years later, with much help and encouragement from Tyler, I went on to teach alongside him at ACAD. So when I heard he was looking to taking his Masters and was considering UniSA, I was excited.


Artist: Jaan Poldaas Title: Eclipse Materials: blown glass Dimension: 350 x 450 x 600 mm Photo: Michael Haines

Now, deciding where to undertake your Masters is not an easy decision, with many pros and cons to weigh up and measure. While facilities, staff and academic rigor are high on the list, wanting to actually live where the university is located is also high on the list of criteria. This is a fantastic selling point for UniSA, because what it lacks in facilities compared to some of the large American programs, it makes up for in more-than-adequate facilities, fantastic staff, high academic rigor, and the Adelaide glass community itself. I believe all of these factors were important considerations for Tyler and Caroline when deciding which school to attend in Australia, not to mention the vibrant glass community.  The weather and beaches were probably very important considerations for Julia and Patrick as well.


Artist: Gabriella Bisetto Title: The Ocean Within Materials: blow and hot cast glass Dimensions: 2000 x 700 mm Photo: Grant Hancock

Now it is all too easy to paint romantic notions of Australian beaches, warm weather and kangaroos hopping around the outback, but as with any situations there are ups and downs. After having taken my undergrad in Canada, visited schools in the U.S. and now been enrolled at UniSA for over two years, I believe that Canada has one of the best undergrad programs I have ever come across. Unfortunately, the trajectory for the Australian undergrad in the arts is woefully spiralling down with class sizes increasing and facilities, teaching hours and access to equipment decreasing. To make a comparison based on personal observations, the students at ACAD have half the class sizes, double the facilities, double the teaching time and double the amount of teaching and technical staff. I personally believe this to be due to the art schools in Australia being absorbed by universities, while their counterparts in Canada remain independent institutions. Art schools, and glass programs in particular, require an inordinate amount of facilities to train a comparatively small number of students.  You can’t teach jewellery, glass or ceramics to a hundred students in a lecture hall and, unfortunately, when you start looking at profit margins, this is a consideration of most universities.


Artist: Chris Boha Title: 24 weeks Materials: blown glass, newspaper, wood Dimensions: 1500 x 1200 x 3300 mm Photo: Chris Boha

On the other hand, what Australian universities do well at is post-grad programs. With their focus and funding aimed at research, their Masters by Research and PhD programs are academically rigorous and well recognized, balancing the production of art with academic and theoretical rigour.

So if you’re thinking about continuing glass education, or even just a glass-related holiday, maybe you should consider a trip down-under!

It’s a beautiful sunny day and I’m off for a surf.  Then we’re going to throw some shrimp on the barbie!  Well, actually, I can’t surf and no one here calls them shrimp!  And, unfortunately, being enrolled in the PhD program means that I have far too much work to do to go to the beach!

Related links:

De – 40 à + 40 : Canadiens en Australie

Par Chris Boha

Traduit par Caroline Ouellette

Sans même y penser, je conduis sur le côté gauche de la route vers la station de « pétrole » que j’appelle encore parfois station d’essence. Je vais y faire le plein du « ute » (expression australienne pour camionnette) que j’ai finalement arrêté de nommer truck. Mes pensées dérivent alors vers mes hivers passés au Canada. Le son de la neige qui crisse sous mes pas, les étincelles des rayons de soleil qui se reflètent sur la surface de la neige fraîchement tombée (et qui devra être pelletée), l’impardonnable sensation d’un siège de voiture gelé à – 40° (- 47° avec le facteur vent)… Et oui, j’ai grandi en Saskatchewan… et oui, pour les Australiens qui liront ceci, ces degrés sont bien en Celsius.

Afin de mettre les choses au clair, ce n’est pas d’endurer des mois et des mois d’hiver à chaque année qui me manque. Mais après avoir passé plus de deux ans en Australie et avec notre premier enfant à naître, et sans aucun plan de départ, dans un avenir immédiat, je repense à mon enfance et à ma vie au Canada. Cette réminiscence de l’hiver ne veut pas dire que je ne m’ennuie pas de plusieurs autres choses du paysage canadien, ou que je n’aime pas le paysage australien, parce que ce n’est pas le cas. Les verts luxuriants de plusieurs plantes canadiennes diffèrent complètement des gris-vert des copieuses plantes indigènes australiennes. La vision et les sons des rivières glacées se déversant dans des lacs bleu turquoise, au cœur des magnifiques montagnes Rocheuses, contrastent maintenant avec les rouges profonds de l’étendue de la campagne australienne. Ces choses font partie d’une liste infinie de différence.

Artist: Julia Reimer Title: Red Ripe Dimensions: 180 X 180 mm Photo: John Dean

Je sais que la connaissance et l’expérience de l’hiver sont étrangères à l’Australien moyen parce que l’hiver est à l’extrême opposé des déserts, des plages et de la vie dans la campagne australienne. Cette connaissance ne peut être partagée et comprise qu’à travers son expérience et elle est donc insensée pour des individus pour qui un froid de canard équivaut à + 1°, et qui ne peuvent probablement pas comprendre – 30° ou – 40°C. Cette connaissance intime de l’hiver frigorifiant et glacial est, en partie, ce qui fait de nous des Canadiens pendant sept mois de l’année!

Bien qu’il y ait plusieurs différences entre les Australiens et les Canadiens, il existe un lien durable et un intérêt mutuel dans l’autre. Ce lien entre les deux populations est certainement fondé sur le partage d’une expérience et la connaissance d’un passé colonial, ainsi qu’une compréhension spatiale et géographique similaire des distances et des populations indigènes. En combinant ce lien et cet intérêt avec une communauté tissée serrée, comme celle des verriers internationaux, vous obtenez les fondations parfaites pour construire un pont solide entre deux communautés vibrantes et engagées.


Artist: Tyler Rock Title: Vestige Dimensions: 180 X 160 X 150 mm Photo: John Dean

Quoique la communauté canadienne de verriers soit liée et relativement bien connectée et qu’il y ait de très bons programmes d’études de premier cycle en verre comme ceux du Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD), d’Espace VERRE et du Sheridan College, il manque, par contre, des programmes d’éducation supérieure de maîtrise et de doctorat. Étant donné ce manque, les artistes verriers canadiens voulant entreprendre une maîtrise doivent quitter le pays. L’Australie, avec trois programmes universitaires d’études supérieures en verre (quatre jusqu’à tout récemment) s’est bâtie une réputation dans le monde du verre, bien méritée et de qualité. Tout cela, sans mentionner la température clémente, les plages et quelques-uns des animaux les plus étranges de la planète, parmi les choix évidents à prendre en considération.

À ma connaissance, Natali Rodrigues est l’une des premières artistes verrier canadiennes à avoir fait un lien entre le Canada et l’Australie en complétant ses études supérieures en verre à la maîtrise à l’Australian National University (ANU). Natali enseigne et dirige maintenant le département du verre à l’ACAD.

Artist: Natali Rodrigues Title: Proximity and Touch, # 1 Dimensions: Larger: 180 x 320 x 70 mm Smaller: 550 x 90 x 450 mm Materials: Cast, hot Formed and cold worked Photo: Ward Bastian

Pendant que Natali étudiait à ANU, je me suis inscrit au programme de verre à l’ACAD. J’essayai alors de démystifier la manière de mettre une pièce sur un pontil pour ensuite la détacher sans en arracher le fond ! Au cours de ma 3e année à l’ACAD, Fleur Schell, une artiste de l’Australie occidentale, est venue en résidence à l’ACAD pour enseigner la céramique pendant un an. Lors de son séjour, elle a mentionné le programme de verre à Jam Factory à Adélaïde. Pour ceux qui ne sont pas familier avec Jam Factory, c’est un lieu qui intègre deux galeries, une boutique et un atelier public qui offre un programme d’apprentissage spécialisé en verre, en joaillerie, en ébénisterie et en céramique. Durant ce programme intensif de deux ans, les apprentis travaillent pour réaliser des commandes spéciales pour Jam Factory. Ils assistent également des artistes reconnus, tout en développant à la fois leurs habiletés techniques et leur sens du design. Autant que je sache, il n’y a pas d’autre programme de ce genre dans le monde. Jam Factory a été un point tournant dans l’établissement de la bonne réputation du verre provenant non seulement d’Adélaïde mais de toute l’Australie.

Artist: Christine Cholewa Title: F1 Hybrid Materials: hand blown glass, kiln formed, etched, spray paint Dimensions: 1200 x 900 x 30mm Photo: Michael Haines

L’artiste verrier canadienne, Christine Cholewa, a été l’instigatrice de ce que plusieurs Australiens appellent maintenant « l’invasion canadienne » d’Adélaïde. Elle est arrivée en 2004 pour être apprentie à Jam Factory où elle s’est impliquée pendant deux ans dans la communauté du verre. Diplômée de l’ACAD, Christine a facilité le lien avec Gabriella Bisetto, artiste verrier australienne et directrice du département de verre de la University of South Australia (UniSA), pour qu’elle vienne à l’ACAD en tant qu’artiste en résidence en 2006. C’est à ce moment que Tyler Rock, Julia Reimer, Jaan Poldaas et moi-même l’avons rencontrée. Cette même année au congrès du GAAC à Red Deer, j’ai rencontré Caroline Ouellette et Patrick Primeau, deux souffleurs de verre québécois, ainsi qu’Emma Camden, une néo-zélandaise qui fait de la pâte de verre. Durant les deux années suivantes, je me suis lié d’amitié avec Caroline et Patrick, leur rendant visite plusieurs fois à leur atelier près de Montréal tout en gardant contact avec Emma afin de discuter de la possibilité de venir travailler avec elle en Nouvelle-Zélande.

Artist: Caroline Ouellette Title: Pomona Materials: pate de verre and flameworked glass Dimensions: 1250 x 250 x 220 mm Photo: Michel Dubreuil

En 2008, j’ai reçu une bourse de la Alberta Fondation for the Arts pour approfondir mes connaissances en pâte de verre avec Emma Camden en Nouvelle-Zélande. Comme cela coïncidait avec la fin de mon contrat d’enseignement à l’ACAD ainsi qu’avec la fin du bail de location de mon atelier, j’ai décidé de transformer mon voyage d’un mois en un voyage de six mois. J’ai donc quitté le Canada en janvier 2008 vers la Nouvelle-Zélande, où j’ai passé trois mois incroyables à travailler avec Emma Camden, son partenaire David Murray et leurs deux fantastiques enfants, Lola et Miro. À contrecœur, j’ai quitté la Nouvelle-Zélande et par le biais de Christine Cholewa, une camarade de classe à l’ACAD, et de Gabriella Bisetto, que j’avais rencontrée lors de sa résidence à l’ACAD en 2006, j’ai obtenu une place d’artiste en résidence à l’UniSA à Adélaïde pendant trois mois.

Artist: Patrick's Primeau Untitled (Urchin series) Materials: blown glass Dimensions 300 x 300 x 300 mm Photo: Michel Dubreuil


Avant mon départ du Canada, je m’étais inscrit à différents programmes de maîtrise aux États-Unis et j’ai été accepté au programme de la Ohio State University. Mais après trois mois à Adélaïde, j’étais accroché! Je suis tombé amoureux de la ville, de la température et de la communauté (et plus particulièrement d’une personne). Donc, dès mon retour au Canada, j’ai immédiatement soumis une demande d’inscription au programme de maîtrise à l’UniSA. Après sept longs mois d’attente, j’étais de retour à Adélaïde, inscrit au programme de maîtrise par recherche. Mon retour s’est effectué la semaine suivant l’arrivée de Jaan Poldaas, collègue de l’ACAD, en tant qu’apprenti à Jam Factory. Le monde est vraiment petit lorsque l’on fait partie de la communauté du verre.

Je suis chanceux de compter Tyler Rock, Julia Reimer, Caroline Ouellette, Patrick Primeau et Jaan Poldaas parmi mes amis. Tyler m’a enseigné à l’ACAD ainsi qu’à Christine et à Jaan. Nous l’avons tous assisté, à un moment ou à un autre, dans l’atelier Firebrand Glass qu’il partage avec Julia Reimer, à Black Diamond, en Alberta. Après plusieurs années, j’ai enseigné à l’ACAD aux côtés de Tyler qui m’a grandement encouragé et aidé. J’étais donc tout excité en apprenant qu’il cherchait une université où s’inscrire en maîtrise et qu’il considérait sérieusement s’inscrire à l’UniSA!

Artist: Jaan Poldaas Title: Eclipse Materials: blown glass Dimension: 350 x 450 x 600 mm Photo: Michael Haines


Décider où s’inscrire à la maîtrise n’est pas une décision facile car il y a beaucoup de pours et de contres à peser. Les ateliers, le personnel et la rigueur académique sont les premiers critères à considérer mais il faut aussi avoir envie de vivre dans la ville où est située cette université. Ce sont d’excellentes raisons pour faire la promotion de l’UniSA car ce qui manque, comparé aux grandes universités américaines, est compensé par des installations plus qu’adéquate, du personnel fantastique, de la rigueur académique et une communauté de verriers en ébullition à Adélaïde. Je crois que tous ces facteurs ont été décisifs lorsqu’est venu le temps pour Tyler et Caroline de choisir l’université où ils voulaient étudier en Australie. La température et les plages ont probablement été des facteurs importants pour convaincre leurs conjoints Julia et Patrick.

Artist: Gabriella Bisetto Title: The Ocean Within Materials: blow and hot cast glass Dimensions: 2000 x 700 mm Photo: Grant Hancock

Maintenant, c’est très facile de dépeindre une image romantique des plages australiennes, de la température clémente et des kangourous qui sautillent dans la campagne. Mais toute situation a ses hauts et ses bas. Après avoir étudié le verre en premier cycle au Canada, après avoir visité des écoles américaines, après avoir étudié deux ans à l’UniSA, je crois que le Canada offre de meilleurs programmes d’études de premier cycle. Malheureusement, le cheminement des étudiants australiens en premier cycle est en chute libre; le nombre d’étudiants augmente mais l’accès aux installations et aux équipements ainsi que les heures de cours diminuent. Pour faire une comparaison avec l’ACAD, selon mes observations, les classes ont la moitié d’étudiants, le double d’heure d’enseignement, d’enseignants et de personnels techniques par étudiant. Personnellement, je crois que c’est dû au fait qu’en Australie, les écoles d’art sont absorbées par des universités alors qu’au Canada, les écoles de verre restent indépendantes. Les écoles d’art, particulièrement en verre, requièrent des installations dispendieuses pour former un nombre réduit d’étudiants. On ne peut pas enseigner la joaillerie, le verre et la céramique dans un auditorium de cent étudiants, et malheureusement, la marge de profit est trop souvent prise en ligne de compte par la plupart des universités.

Artist: Chris Boha Title: 24 weeks Materials: blown glass, newspaper, wood Dimensions: 1500 x 1200 x 3300 mm Photo: Chris Boha


Les universités australiennes ont de très bons programmes d’études supérieures. Le centre d’intérêt et le financement étant au niveau de la recherche, leurs programmes de maîtrise et de doctorat sont reconnus et ils offrent un équilibre entre la production artistique et la rigueur théorique et académique.

Donc, si vous désirez poursuivre vos études supérieures en verre, ou simplement passer des vacances de verriers, peut-être devriez-vous considérer l’Australie!

C’est une très belle journée ensoleillée et je m’en vais surfer! Ensuite, nous irons jeter quelques crevettes sur le barbecue (barbie : expression australienne)! En fait, je ne sais pas surfer et personne n’appelle ça des crevettes ici (prawns : expression australienne)! Et puis, comme je suis inscrit au doctorat, j’ai malheureusement beaucoup trop de travail pour aller à la plage!

Références :


Community Projects with Stained Glass / Projets communautaires en vitrail

Alejandra Basañes et Guillermo Raynié

Œuvre : Éclair d’identité mauricienne. Vitrail 96 x 119 cm. 2005 (Photo Guy Langevin)

Depuis notre arrivée au Canada, en Mauricie (Québec), nous avons cherché toujours des liens de communication avec notre société d’adoption. Arrivés en 2003 depuis l’Amérique du Sud, nous avions, tel un nouveau-né, tout à découvrir, soit sur les plans personnel, social ou professionnel. Avec une trajectoire déjà amorcée dans notre pays d’origine (Argentine), en vitrail, en arts visuels et avec notre famille, nous avons plongé alors dans une immersion canadienne totale, avec la seule complicité initiale de Gilles Désaulniers, verrier et créateur avec qui nous avions établis contact par courriel.

Éclair d’identité mauricienne. Détail, vitrail en construction.

C’est grâce aux à la bourse du Fonds de la Mauricie pour les arts et les lettres et aux différents partenaires, que nous avons développé des projets communautaires en vitrail en 2005, 2008 et 2010.

D’abord en 2005 nous avons cherché à découvrir l’identité mauricienne. En travaillant avec des enfants d’école primaire nous nous sommes introduits aux contes et légendes de notre région : la Mauricie. Avec ce bagage d’histoires et d’images nous avons créé le vitrail Éclair d’identité mauricienne qui nous a valu une nomination en métiers d’art pour le prix Arts Excellence 2006 de Culture Mauricie. Avec l’idée de faire nos propres verres, le projet s’est déroulé après un stage de travail en Allemagne dans le but d’apprivoiser les techniques de coloration du verre flotté par fusion. Verre à vitrail, verre flotté fusionné, grisaille par sérigraphie et baguette de plomb composent l’œuvre, acquise par la Commission scolaire du Chemin du Roy et installée à la bibliothèque de l’école Jacques-Buteux, partenaire de l’aventure.

Éclair d’identité mauricienne, détail. Verres fusionnés

Suite à ce projet, notre premier en terre canadienne, nous avons été invités par la Conférence régionale des élus de la Mauricie (CRÉ Mauricie) à produire une autre pièce abordant le même sujet, réalisé totalement en verre flotté fusionné. Elle se trouve à la réception de la CRÉ Mauricie.

En 2008 nous nous sommes intéressés à l’accueil que nous offrons aux visiteurs, soient-ils temporaires ou permanents. En partenariat avec le bureau de tourisme de Trois-Rivières et le Comité d’accueil aux Néo-Canadiens de Trois-Rivières, nous avons établi des ponts avec enfants, adolescents et adultes, immigrants, touristes et québécois pure laine, dans le but de mieux connaître les différentes expériences personnelles. Pour la création de l’œuvre Accueil, accueilli, accueillant, nous nous sommes inspirés des sources variées : soit, pour les enfants, par les contes et légendes de ces pays respectifs, soit, pour les adultes, par les faits vécus. Vitrail réalisé aussi avec du verre flotté coloré par fusion et thermoformage, vitrail qui nous a valu une autre nomination en métiers d’art pour le prix Arts Excellence 2008 de Culture Mauricie.

Œuvre : Accueil, accueilli, accueillant. Vitrail 98 x 112 cm. 2007

En 2010 avec Stratégie Carrières comme partenaire (entreprise qui œuvre dans la recherche d’emploi pour des gens en difficulté) nous nous sommes servis du métier du vitrailliste pour introduire les gens au travail en équipe, au défi des nouvelles expériences face à un travail manuel inconnu. Cette fois le travail de création en verre nous a servi pour faire comprendre aux gens qu’on est bien capable de faire des nouvelles expériences dans des champs qu’on ignore et que, même si on est d’origines très diverses, nous sommes toujours capables de travailler en équipe.

Exposition Parcours. Vitraux. Lors du colloque : Itinéraires en métiers d’art. Maison Hertel de la Fresnière, Trois-Rivières. Conseil des métiers d’art du Québec et Regroupement des métiers d’art de la Mauricie. 2009

La somme de ce parcours en vitrail a été reconnue avec le prix Arts Excellence 2010 en métiers d’art octroyé par Culture Mauricie.

Tout ce travail communautaire nous a servi pour apprivoiser notre société d’adoption, pour connaître notre milieu de travail et pour nous établir professionnellement. Il nous a aussi servi pour faire voir le vitrail en dehors de sa scène habituelle : le sacré. À notre surprise, dans la société québécoise, le vitrail est encore fortement associé avec l’église, dans nos projets nous avons mis l’effort pour montrer que ce métier millénaire peut très bien aller ailleurs que dans un bâtiment religieux et qu’il peut aussi bien véhiculer un autre message tout en conservant son coté artistique.

Éclair d’identité mauricienne II. Hall Conférence régional des Élus de la Mauricie. Vitrail 112 x 84 cm. 2008


Alejandra Basañes

Guillermo Raynié

By Alejandra Basañes and Guillermo Raynié

Translation by Sam Kerson and Katah

Flash of Mauritian identity. Stained glass 96 x 119 cm. 2005 (Photo Guy Langevin)

Since our arrival in the Mauricie region of Québec, Canada, we have been looking for ways to interact with our new community.  We arrived from South America in 2003.  We felt like newborns because everything seemed different, both on a personal level and on the social and professional levels.  Back in Argentina, we had already started our journey as a family in the field of stained glass as well as in visual arts.  We now immersed ourselves in Canadian society.   Our only ally was Gilles Désaulniers, a glass worker and artist, with whom we had made contact by e-mail.

Mauritian identity. Detail, stained glass construction.

Thanks to grants supporting arts and literature from the Fonds de la Mauricie, along with other sponsors, we developed community projects using stained glass in 2005, 2008 and 2010.  For the first project in 2005, we wanted to explore the identity of the Mauricie.  We worked with children from primary schools and together we researched the local legends of the Mauricie.  With these stories and images, we created the original stained glass piece called Éclair d’Identité Mauricienne which was nominated, in the artisans’ category, for the Arts Excellence 2006 prize by Culture Mauricie.  We did this project after an internship in Germany where we learned the coloring techniques using fused float glass.  The piece is made of stained glass, fused float glass, silkscreen grisaille and came.  The artwork has been purchased by the Chemin du Roy school board and was installed at the library of the Jacques-Buteux school, which participated as a sponsor of this great adventure.

Mauritian identity, detail. Fused glass

As a result of this project, our first on Canadian soil, we were invited by the Conférence régionale des élus de la Mauricie (CRÉ Mauricie) to produce another piece on the same subject, made entirely of fused float glass.  The piece is exhibited at the entrance of the CRÉ Mauricie building.

In 2008, we became interested in the way we welcome visitors, be they temporary or permanent. We collaborated with the Tourism office in Trois-Rivières and the Trois-Rivières Neo-Canadians Welcome Committee.  We paired children, adolescents, and adults, immigrants and tourists with native Quebecois people; the objective being that everyone’s personal experience would be shared.  In order to create this piece, Accueil, accueilli, accueillant (Welcome, Welcomed, Welcoming), we were inspired by different sources.  For example, for the children we used stories and legends from their respective countries; and for adults, their own experience.  The stained glass was made with fused float glass and thermoforming.  For this artwork, we were nominated in the artisans’ category for the Arts Excellence 2008 Prize by Culture Mauricie.

Welcome, welcome, welcome. Stained glass 98 x 112 cm. 2007

In 2010, with Stratégie Carrières as our partner (this group helps people re-enter the job market), we used our craft as glass artists to introduce the participants to teamwork as well as the challenges we face in this field of hands-on creative production where risks are taken and the outcome is not always known.  This time, we used the work we do with glass to show the people that we are able to have new experiences and that even if we have different histories, we are always able to work together as a team.  The result of this stained glass project was recognized with the Arts Excellence 2010 Prize in the artisans’ category given by Culture Mauricie.

Installation shot, Stained glass. At the conference: Directions in crafts. House of Fresnière Hertel, Trois-Rivieres. Crafts Council of Quebec and Grouping crafts Mauricie. 2009

For us, all this community work has served to give us a chance to get more acquainted with our new community, to get to know our working environment and to become more established professionally.  This work has also given us the opportunity to show the beauty of stained glass outside its usual setting:  the sacred.  To our surprise, in the Quebecois society stained glass is still very much associated with the church, and in our projects we emphasized the fact that this age old craft can very well be placed elsewhere than in a religious building and that it can transmit another message while keeping its artistic integrity.

Mauritian identity. Hall Regional Conference of Elected Representatives in the Mauricie. Stained Glass 112 x 84 cm. 2008

Alejandra Basañes:

Guillermo Raynié:


Shaking Off The World

By Teresa Burrows

Behind our existence lies something else that becomes accessible to us only by shaking off the world.

(Arthur Schopenhauer)

Aborigines believe there has always been a labyrinth of invisible pathways, on the land and in the sky, that trace the footprints of the ancestors and initiate others to the ways of the world.  Where one learns to walk defines the journey. I was born in England but learned to walk in the Australian outback. The Aborigine believe every event, each person’s journey, leaves a record on the land and dreaming has been a way to creation. From the time I was young I was dreaming, and eventually the art in my head found a way to celebrate the paths of my life.

For the most part, art has been the adventure, but not always my path. I have graduated from a BFA program, trained as a printmaker and reclaimed myself as a painter. But after Jackson Beardy (celebrated aboriginal artist) encouraged me to go to his first nation home of Garden Hill to work (1981), the north embraced me and over the years my work – as the cultural programmer at the Friendship Centre, as a probation officer, addictions counsellor and as a mother – informed my dreams with new worlds and through the confidential confessions of others; worlds from the lives of others.

In many cultures, bones are the true storytellers, the original prophets. I have known stories of many reduced to bones, but two surgeries on my back in 1996 left me learning to walk yet again; this time in northern Manitoba.

Teresa Burrows collecting bones, 2009

For years I tried to define myself as an artist separate from my existence in the north. Maybe this northern identity is earned, but I have, in recent years, embraced the north and the media it affords my expression. As usual without a map, I have been wandering blind, as the landscape has taken my work from two dimensions into three, with mixed media and natural found elements.

As a visual artist I spent almost ten years on what I called drawings made up of dots. My paintings were large and complex like tapestries. My photo montages are equally labour-intensive with double exposed, accidently layered and digitally altered images choreographed together to make what I call photo quilts. And somewhere in between, while making elaborate “props” for what I wanted for the photographs and paintings, I realized that my mixed media works were already art. So over the last six years, I have been beading, almost daily, to realize a number of mixed media works. Beadwork has in a way become a new medium for my obsessive-compulsive tendencies.

Raven Ballet - The Unkindness of Nights Below Zero, Painting, 1999, 5 x 8 feet

Living 800 km from any recognized art centre, and in a mining community (Thompson) without a gallery or cohesive arts community, creates both obstacles and extends benefits. I am neither engaged nor entangled in any specific arts trend or tangent but can embrace the freedom to grow a little wild. My husband and I spend most weekends and holidays at a small log cabin without running water at Paint Lake. The foxes and ravens call by, and the beavers have set up homes on both of my neighbours’ lots. I am always amazed that Canada, as a country, and certainly most of this continent, was mapped and developed because of a beaver and the status of a beaver top hat. A country was born of fur and skin. That I live in the original trading area of the Hudson Bay Company, and have married a “Hudson” has only added the layers that define this artistic identity.

In 2004-07, I embarked upon a journey, like Alice in Wonderland, into my A(lass) in Rupertsland series that took the English-born Alice into the history and wilderness of the fur trade. The beaded top hats and The (Sul)fur Queen, an elaborately beaded and beaver skull adorned gown made of Hudson Bay blankets, complete with its own crown, started the story of those who had lived by the motto pro pelle cutem (we risk our lives for skins).Taking Alice in her flowers could only expand on my life as a child of the sixties, hippies and flower power married to the many beaded flowers of the north, patterns handed down in families for generations. A medieval phrase, “in her flowers”, was a metaphor for a young woman and her start of menses. But being part of the never lost, I am always invited somewhere that changes the art and the journey.

Caribou Women in her Flowers Ceremonial Robe, 2008-2010, lifesize (Approx 2x5 feet)

In 2007, I received a Manitoba Arts Council grant. After being gifted a set of many-tined caribou antlers, the reference to the caribou antlers as blooming, their mythos so closely tied to fertility and spring, added to the original concept of female rites. Reindeer are found on the walls of the Lascaux caves in France. The “sanctuary des trois frères”, images within the cave, had to have a feminine translation.  Ancient stories of shape shifting goddesses, caribou reindeer women, celebrated winter solstice sisters; protectresses of the earth who carried back the sun in their antlers, melted the ice and icicles and welcome the world to be reborn in their flowers.

Beadwork detail of Caribou Women in her Flowers from rear of Ceremonial Robe, 2007-2010, approx, 8 inches in dia.

I created a dress, a hat and sun staff adorned in antlers. I invited numerous friends during the winter solstice through to the spring, to be photographed adorned in golden antlers.  The purpose was to showcase strong personalities, these women’s sacred wisdom born out of personal migrations but with an entourage of sisters. Some of the faces, with antlers and beads, evolved into the madre primavera top hat, the sun staff and the ceremonial in her flowers robe (2007-2010).

Caribou Women Sun Staff, beadwork detail, 2009, approx. 9” dia.

Becoming part of the “never lost” requires a guide. Like a girl in a northern fairy tale, I married a bear. My husband has from childhood in the north, had permission to do as he pleases. On a trip south, he drove inland from the highway, stopped and stepped into the bushes, beckoning the rest of us to follow the trail. Little did we know that the trail exists in his mind and soon all that was recognizable was rustling in the bushes and the symphonies of mosquito orchestras. He would double back and trample forth as we hurdled boreal obstacles, trying to align our experiences with his overlaid colour commentary “Isn’t this beautiful?” ”Not far now,” and “I don’t know why more people don’t come here!”

Caribou Women Madre Primevera, 2009, beadwork detail approx. 12” x 17”

Art often takes us off the beaten track and journeys into the light, often starting in the dark. Homer’s sirens and harpies say, ”We know all that happens on this much suffering earth.” And I have known many dark places. After immigrating to Canada, we lived in downtown Vancouver, blocks away from Pickton’s infamous killing ground. My 1999 Raven Ballet: The Unkindness of Nights Below Zero and 2003 Lost Pearls:  Daughters of St. Anthony’s Abattoir were painted for the murdered and missing women.

During the A(lass) in Rupertland series, I dreamed of blue faces and beaver women, barely seen through sheer fabric hanging in the boreal forest. Veils separate us from the world of the dead and the voices from beyond. The shaking tent allowed for the invocation of animal guides to bring messages and guidance from the spirit world. However, northern humour also translates the “shaking tent” as places in the bush where couples might have sex. Researching certain myths, blue often was a colour for otherworldly creatures, those from the underworld, the dead. If my beaver women were dead spirits, it was possible they had risked their lives with their skins. And with the word beaver being slang for a woman’s vagina, the risk may have been sexual. My beaver women had shape shifted through history from the fur trade to the sex trade and were risking their lives with their skin, either willingly or simply by the nature of their gender. Could art be an investigation of the traps we lay out in our cultures that condemn feral women, and of the media portrayals that strip them of their muchness and stereotype them as the Madonna and Magdalene.

Mirrors of the Mystery Lake Dam'oiselles, Photomontage, 2005, 36” x 48”

With another grant from the Manitoba Arts Council, I am creating a series of dam’oiselles to honour the shaking tent women and those of us who have heeded calls to live wild lives, who may risk our lives with skin and tell our stories with bones. In their sanctuary, the shaking tent sisters, camouflaged ethereal beings, emancipated, engaged, embraced, entangled, exiled but never entrapped, can respectfully be laid bare, shedding their layers, continuously shaking off the world but offering tantalizing signals.  “I am here” for our curiouser and curiouser world.

In November 2010, jurors for the RBC Glass Artist Award recognized my work as a finalist and also supported The Blue Beaver’s Burden and The Disappearance of the Shaking Tent Sisters. It was a welcome affirmation that beadwork could have a place in the contemporary glass art scene and I hope the complexity, labour and artistic excellence of beadwork can expand the boundaries of art. I continue to dream, and follow my own invisible path, hoping my work can contribute to the cultural legacy being created by glass artists.

Blue Beaver's Burden, Work in Progress, 2010, 10” x 20”




My Travels From Seattle

By Megan Smith

I found glass the day I happened to drive past Seattle Glassblowing Studio. I mentioned on a whim to my brother that it would be a fun thing to try. While I had forgotten to follow up on this mental note, he hadn’t. I received a gift certificate to experience glass firsthand with a weekend workshop having no idea this would lead me to Canada someday.

I continued taking courses over and over, and eventually applied to Pilchuck Glass School. While I was at Pilchuck, I met amazing artists from all over the world. At the time, it seemed as if I was the only one with a desk job and little background in art, let alone concept. I wanted to be involved in glass but didn’t know where to go next. I talked to a few people about the schools they attended but one really stuck out. Sally McCubbin, my TA at Pilchuck, had convincing reasons why I should attend the glass program at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario. We talked about price, course content, and opportunities the school had to offer. I considered for a year the information she provided, and finally decided I was ready to apply for what would turn into quite the life adventure.


Megan working in the hotshop with David Thompson, photo by Jesse Bromm


I applied to Sheridan while at work one day when I had the realization that I didn’t want a career in my current field. At the time I was managing a payday loan location, and I knew it wasn’t something I wanted to do forever. I didn’t tell anyone I had applied in case I couldn’t make it happen right away. When I found out I was accepted, I had a whirlwind of decisions to make, lose ends to tie up, and things to prepare. All of my family, friends, and co-workers were very supportive of my decision to leave. I had never been to Ontario, nor would I get the chance to visit there prior to moving there. I found an apartment on the Internet, faxed contracts back and forth, applied for a student visa, packed four suitcases, and flew to a new country.

Moving 3,000 miles alone was overwhelming.  I didn’t know anyone when I arrived, but was very lucky to meet exciting/outgoing people right away. I did end up living with a crazy person … but I like to add that to my life-experience checklist. “It builds character,” I tell people. To this day, my friends still make American jokes on a daily basis, but it’s all in fun. I get to show them that Americans aren’t all that bad.


Formation, blown glass, photo by Thomas Rojcik

A common question I get from the glass community is, “Why would you come all the way to Oakville when Seattle is full of glass opportunities?”  My answer is that while Seattle may be a glass Mecca, I was ready to have glass be my main focus, and I wanted to get a well-rounded education in the process. Seattle may have plenty of opportunities, but unfortunately there isn’t a full time school for it yet.

I knew the program at Sheridan was going to be more than just glass blowing.  I knew there were going to be support classes, and I had even printed out the course outline for all three years. Somehow, though, I was still taken by surprise. Even in the first year at Sheridan we were encouraged to have solid ideas, concepts, and a variety of learned new processes rather than to be exceptionally skilled glassblowers. It was no easy feat to jump into the world of conceptual thinking so soon, but it is an important foundation of the program.

Sheridan and RIT students working together at Sheridan participating in the Glass Olympics, photo by Owen Colborne


Sheridan has provided me with many opportunities so far that I didn’t expect. I have been able to submit work to the OCC gallery and the school gallery. I have traveled twice:  to the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York and the SOFA Conference in Chicago. I’ve sold work at our open house, and assisted in demos for upcoming students. I also recently found out I was accepted to be the summer glass resident at the Harbourfront Center in Toronto. We are surrounded by remarkable artists and mentors, but most of all we are fortunate to have amazing faculty guide us through the years.

I don’t know where the future will lead me, but I have never once regretted my decision to travel to Canada. I have found a medium of expression that I love, and I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. I urge anyone contemplating glass as a career to start his or her exploration at Sheridan College.




Addicted to Glass

Claire Anderson, Glass Art Association of Canada school representative for

Sheridan College, Oakville, Ontario



Katrina Cheung, Red Balance Grey, 2011, Photo: Katrina Cheung

Being involved in the Sheridan glass program has left me with an addiction to glass that I fear I may never be able to shake. Without my regular studio fix I get shaky and irritable, break out into sweats and my fingers twitch in a useless effort to turn invisible air-pipes. This seems to be a common problem with most of the students here. We are known as ‘glass-holes’ as we converse about little else, and we can be found lurking around the studio at the strangest hours.


Claire Anderson, Paradise, 2011, Photo: Claire Anderson

This obsession, however, has led the 2011 graduates in directions that none of us could have predicted at the beginning of our journey here. We began as a class of eighteen, but now only ten stragglers remain after all of the injuries, head games, hundreds of broken pieces and, most importantly, survival of each other.


Aurora Darwin, Metropolis, 2011, Photo: Aurora Darwin

Spending all day every day with a small group of diverse individuals has been trying (to say the very least) at times, but it has made us into a small family. We all play integral roles.  For instance, the dad of the group, Andrew Beauchamp, is stocked full of the most interesting and useless information.  Katrina Cheung is our elder, sought after for vital life advice. Hana Schweiheardt is our young sapling that can often be caught dancing by herself somewhere.  And Allysun Rysnick keeps us all smiling, treating us to TimBits every Sunday! Andrew Wardlaw is a bit of a wild card; you really have to meet him to understand what I am talking about. Alyssa Getz is our purple-haired, loud-mouth glass blowing super star – I have the privilege of working with her this year – while Aurora Darwin is our own personal DJ. Silvia Taylor has become the electroplating grandmaster wizard while Melanie Billark is always encouraging – her energy is impossible to ignore. I suppose that leaves me, ‘noodle-head’, a reference to my waist length dreadlocks and definitely not my slight absent-mindedness. We have grown very close as we have lived, worked and played together for the past three years. We act as a support network, and in the extreme ups and downs we have been there for one other, offering vital criticism, encouragement and the exchange of ideas.


Alyssa Getz, Vessel with Lid, Photo: Alyssa Getz

Over the years, we have come to discover our various specialties and we have spread ourselves evenly throughout the studios. This has had a huge impact on our work and where each of us will take it in the future.  Many of us had very different initial expectations of what the glass program was about, and a few had no idea what to expect at all. The year I began, Sheridan was making major changes to the program, so what I had read in the Sheridan booklet was actually quite different than the program to which I enrolled. I had no idea what to expect, but it was the constant technical and conceptual challenge that got me hooked. I think it is the touch of madness that keeps me around still.


Hana Schweighardt, Flow Series, Photo: Hana Schweighardt

When I speak with my classmates, we all have at least one story about getting set on fire in first year, either by charging the sand casting furnace, or nicking an arm on the annealer. During our three years at Sheridan, three of us have had to get tetanus shots at the clinic and there have been two hospital runs. We have been cut, drilled, puntied, and burned more times then I can count on two hands (and both feet). But the hypnotic nature of glass held us and we continued with fierce dedication.


Andrew Beauchamp, Orbs, Photo: Andrew Beauchamp

With the guidance of the faculty, we have been able to discover our individual styles and learn both what inspires us as well as the concepts that interest us. The close relationships we have developed with our instructors have been vital, as we have been forced to think very critically about our own work. We are lucky to be taught by not only well-connected professionals, but individuals that we have come to know quite well. They go completely out of their way for us and are there to talk about anything … as long as it’s over a beer. They have been right there with us through our development as artists and designers and have helped us through our various mental breakdowns.


Silvia Taylor, Ogee, Photo: Silvia Taylor

Now, as the end of the year approaches, we have begun to realize our time together is nearly at an end. We have made our plans and have begun the motions to start our lives after Sheridan. Many of us feel this is not our last year of post-secondary education and we plan to continue our studies in sculpture and design. However, just as we began the creative process at Sheridan, there is no way to know how our next stage will develop. Glass is an unforgettable medium that each of us will incorporate in the future with the same passion that we displayed at Sheridan.

I loved my time at Sheridan and feel that I now have the tools necessary to become a professional studio artist. While I will miss the coziness of my safety net, I look forward to the challenges that the life of a creator presents.


February Member Interview – Sarah Hall

February Member Interview – Sarah Hall

Originally published on the GAAC Facebook page on February 1, 2011



GAAC: What was it that drew you to glass as your artistic material of choice?

Sarah Hall:  I fell in love with stained glass when I was a kid.  I was enchanted by how the patterns of light and colour inside a building created an other-worldly, magical place, set apart from ordinary life. I decided at nine years of age to “make windows” when I grew up.


St.-Barnabas-On-The-Desert, Arizona – Glass Mosaic


GAAC: How much of a role has education played in your development with the material?

SH: I had a good education – studying at Swansea College of Art (Wales, UK) in the Architectural Glass Department, followed by an internship with Glass Master, Lawrence Lee, at the Royal College of Art in London. After this I lived for a year in Jerusalem studying middle-eastern techniques in glass. I have continued taking (and occasionally giving) workshops to explore new techniques.


St.-Barnabas-On-The-Desert, Arizona – Glass Mosaic Detail

GAAC: Who (or what) has played some of the largest influences on the development of your work – both thematically and technically?

SH: Although it may not be reflected visually in my work, the influence of Johannes Schreiter has been substantial; as well as that of my master Lawrence Lee. My extensive travels in Europe provide continual inspiration in viewing both historic and new work. My commissions have new parameters and demands each time, which keep the creativity level high.


Embassy of Kuwait


GAAC: What have you found to be the biggest ongoing challenge in your career as a glass artist, and how do you strive to overcome that?

SH: Architectural glass is mostly commissioned projects and the needs of clients - which have little to do with art – are exhausting. Taking a break and doing work for myself is essential but difficult- the ball keeps rolling. I have to say I have not found a perfect balance – maybe February in Bermuda every year is the answer.


Grass Valley Solar Window

GAAC: What is it that you find makes Canadian glass art (and artists) different?

SH: It is not easy to define, but I think Canadian artists have a unique sense of space and an ease with infinity which sets us apart. Our relationship to nature and “the other creatures” is often reflected in a distinctive, intriguing way. I love the work of so many of my fellow glass artists in Canada.


Grass Valley Solar Window Interior

GAAC: What are you working towards for the future of your career, and how do you see yourself getting there?

SH: There are several new directions for my architectural solar projects that I hope to accomplish in the next five years - sculptural / entry pieces. Also, glass mosaic – as seen in the recent glass mosaic project in Arizona – is a technique I want to explore more.


Solar Wind Tower - Vancouver

Bermuda for the month of February every year is sounding good as our Canadian winter approaches.

Thanks for your interest.  Please see these links for recent projects.

*Lux Gloria - Saskatoon receives more sunlight than any other city in Canada and is home to the first Cathedral in the world to incorporate solar energy collection into its stained glass windows. This monumental project with the largest ever solar art glass windows is a work in progress by Sarah Hall:  See it here:

*Wondrous Love – The title of the work “Wondrous Love” is inspired by a great American spiritual. Opus 3881, is a three manual organ with forty ranks and 2929 pipes – a project collaboratively designed by Casavant Frères and Sarah Hall.  Surrounding the organ pipes are 39 panels containing over 80,000 hand painted and cut glass mosaic tiles and coloured metal filigree. See:

*Magnificat – Sarah’s beautiful “Magnificat” window in Vancouver places Mary in Canada with a new title – Our Lady of the Northern Light. View the process of making the window:

*Mystical   - The austere chapel windows at Manresa Jesuit Spiritual Retreat Centre are inspired both by early Christian art and the paintings of Hildegard of Bingen. We extend an invitation to enter the mystical realm of Manresa:

For more information on Sarah Hall and her work, please visit her GAAC Artist Profile at:

L’entretien du mois de février avec Sarah Hall, membre du GAAC.

Déjà publié sur la page Facebook du GAAC, le 1 février 2011.

Traduit par Christian Poulin, Director, Espace Verre

GAAC : Pourquoi avez-vous choisi le verre comme matériau privilégié?

Sarah Hall : Enfant, j’ai eu un coup de foudre pour le vitrail. J’ai été éblouie par les effets que produisaient les divers motifs de lumière et de couleurs à l’intérieur des édifices. On avait l’impression d’être transporté dans un autre monde, magique, hors de la réalité ordinaire. J’ai donc décidé à l’âge de neuf ans que je créerais des fenêtres quand je serais grande.


St.-Barnabas-On-The-Desert, Arizona – Glass Mosaic

GAAC : Quel rôle a joué l’éducation dans votre développement avec le verre?

SH : J’ai reçu une excellente formation lors de mes études au Swansea College of Art (Pays de Galles, R.U.) au département de verre architectural, suivi par un stage avec le maître verrier Lawrence Lee, au Royal College of Art à Londres. Par la suite, j’ai vécu un an à Jérusalem, où j’ai étudié les techniques d’art verrier du Moyen-Orient. J’ai continué à suivre (et à donner) des ateliers de formation pour explorer de nouvelles techniques.


St.-Barnabas-On-The-Desert, Arizona – Glass Mosaic Detail

GAAC : Qui ou qu’est-ce qui a eu le plus d’influence sur le développement des thèmes et des techniques dans votre travail?

SH : Même si ce n’est pas perceptible dans mon travail, l’influence de Johannes Schreiter a été marquante, de même que celle de mon maître Lawrence Lee. Mes nombreux séjours en Europe ont été aussi une grande source d’inspiration puisqu’ils m’ont permis de voir plusieurs œuvres historiques et contemporaines. Également, les commandes d’œuvres exigent de nouveaux paramètres et de nouvelles recherches qui gardent active ma créativité.


Embassy of Kuwait

GAAC : Quel est le plus gros défi dans votre carrière d’artiste verrier actuellement et quelle est votre solution pour réussir?

SH : Mes projets sur commande sont les plus exigeants et sont surtout en verre architectural. Les demandes de ces clients ne sont pas toujours d’ordre artistique. C’est donc primordial de prendre du temps pour mon travail de création malgré les difficultés que cela peux engendrer, en s’assurant que tout le reste fonctionne bien. Je dois vous avouer que je n’ai pas encore trouvé l’équilibre parfait… peut-être que passer chaque mois de février aux Bermudes aiderait.


Grass Valley Solar Window

GAAC : Qu’est-ce qui distingue le verre d’art canadien (et ses artistes)?

SH : Ce n’est pas facile à définir mais je pense que les artistes canadiens se distinguent par leur approche spatiale, par leur facilité d’aborder les grands espaces, l’infini. Nous avons aussi une relation distincte et intrigante avec la nature et les autres créatures. J’admire beaucoup le travail de plusieurs de mes collègues artistes verriers canadiens.


Grass Valley Solar Window Interior

GAAC : Vers quel but prévoyez-vous diriger votre carrière et comment pensez-vous l’atteindre?

SH : J’ai plusieurs nouvelles orientations pour des projets architecturaux avec du verre solaire que j’espère réaliser au cours des cinq prochaines années, surtout des pièces sculpturales et pour des halls d’entrée. Aussi, j’aimerais explorer d’avantage la mosaïque de verre, suite à un projet récent que j’ai réalisé en Arizona avec cette technique.


Solar Wind Tower - Vancouver

Les Bermudes durant le mois de février, à chaque année – cela me semble une très bonne idée, surtout avec l’hiver canadien.

Merci pour votre intérêt. Veuillez suivre les liens pour avoir plus d’informations sur mes projets récents :

*Lux Gloria – Saskatoon est l’une des villes les plus ensoleillées au Canada et abrite la première cathédrale, au monde, à intégrer des capteurs d’énergie solaire dans ses vitraux. Il s’agit d’un projet monumental encore en cours de réalisation par Sarah Hall. Pour en savoir plus : http ://

*Wondrous Love – Le titre du projet Wondrous Love est inspiré d’un grand penseur spirituel américain. Opus 3881 est un orgue à trois claviers manuels avec 40 jeux de notes et 2929 tuyaux à vent conçu par les Frères Casavant et Sarah Hall. Les tuyaux à vent de l’orgue sont entourés de 39 panneaux intégrant plus de 80 000 tuiles de mosaïques de verre, peintes et coupées à la main, ainsi que des filigranes métalliques colorés. Pour en savoir plus : http ://

*Magnificat – La magnifique fenêtre Magnificat, conçue par Sarah Hall pour Vancouver, replace la Vierge Marie au Canada avec un nouveau titre : Notre-Dame de l’Aurore boréale. Pour suivre sa fabrication : http ://

*Mystical - Pour la conception des fenêtres austères de la chapelle de la maison de retraite jésuite Manresa, Sarah Hall s’est inspirée de l’art paléochrétien et des peintures de Hildegarde de Bingen. Visitez le domaine mystique de Manresa :

http ://

Pour plus d’informations sur le travail de Sarah Hall, veuillez visiter son profil d’artiste sur le site Internet du GAAC : http ://


Setting Up Shop in Mennonite Country

By Steven Tippin

My name is Steven Tippin and I am a glass artist that has recently moved to a small community just west of Waterloo, Ontario. I have the great opportunity of setting up my own kiln-working studio exactly how I want. The only problem is I have no idea how I want it to be set up. I have a basic idea of what I want and need but I do not want to try to reinvent the wheel when we have the GAAC website as a resource for such a discussion. I also have a limited budget with which to make these changes so I would love to learn from the mistakes of others before I make the same ones myself. I have decided to enlist all members of G

AAC to help me through this process. I guess I should thank you all in advance…

The Studio as I first saw it.

Through the next few issues, I plan to inform you on the details of the space and ask, possibly beg, for your input and suggestions. My goal is to utilize the online format of the GAAC website to set up a cross-Canada dialogue between its members and create a possible resource for others considering setting up a studio. I hope to hear from artists that have set up their own studios, those working in studios that are not their own, glass studio technicians and possibly an expert or two from outside the glass community. Please do not think that I am limiting this discussion to only these people. I want to hear from anyone with an opinion, suggestion, comment or warning. I want to know what works well in glass studios and, more importantly, what does not.

I make kiln-fired work primarily (see my GAAC portfolio and bio here) so the space will primarily be used as a kiln studio with a small coldshop. I will use it occasionally for sandblasting, painting, welding and basic woodworking. I want to make sure that the studio has a few different zones to keep the spaces (and their mess) from running into each other. For example, I do not want my sandblaster located in the same area that I paint in.

In order to get this discussion started, I should tell you a little about the space. Here are the details of the studio:


The studio is a detached workshop located on the property of my new house. The roof and the outer walls are covered with metal. The interior of the studio measures 21’ wide by 31’ long, with a door and a 10’ wide garage door at the narrow north end that leads to my driveway. The shop has five windows spaced throughout, a furnace suspended from the ceiling rafters and a floor made of poured cement. The walls and roof have been spray-foam insulated but the studs are still exposed for me to build on. The ceiling rafters are also exposed and measure 10’ above the concrete floor.

The studio as seen from the garage door (facing south).

In one corner there is a storage shelf (my English brother-in-law insists that it is called a mezzanine) that is 6’ off of the ground and measures 8’ wide by 19 ½’ alongside the long west wall. I have a love/hate relationship with this suspended storage area (mezzanine!). I am six foot tall and so is the bottom of the oversized shelf. This means that the space under the shelf is not usable for working more than a few minutes and the space above the shelf has about 3 ½’ between the shelf and the rafters which is not really useful for anything other than storing my dusty blow pipes. On the other hand, I think that I will find the storage really helpful but at the moment I am not willing to give up a third of the space to storage. I think that I may cut it back to 8’ x 8’ so that it ends just shy of the first window. Please see the diagram of the building. Feel free to print it and make suggestions based on it.



The building has a buried cold-water-only line running from the house to inside the building. It is a semi-flexible plastic pipe so I will not be using it for drinking from. It will be for coldworking and cleaning only. I will be utilizing the French-style drain located in the centre of the space to drain the water after catching the sediment in an interceptor.

The current studio residents.


There is a gas line that runs underground to the building’s ceiling-mounted heating furnace. The furnace is about seventeen years old but hopefully will hold up for as long as I need it to. Why not be foolishly optimistic, right?

The studio (facing north).


Currently it has a buried line running from the house to a 60-amp service panel with some empty spots as extendible potential for the panel.

I have a feeling that this will be a great place to make into a studio. The photos show a wet floor because the old owner dropped by to pressure wash the floor (that doesn’t happen in Toronto!!). Don’t worry, the shop does not leak. My concern is whether or not there will be enough power to run my kiln and a sandblaster.

Please feel free to comment below the article or email me directly with questions, comments and suggestions at  I will mention a few suggestions in the next instalment when I discuss the electrical part of the studio but feel free to comment on layout, lighting, equipment, or whatever you want. In order to avoid the obvious comments on decoration, please note that I have already removed the racecar posters.

The Utilities enter in this corner. Gas, Water, Electricity.


Créer un atelier en contrée Mennonite

Par Steven Tippin

Mon nom est Steven Tippin, je suis artiste verrier et je viens juste d’emménager dans une petite communauté à l’est de Waterloo en Ontario. J’ai la chance de pouvoir installer mon propre atelier verrier exactement de la manière dont je le souhaite. Le seul problème est que je n’ai aucune idée de “comment” je souhaite vraiment le faire. J’ai bien une idée de départ sur ce que je veux et ce dont j’ai besoin, mais je me suis dit que le site Internet du GAAC serait l’endroit idéal pour tenir ce genre de discussion. J’ai aussi un budget limité avec lequel je souhaite effectuer ces changements donc j’aimerai beaucoup apprendre des erreurs des autres avant de les perpétrer moi-même. Je fais donc appelle à tous les membres du GAAC pour m’aider dans cette quête et je vous en remercie tous par avance…

Le Studio comme je l'ai vu la première fois.

Au travers des quelques prochains paragraphes, je vais tenter de vous fournir les détails concernant l’endroit et de vous solliciter, voire supplier de m’apporter vos suggestions et votre contribution. Le but étant de tirer parti de la version en ligne de la GAAC pour établir un débat inter canadien entre les membres et créer ainsi un outil potentiel pour ceux qui souhaitent ensuite créer un atelier. J’espère que les artistes qui ont déjà conçu leur propre atelier interviendront, ainsi que tous ceux qui oeuvrent dans d’autres ateliers que les leurs, les techniciens d’ateliers verriers et si possible un ou deux experts en dehors de la communauté du verre. Bien sûr, la recherche ne se limite pas aux personnes énoncées ci-dessus. Je suis ouvert aux opinions, suggestions, commentaires ou avertissements de tous.  Je voudrai connaître ce qui fonctionne bien dans un atelier verrier et surtout savoir ce qui ne marche pas.

Je travaille principalement avec une arche (cf. mon portfolio et ma biographie GAAC ici), l’espace sera donc essentiellement dédié au travail à chaud incluant un petit endroit pour les process à froid que j’utiliserai occasionnellement pour le sablage, la peinture, la soudure et le travail du bois. Je tiens à ce que l’atelier conserve différentes zones, afin de délimiter les espaces et éviter qu’ils se chevauchent (ainsi que leurs bazars). Par exemple, je ne souhaite pas que ma sableuse soit dans la même pièce où je peins.

Pour amorcer la discussion, je vais vous en dire plus concernant l’endroit. Voici les détails de l’atelier:

Données de bases:

L’atelier se situe à l’écart de ma maison sur ma nouvelle propriété. Le toit et les murs extérieurs sont recouverts de métal. L’intérieur du studio mesure 21 pieds de large par 31 pieds de long avec une porte et à l’extrémité nord une entrée de garage large de 10 pieds donnant sur mon allée. La pièce possède 5 fenêtres espacées, une chaudière suspendue aux poutres de la toiture et un sol en béton. Les murs et le toit sont isolés par une mousse mais les clous sont toujours visibles, permettant de construire par-dessus. Les poutres du plafond sont elles aussi apparentes et se situent à 10 pieds de haut.

Le studio vu de la porte de garage (côté sud).

Le long du mur ouest, il y au coin un espace de rangement (mon beau-frère anglais tiens à utiliser le terme de mezzanine) surélevé à 6 pieds du sol et mesurant 8 pieds de large sur 19,5 pieds de long. J’aime et je déteste à la fois cet espace de stockage suspendu (mezzanine!). Je mesure 6 pieds tout comme le dessous de cette étagère démesurée. Ce qui signifie que cette hauteur sous l’étagère ne me permet pas d’y travailler plus de quelques minutes. L’espace disponible au dessus de l’étagère est d’environ 3,5 pieds de haut, ce qui n’est pas vraiment suffisant non plus pour y ranger quoique ce soit à part quelques cannes à souffler poussiéreuses. Il est possible que cet espace me devienne très utile un jour, mais pour le moment je ne me sens pas prêt à accorder un tiers de l’espace juste au rangement. Je pense probablement le raccourcir à 8 x 8 pieds pour que le bout s’ajuste à la première fenêtre. Voici un schéma du bâtiment, n’hésitez pas à l’imprimer et à l’utiliser pour vos suggestions.



Le bâtiment possède une arrivée d’eau froide uniquement qui passe sous terre de la maison à l’intérieur du bâtiment. C’est un tuyau en plastique semi flexible et je ne compte donc pas l’utiliser comme eau potable. Elle ne me servira que pour le nettoyage et le travail à froid. J’utiliserai un écoulement à la française qui se situe au centre de l’espace pour évacuer l’eau après avoir au préalable récupéré le dépôt à l’aide d’un intercepteur.

Les habitants studio actuel.

Le gaz:

Une arrivée souterraine de gaz ravitaille la chaudière suspendue au plafond. La chaudière est vieille de 17 ans mais elle devrait pouvoir encore tenir tant que j’en aurai besoin. Soyons naïvement optimiste!

Le studio (côté nord).


Pour l’instant, une ligne tendue sous terre de la maison rejoint un compteur de 60 ampères qui possède des parties encore vierges pour un agrandissement potentiel par la suite.

J’ai l’impression que cet endroit pourrait faire un atelier idéal. Sur les photos le sol est humide car le propriétaire est passé laver le sol au karcher (ce n’est pas à Toronto qu’on verrait ça!!) Pas d’inquiétude donc, l’atelier ne fuit pas. Ce qui me préoccupe plutôt est de savoir si j’aurai suffisamment de puissance électrique pour faire fonctionner à la fois arche et sableuse.

N’hésitez pas à commenter directement en dessous de cet article ou en m’envoyant un email à pour des questions, commentaires ou suggestions. Dans le prochain épisode, je vous ferai part de quelques idées concernant la question de l’électricité dans l’atelier, mais en attendant, n’hésitez pas à me parler de l’agencement, de l’éclairage, de l’équipement ou de ce qui vous passe par la tête. Dans le but d’éviter les commentaires évidents concernant la déco, je préfère vous informer d’avance que j’ai déjà enlevé les posters de voitures de course.

Les services publics entrent dans ce coin. Gaz, eau, électricité.