Natural Flow: Contemporary Alberta Glass

August 1, 2011

July 1 – August 21, 2011

By Joanne Marion and Tom McFall

This dynamic group exhibition of contemporary handmade glasswork ranges from large-scale sculpture to small vessels by 16 Alberta glass artists. It is also the first collaboration between the Alberta Craft Council, the Calgary Glass Initiative and the Esplanade Art Gallery, in bringing the exhibition, publication and website to fruition.

ROBERT GEYER, PINK MURMUR 2, 2011, hand-pulled & coloured glass rods, 9’ x 4’ x 1’

Natural Flow was initiated as a way of gathering together recent work by a wide range of Alberta-based glass artists. The theme highlights the unique ability of hot glass to embody organic and biomorphic ideas, forms and forces.

NATALI RODRIGUES, PROXIMITY AND TOUCH, # 15 , 2010, cast, hot formed & cold worked glass, 3” x 4” x 3”

The natural flow of hot glass, both as a medium and a creative making process makes it arguably one of the most mind-body connected of the craft arts. Much of the process and final form are a direct result of this: rhythm, dance, energy and movement, are typical words in the hot glass vocabulary.

The liquidity and viscosity of hot glass are inextricably linked to the mind and muscle grace of the makers. This is distinct, for example, from stages of drawing, modeling, cutting, assembling and finishing common with furniture making; none of these glass pieces would have the same visual flow had they been drawn by hand or CAD and then prototyped and produced somewhere other than in these craft artists’ studios.

JEFF HOLMWOOD, ELECTRIC KOOL-AID VASE, 2007, blown glass, 20” x 13” x 13” Collection of Alberta Foundation for the Arts

The very nature of glass as an ‘amorphous solid’ – neither liquid nor solid – thus lends itself to these qualities physically, but the works in hot glass featured here take it a step beyond, evoking natural forces of change visually and also metaphorically, through a variety of strategies from imagery to humour, satire and spiritual contemplation.

TYLER ROCK, ILLATION, 2010, blown glass, 68” x 11”

Alberta has a unique hot glass culture, recognized internationally for its “frontier” character. The personalities of the individual artists and the distinctiveness of their work preclude an “Alberta school” of glass. But, collectively, Alberta’s glass artists are a phenomenon. The 16 artists in Natural Flow are among those who have, over the past 30 to 40 years, created a distinct Alberta energy in their discipline.

JULIA REIMER , GREY SWALLOW, 2010, blown & solid sculpted glass, 23” x 13”

In her catalogue text, Jennifer Salahub has ably invoked the spirit of social historian John Ruskin, the British Arts & Crafts Movement and the development of American studio glass in creating a context for the work in this exhibition. We may add to that scholarship the wealth of global influences embraced by these artists. They are versed in a long culture of glass object making from the ancient Mediterranean and Renaissance Italy, through industrial revolution manufacturing, to French art nouveau, Scandinavian modern, central European communist modern, Italian movements such as Memphis, all of the American art glass scene from Tiffany Studio to the present, as well as oddities such as Mexican and Indian sweatshop factories. Even Coca-Cola and other famous brand glass products, space-race material developments and contemporary art can be seen as having made an eclectic material or ideation impression upon these artists.

KEITH WALKER, MIDDLE BLUE SKILLSAW UMBRELLA, 2008, blown glass assembled, 15" d x 32"

However, while the idea of ‘natural flow’ is traced through the works gathered here, it is not exemplary of all Alberta glass artists’ practices; and so this project, while comprehensive in scope, is certainly not exhaustive of the richness of Alberta glass artists.

Natural Flow: Contemporary Alberta Glass was curated by Joanne Marion and organized by the Esplanade Art Gallery in collaboration with the Alberta Craft Council and the Calgary Glass Initiative, and is accompanied by a catalogue and a website. We thank the cities of Medicine Hat, Calgary and Edmonton, for their support, as well as the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.

Joanne Marion Curator of Art, Esplanade Arts & Heritage Centre

Tom McFall Executive Director, Alberta Craft Council

Kai Georg Scholefield President, Calgary Glass Initiative

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Bead Classes For The Masses at Bavin Glassworks

By K. Leah Duperreault

There are many reasons that you may have heard of Bavin Glassworks.  It has been a family-run hotshop and gallery for the past 22 years.  It is located in Invermere, BC in the beautiful Columbia Valley and it is a place where you can find local and regional art as well as a handful of local artists.  One reason in particular though is their ability to involve and include the community that they are a part of.  Being located in a resort town means that tourists and locals alike are a part of that community.  Having the hotshop open to the public allows the thousands of visitors every year to learn a little bit about glass and what goes into glass making.

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In late 2002 Pat, Bonnie and Ryan Bavin, together with Leah Duperreault began working on a different way to educate visitors to the glass shop and in early 2003, Bavin Beadworks began offering classes in glass beadmaking.  The Bavins came from a ski industry background so it made perfect sense to run Bavin Beadworks much in the same way that a ski school runs at a ski hill.

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The classes were developed and taught by Duperreault, and she, in turn, trained the instructors that followed, ensuring that each of the more than 3,000 students they have taught over the years received the same level of instruction.  In 2005, the Bavin Glass Cabin opened up at Panorama ski hill which provided two locations to offer bead classes.

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The three-hour introductory bead class is the core of the Bavin Beadworks program, and can be taken by anyone over the age of 16.  Three students at a time allows for each student to receive personal attention; rental space is available after having taken a class.  As well as making beads, students are encouraged to try making jewelry or accessories from their beads with help from the knowledgeable staff.

Given the fact that Invermere is a resort town and Bavin Glassworks is a destination, the bead classes offer something to do while on vacation in the Columbia Valley.  Also offered are intermediate classes, private lessons and soon they will offer five-day workshops.

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INTERVIEW WITH JAMIE GRAY

By Amy King

My name is Amy King and I am a student of the glass program at the Alberta College of Arts + Design (ACAD) in Calgary.  One assignment for a recent class was to interview a local artist that I am interested in.  The following is an interview I conducted in March 2011 with Calgary glass artist, Jamie Gray.

How did you get started working with glass? What is it about the material that conveys your ideas over other media?

I always knew I was an artist of some sort, so when I was about 20 I started looking for a medium to explore part-time.  Evenings and weekends I tried painting, silversmithing, and sculpture before I took a stained glass class.  I knew immediately I’d found the medium I wanted to work in.

Title: Salvator Mundi Photo Credit: Jamie Gray Details: leaded stained glass Year: 2008

I tend to use glass as a support for conceptual work rather than making pieces that celebrate the beauty of the glass itself.  Since it can be manipulated, twisted, poured, etc, it has potential to take on so many forms and become useful that way.  I do occasionally celebrate glass for glass’ sake because it’s so lovely both to look at and to work with; and, in that case, what I love most about it is how it plays with light, which is different every single time you look at/through it.

Why did you make the decision to attain a degree in fine arts? Since graduating, what kind of benefits do you think this education has had?

I wanted to attend ACAD when I was 18 and had a scholarship to do so but my mom convinced me go get some training that she felt would actually be able to support me (generally a well-founded concern).  Then life got in the way (marriage, mortgage, kids) and it was another 20 years before I could get back to ACAD, which I finally did in 2005.  Why I always wanted a degree was partly stubbornness (to demonstrated that I could do it and survive) and because I really did want to study art academically.  I’m a bit of an academic at heart anyway, so I really loved all the art history classes and theory classes.

Title: Fragile Chivalry Photo Credit: Jamie Gray Details: Blown cut glass, chain maille Year: 2008

There haven’t yet been any real-world benefits to having a BFA itself except as a possible bridge to an MFA or MA (which I’d like to pursue sometime because I’d love to teach more), but I think just having been in the academic setting and being pushed so hard for four years completely changed how I do things in my studio.  I’m much more focused.

You talk about the idea of cosmopolitanism as being one of the central themes in your work.  Can you elaborate on how growing up in the Prairies during a certain time frame has influenced your interest in these ideas?

There’s a certain area in Alberta that’s well known as the Bible Belt and I grew up smack in the middle of it.  A Bible school in every little town, many more churches than bars by far, a highly moralistic way of life generally.  In the `60s and `70s, when there were freedom movements and “hippy” activities in many parts of the world, that was well controlled and thwarted on the Prairies, especially by the church, which considered such actions as too anti-establishment.  The dichotomy is that where churches pay a lot of lip service to inclusiveness, they can be the most discriminatory (anti-cosmopolitan).  As a practicing Christian, I felt that it was time to explore that moralistic blindness and begin to make small corrections as I can.  It’s been very interesting, especially since artists are generally very hippy-like and while at ACAD I had fun using them as a test group for things such as the Radical Church Potluck Project in which I brought church-y potluck food to the school for the students to share and talk around.  In my church, though the official word was that all were welcome, hippies of any sort showing up at a church potluck would have been very frowned upon.  No hat, no suit, no gloves, no love.

Title: The Radical Church Potluck Project Photo Credit: Jamie Gray Details: Fused glass, fusible decal, metal leaf Year: 2008

How long have you been working with this particular theme?  Is it still a major part of your current work?

I worked with that theme for a couple of years and it will always be part of my work to do what I can to make the church, as a group, open up their eyes and see what we’ve done and how our history has affected how we’ve behaved and are behaving today.  It’s been easy for the church to gloss over things such as the Crusades, Inquisitions and Residential Schools.  I actually don’t think I can call myself a responsible Christian if I don’t continue to question that thoroughly and promote any change I can.  I’ve moved along a little bit from that theme, but can easily go back as concept for work strikes me because I’m not working far off of it at the moment.  Among other things, I’ve been making Snowglobes of Doom that work out some of my childhood-on-the-farm angst.

Title: Snowglobes of Doom: Farmyard Memories Photo Credit: Jamie Gray Details: Blown glass, multi-media Year: 2008

I know that you were experimenting with building community through food during your final year at ACAD.  What made you start this and what kind of results did you see?

I started that idea as I got thinking about my “axis mundi”, which turned out to be Absolute Truth.  If I were to explore Absolute Truth, what would that look like in my own life?  It quickly became apparent to me that, as a concerned Christian, there are a lot of untruths to be addressed right within my own church.  The first was (as I’ve outline above) the Radical Church Potluck Project, which worked to bring the church potluck right into the midst of the persons (“hippies” / artists) whom the church would have looked askance upon.  The results of the daily potlucks were amazing; much better than I could have hoped.  My main goal was to bring true Christian love (on the quiet, as it’s meant to be) to a fringe group and leave it at that, but the reality was that the more we ate together, the more we talked, and through that we grew in relationship with each other.  We had conversations around sandwiches and squares that we probably wouldn’t have otherwise had.  It was fun and we grew as a community.  It’s what I love about glassies anyway, that when we get together we tend to open up and be real; but this was a great instance of it and gave credence to the idea that social growth and community happens around food.  Food is a fantastic medium, by the way.  It’s not used enough.

Title: Cross Reference Photo Credit: Jamie Gray Details: Photograph Year: 2009

Do you think that community can be attainable at a large scale or is it limited to smaller groups of people?

Oh yes, I do think so.  But I think our current age of social networking in which we no longer have to look our friends and neighbours in the eyes while we’re talking to them or exercise our tone of voice is thwarting this.  If we ever have a disaster of some sort where our resources are reduced and we have to pull together to survive, we’ll rediscover it.  And in that painful thing (not the disaster but the rediscovery of interaction with people) we’ll see that it’s quite a beautiful and essential thing.  Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, etc, have been taking that from us.  And we’ve been more than willing to go along with that because, let’s face it, it’s very difficult growing in community.  The opportunity for gain is proportionate to the painfulness of it.  But having said that, I also think it’s essential to start small with our own little communities around us, whether that’s neighbours, fellow students, fellow workers, whomever, and then go bigger if that’s warranted.

What do you believe the ideal community is based upon?

I believe that the ideal community is based upon tolerance and inclusion.  That means that no matter how painful it is to know someone, you go ahead and know him or her anyway.  We don’t have to like each other, necessarily (how could we like everyone?), but we should nevertheless be pulling along together at whatever rates we can individually handle, with no one dropping out or being left behind.  That’s, I believe, the ideal community.

Title: Breadbasket Series: Lost Photo Credit: Jamie Gray Details: Fused glass, multi-media Year: 2010

You seem to be quite involved in the Canadian glass community.  Can you talk about the importance of building relationships with other glass artists?

Oh wow – super important.  Not only is the networking absolutely invaluable, but we’re also working together as a community to instruct ourselves, encourage each other, assist wherever we can.  Since many of us work away in our teeny home-based studios, without that connection and help we’d never otherwise see or talk to anyone who also works in glass.  Sometimes you just have to have folks to whom you can go on a regular basis in order to ask questions, talk shop, express concerns and fears, teach, encourage or be encouraged, mentor.  Actually, mentoring is very important to me too, and that’s a big focus for us in the Calgary Warm Glass Guild.  It’s all part of freely passing along what we know so that we continue to grow.

Another reason I’m keen on being involved in Canadian glass on an administrative level is that I feel very strongly the need to promote Canadian glass to the rest of the world, and I do so at every opportunity.  We’re a bit quiet about our work, so I always like to get the word out that we’re making glass art and it’s great stuff.  So one good way to know about Canadian glass in order to talk about it is to be involved in Canadian glass organizations.  Once you’re outside of school, it’s not so easy to stay connected with your glass community unless you’re linked to an organization with that focus.

Title: Prairie Puddle Photo Credit: Jamie Gray Details: Fused and slumped glass Year: 2010

Now having said that, I also feel it’s quite important to get involved OUTSIDE of the glass community so that you don’t become too insular.  For that reason I’m also involved in a knitting group.  It’s good to occasionally work in a medium that is not glass in order to appreciate glass as a medium again.  I’m currently knitting a car cozy.  I know, it’s crazy.

I know that you are involved with the Calgary Warm Glass Guild.  I would be interested in obtaining more information about the guild; what is its mandate?  How do you become a member?

The Guild’s mandate is one based strongly on community.  We exist to connect with each other, instruct each other and support each other.  We meet monthly to eat together and talk shop.  We put together a show once a year and are highly inclusive about who shows – if we ever feel the need to exclude someone’s work we’ll be more likely to help him or her improve the work than exclude the work outright.  We get together regularly to do demos for each other or teach.  Sometimes we bring in a paid instructor for a technique a bunch of us are interested in.  We’re completely non-profit, volunteer-run, and no-fees.  Membership is free and we have 200+ members not only in Calgary, but also all over the world.  We have a Facebook page, regularly updated.  We’re always encouraging glass artists and appreciators to join us and get connected with the rest of the glass community.  Our main way of communicating between meetings is that I send out e-mails (pretty much daily) regarding upcoming events, product and supply info, teaching opportunities, learning opportunities, calls-for-entry, etc.  Mentoring is big.  Membership is easy:  I take the e-mail address of anyone who is interested and from there that person decides what or how much of the information sent out is pertinent to him/her, reading what they want, discarding the rest.  I hope that you’ll join!  Let me know.

Do you work solely with glass or do you work in another field to support your practice?

I do consider myself to be a career artist and I work mostly in glass.  I’m very fortunate in that my husband supports me by handling household financial responsibilities, leaving me free to support my studio practice with what I make teaching or selling work.  Because that doesn’t end up being a lot in a year, I’m quite creative about how I spend those earnings.  I use free, found or thrift-shop materials where I can and I’ve made myself get good at writing grant applications.  The bottom line is that since I’m so fortunate as to not have to pay for mortgage or groceries, then I have a responsibility (which I happily accept) to give as much of myself as I can, as freely as I can, to my community.  I’m an artist and make art, and so for that am indeed ensconced in my teeny studio for periods of time; but I’m also part of something bigger and more important than myself as a single entity.  And there’s such a great feeling of satisfaction and joy in having and being a part of that larger community.

Title: Containment Photo Credit: Jamie Gray Details: Fused and slumped glass Year: 2008

Do you have any advice for an emerging glass artist?

Yes, I do.

  • Don’t get discouraged at that hard stop that happens at the end of your schooling.
  • Do give yourself a 1-2 month break if you can to decompress and get your head around the idea that you now work for you.  Be proud that you’ve worked so hard to be in this entrepreneurial position.
  • Once you’ve had a break, then carry on as you were in school, drawing on your discipline to keep you going.
  • Write articles.  Magazines are crying out for these and it’s a great way not only to get your name out there but also to make yourself think hard about stuff.
  • Get good at grant writing because it’s pretty much a sure thing that you’ll have a project someday that will require some larger funds and grants are a great help with this.
  • Do join GAAC and any and all other glass-based organizations so that you can be supported and feel you’re still connected to the community.
  • Your provincial craft council (for us in Alberta, the Alberta Craft Council) is going to be a good support too, since they are huge supporters of craft locally and around the world.  They work very hard for us craftspeople.
  • Do volunteer some time somewhere.  I recommend offering to teach glass processes on a community level or getting involved with an arts organization of some sort.
  • Be a volunteer TA whenever you can to another glass artist whose work interests you.  Offer to do this for free and try to make your way to them on your own coin.  Who, even of the “greats”, could refuse that offer?  Then work really, really hard for them (first one in the studio in the morning, last one out at night).  And you’ll learn so much; you’ll be truly amazed.  It’s not only great for your resume, but you’ll also get a reputation for diligence and your face and name will start getting known.
  • Make work that pleases you and is true to who you are.
  • Be smart with the money that you make.  Pay off your student loans but also make sure you keep some of it to keep yourself in supplies.
  • Read something every day that pushes you or teaches you something.
  • Don’t be too humble and don’t be too proud – mostly don’t be too humble.
  • Go to shows often – any shows – be seen and talk to people a lot.  Make sure you talk about what you’re up to as well as finding out what other people are up to.
  • Go to a conference each year if you can – apply for grants for this if you can’t afford it.
  • Try not to get discouraged or at least not for so long that it affects your work.  If you feel discouraged (which everyone does at one point or another), talk to someone in one of your networking groups.  Don’t bear this burden alone.  It’s one we’ve all carried and learned how to share or overcome.

Amy King is an emerging artist currently based in Calgary, Alberta.  She will be graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Alberta College of Art + Design in 2012.  Ms. King works primarily with glass, specializing in kiln-forming techniques.

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My Internship at Farbglashütte: Investing the Prevalence and Need for K-glass

By Jonathan Pischner

What’s a university student from Minnesota, who knows a little about business and a little about glass art doing writing an article for an esteemed online art magazine? Well, I guess I’m here to tell you about a learning journey that I find myself undertaking.

I’m just about the luckiest guy in the world, having landed an internship with the Farbglashütte in the beautiful town of Lauscha, Germany.  In this hilly, forested community, glass art is a means of expression, fulfillment, and livelihood.  Here, fine craftsmanship has been practiced for over 400 years. In fact, here’s a tip for you: for people who are interested in glass art, the Farbglashütte can’t be beat as a travel      destination. Visitors come from all over the world to watch blowers create garden balls out of beautiful Thuringian forest glass, to watch the pulling of rods and tubes, and to shop for beautiful glass art. Life in Lauscha is very much centered in glass.

Photo credit: Farbglashütte

As a “newbie” at the Farbglashütte, I am just beginning to learn about glass production, glass chemistry, and quality indicators of art glass. And what better place to learn? Lauscha is famous for glass manufacturing and glass art. In this place, glass-making      traditions are revered, art is celebrated, and friendships are lifelong treasures. This      friendly community has both challenged and captivated me.

My assignment in this internship is to learn as much as I can about a unique glass and its possible place in the art community. To describe it briefly, K-glass is a pre-melted glass for use as batch material for studio glass and kilncasting. Farbglashütte’s K-glass is extraordinarily beautiful. With a chemical formula based on years of practical experience, it also has all the properties glass artists need to carry out their craft: stable chemistry,      consistent CoE, and compatibility with commonly used color systems.

Photo credit: Farbglashütte

But this article isn’t about the chemistry, or even the beauty of  K-glass. This article is about environmental responsibility within the glass art trade. The big news with K-glass is that from its production to the artists’ finished products, K-glass requires less energy consumption and produces fewer harmful materials than other types of art glass.

Farbglashütte’s preservation efforts begin in the production process through the use of a modern, low energy, cost recuperative furnace.  The furnace contains 60 tons of glass. The process is continuous: batch is charged in at one end and glass is pulled out at the other end, then pressed into 2 cm x 2 cm pillows and conveyed into steel containers. The exhausts from the furnace are cleared through a state-of-the-art electromagnetic filter so that, in accordance with the strict German and European Union environmental protection laws, no damaging fumes are put into the environment. Further, in manufacturing K-glass, no hazardous materials, such as lead, are included. Right there is a health benefit for the user as well as the environment.

Photo credit: Farbglashütte

On a person level, artists who use K-glass realize the benefits of reduced melting time for blowing or kilncasting. Less melting time results in less furnace wear, reduced CO2 emissions, and reduced energy consumption – up to 25% less! Of course, the amount of energy the artist saves by using K-glass depends very much on equipment used and products being made. You can make the calculation yourself by dividing your yearly energy use by the amount of glass you use annually. Compare the results to K-glass’ overall energy requirement of 5 kwh per kilo of glass. We have seen savings from 5% to 30% in our clients’ studios. Even the addition of 50% K-glass to your batch would help you realize an energy savings.  Thus, cost-conscious artists might find K-glass worth a look for economic as well as altruistic reasons.

My specific assignment during my internship at Farbglashütte is to determine the prevalence of a need for K-glass. If my name looks familiar to you, it might be because you have received a survey from me.  I’ve been combing through websites of artists, glass art studios, and colleges seeking artists and glass art instructors who might provide data that will help determine the priorities of artists who use glass in their craft.  My survey consists of seven brief questions regarding the type and amount of glass you melt, the most important features you look for in your glass, the color method you use, and your energy use. If you would like to participate in the study, please contact me at jonathan.pischner@farbglashutte.de.  I will send the survey to you.  The survey can be taken online or using Microsoft Word.  The information I gather from artists will be used by Farbglashütte to help determine the attributes artists most desire in the glass they use.

Photo credit: Farbglashütte

Recently, I received an e-mail from a glass artist stating that “glassmaking will never be able to protect the environment ‑ it is a symbol of luxury, wealth and extravagance.”  I hope the first part of her statement isn’t true. Clearly, resources are used in glassmaking as in any other trade. Nevertheless, I believe that every one of us, regardless of our chosen career path, can seek ways of reducing energy consumption, waste production, and harm to the environment. I hope K-glass can be one means of reaching that goal.

Mon Stage à Farbglashütte: Cerner la Prévalence et le Besoin du Verre-K

Par Jonathan Pischner

Qu’est-ce qu’un étudiant du Minnesota qui s’y connaît un tout petit peu en commerce et un tout petit peu en art verrier peut bien avoir à raconter dans un article pour une prestigieuse revue en ligne? Eh bien j’imagine que c’est pour vous faire partager le séjour enrichissant que je suis en train de vivre actuellement.

Je devais probablement être le garçon le plus chanceux de la terre lorsque j’ai décroché ce stage à Farbglashütte dans la très jolie ville de Lauscha en Allemagne. Dans cette commune boisée et vallonnée, l’art du verre est un moyen d’expression, d’épanouissement et de subsistance. Un fin travail d’artiste s’y pratique depuis plus de 400 ans. Pour vous donner une petite idée, la Farbglashütte est une destination obligatoire pour ceux qui s’intéressent à l’art du verre. Des visiteurs du monde entier viennent admirer les souffleurs qui créent des boules pour le jardin dans l’étonnant verre de la forêt de Thuringian,  voir les tiges et les tubes se faire étirer, et acheter de jolies œuvres d’art en verre. La vie à Lauscha tourne principalement autour du verre.

“Petit nouveau” à la Farbglashütte, je commence tout juste à en apprendre d’avantage sur la production du verre, ses propriétés chimiques, et les indices de qualité de l’art verrier. Ici, les méthodes de fabrication verrières traditionnelles sont vénérées, l’art est célébré et les relations amicales sont précieuses. Cette communauté chaleureuse m’a à la fois mis à l’épreuve et captivé.

Au cours de ce stage, ma mission est d’en découvrir autant que possible à propos d’un verre qui est unique et d’en comprendre sa place dans la communauté artistique. Pour vous le décrire en bref, le verre-K de Farbglashütte est extraordinairement beau. Sa formule chimique se base sur des années d’usage pratique et il possède aussi les nombreuses qualités dont les artistes verriers ont besoin pour mener à bien leurs projets  artisanaux: une formule stable, un coefficient de dilatation cohérent et une compatibilité avec les systèmes de coloration habituellement utilisés.

Mais il n’est pas question dans cet article de la chimie, ni même de la beauté de ce verre-K. Cet article porte sur les responsabilités environnementales dans le milieu du verre. La grande innovation avec le verre-K se base sur le fait que de sa production jusqu’au produit fini de l’artiste, le verre-K aura consommé moins d’énergie et produit moins de déchets toxiques que certains autres types de verres.

Les intentions écologiques de Farbglashütte débutent dès son processus de création, avec l’utilisation d’un four moderne à consommation basse et rentabilité élevée. Le four peut contenir 60 tonnes de verre. Le processus de fabrication est continu: une fournée y est chargée d’un côté tandis que le verre en ressort de l’autre, puis est pressé en petits carrés de 2 x 2 cm et transporté dans des conteneurs en acier. Afin de respecter les lois de protection environnementale strictes d’Allemagne et d’Union Européenne, les échappements du four sont purifiés grâce à un filtre électromagnétique de pointe, aucune fumée toxique ne doit être rejetée dans l’environnement. Le verre-K ne contient pas non plus de matériaux dangereux tels que le plomb. Il y a donc là un avantage de santé pour son utilisateur ainsi que pour l’environnement.

A titre personnel, les artistes qui utilisent le verre-K bénéficient d’un temps de fonte plus court pour le soufflage et la pâte de verre. Et qui dit temps de fonte réduit, dit aussi une usure moindre du four, des émissions de CO2 plus basses et une consommation d’énergie plus faible – jusqu’à -25%! Bien sûr la quantité d’énergie économisée par l’artiste en utilisant le verre-K dépend beaucoup des équipements utilisés et des produits conçus. Vous pouvez faire le calcul vous même en divisant votre consommation annuelle énergétique par la quantité de verre que vous utilisez par an. Comparez ensuite votre résultat au besoin total d’énergie du verre-K qui est de 5 kWh par kg de verre. Certains de nos clients ont pu constater une économie de 5 à 30 % dans leurs ateliers. Même en remplaçant 50% de votre utilisation par du verre-K vous permettrai encore de faire des économies d’énergie. Ainsi, cela vaut le coup d’étudier la question du verre-K, que ce soit pour des raisons d’économies où d’altruisme.

La mission qui m’a spécifiquement été confiée au cours de ce stage à Farbglashütte est de parvenir à déterminer la prévalence du besoin pour le verre-K. Si mon nom vous semble familier, c’est probablement parce que je vous ai envoyé un sondage. J’ai passé au peigne fin les sites Internet d’artistes, d’ateliers verriers et de collèges à la recherche d’artistes ou de maîtres verriers qui seraient en mesure de me fournir des données pour m’aider à fixer les priorités des artistes utilisant le verre dans leur travail. Mon enquête comprend sept petites questions concernant le genre et la quantité de verre à fondre,  les qualités principales recherchées dans le verre, vos méthodes de colorations et votre consommation d’énergie. Si vous souhaitez participer à cette étude, contactez moi sur jonathan.pischner@farbglashutte.de et je vous enverrai le sondage. Il peut être réalisé en ligne ou à l’aide de Microsoft Word. Farbglashütte utilisera les informations que j’aurai rassemblées afin de déterminer à quelles propriétés les artistes accordent le plus d’importance dans leur utilisation du verre.

Récemment, j’ai reçu un mail d’une artiste verrière qui me confiait que “de faire du verre ne pourrait jamais aider à protéger l’environnement – car il est symbole de luxe, de richesse et d’extravagance.” J’espère que la première partie de sa déclaration est erronée. Evidemment, créer du verre nécessite des ressources comme pour n’importe quelle autre industrie. Cependant, j’ai la certitude que chacun d’entre nous, qu’importe notre choix de carrière, peut trouver des façons de réduire sa consommation d’énergie, sa production de déchets, et sa nocivité à l’environnement. J’espère que le verre-K sera l’un des moyens d’atteindre ce but.

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Narrative Spiritual Themes: A Profile of Naoko Takenouchi

By: Jill Allan

Naoko Takenouchi is a Vancouver-based glass artist who is, perhaps, best admired for the personal iconography that she sandblasts and sand-carves onto the surfaces of vessels and for the sculptural forms that she sand-carves out of bubbles.

I met Naoko Takenouchi when I began working for Starfish Glassworks in 1997.  She was part of the group V6, which comprised of Jeff Burnette, Lisa Samphire, Gary Bolt, Joanne Andrighetti, Morna Tudor and Takenouchi.  (V6 pooled their resources to market and promote their work and Starfish Glassworks grew out of this group.  At the time that V6 formed, in the 1990s, Samphire, Bolt and Takenouchi were working at New-Small and Sterling Studio Glass on Granville Island, and Burnette and Tudor were working out of nearby Andrighetti Glassworks.  Bolt, Burnette, Andrighetti and Tudor were all graduates of the Sheridan College program.)

Currently, Takenouchi maintains her practice in Vancouver renting time in the hot studio of New-Small and Sterling Studio Glass and using her private home studio to finish and treat the surfaces of her vessels and sculptures.

Originally from Japan, Takenouchi went to Tama Art University to learn to work with glass.  Dabbling in all the techniques, except for lampworking, she decided at school that she preferred working in blown glass but was exhausted after a rigorous four-year program and tried working as a lighting designer immediately after she graduated.  After a year of light fixture design she craved the material, hands on approach.

“After one year working in a design office, I realized how important it is for me to work the actual material with my hand,” explains Takenouchi. “For me, the most exciting part of making things is not the designing on the paper. It is the transformation from the paper to a three dimensional actual glass object.”

She went on to work in a government run glass studio in Sapporo, Japan, called the Swedish Centre Foundation.  The gaffers there were Swedish and she learned many new skills through working with them, including different approaches to colour application, form and sandblasting techniques.

Title: Fragment of a Dream #8 & #9 Dimensions: 9” d x 21” h Details: blown glass, silver foil, brass fittings, sand-carved, assembled Year: 2008 Photo credit: Naoko Takenouchi

“My early work was heavily influenced by Swedish artists when I was working in the Swedish Centre in Northern Japan. I loved Ann Wolf’s work that time,” she recalls.  “In 1998, I saw Bertil Vallien’s show at the William Traver Gallery in Seattle. I think the show was called ‘Journey’. This show gave me a very strong inspiration. It was a wonderful example of glass sculptures with a narrative element. His work showed me a deep part of the human soul by looking through glass, just like the deep ocean.”

Takenouchi also turns to nature for inspiration and increasingly considers the impact of spirituality on her process.  She credits her experience at the Atlin Centre in northern BC in 1999 for allowing her to shift to a deeper awareness of her creative process, harnessing the energy derived from her internal scrutiny into positive self-expression.  This course of looking within for inspiration has imbued her works with a sincere and original voice.  Takenouchi has always turned to making objects and drawings as a form of self-expression rather than relying on verbal communication.

Title: Sacred Ground Dimensions: 10” w x 12” d x 14” h Details: blown glass, plate glass, sand-carved Year: 2009 Photo credit: Jill Allan

“I always loved drawing and making things with my hands since I was very little, so I feel a visual expression is very much part of myself,” she explains.  “I’ve never been a strong verbal communicator, so the desire to express myself and to seek my own identity ‑ or even our identity as conscious beings ‑ through the process of making things became a very strong focus in my life.”

She is fascinated by the connections being made by quantum physics between science and the invisible, and by how our intentions and energy affect the physical world.  She explores these ideas through reflection, but also through meditative acts, such as pilgrimage, trekking the famous Camino de Santiago route through the Pyrenees.  The trail has provided inspiration for recent works manifest in new travelers’ iconography like maps, contour lines and intersections.  While temporalizing these soulful questions and environments, Takenouchi remains grounded in how to apply them to her physical world and creative process.

Title: Detail of Nautilus form from 'Unity' Dimensions: 2” x 2” Details: hot sculpted glass Year: 2009 Photo credit: Jill Allan

“We just had devastating earthquakes in Japan, and even a month later people are experiencing aftershocks. Their nuclear plants are spreading radiation and threatening our lives. Japan has over 50 nuclear reactors in that small and unstable volcanic land. This is no longer a problem of somebody else. It’s time to shift our mindset,” she implores.  “I’ve been studying energy work and energy healing over the last few years. Some people think that’s flaky, but I’m amazed by how much our intention and energy can change our physical reality. I’d like to work towards incorporating this idea in my artwork and promote the idea that we all have an ability and responsibility to change the world.  I think during the process of making, we all transmit our energy in to our work in some level, but it’ll be interesting if I can use that intentionally in my work.”

Takenouchi admits that staying true to what you want to express with your work and spontaneously following inspiration can be a struggle when dealing with the demands of the retail gallery world and her labour-intensive process.

Each step of Takenouchi’s process is carefully planned and considered.  When she is blowing the bubbles she collects layers of colour and metal foils to later carve through with the cold equipment.  She uses clear vinyl tape to cover the entire surface of the bubble inside and out then draws on top of the tape to guide her incision of the design.  This process of elimination leaves a stencil of masking material on the glass that protects the positive areas of her design.

Title: ‘Unity’ centre piece Dimensions: 8’ h x 2’ w Details: cast, and hot sculpted glass components with textile screen and twigs. Year: 2009 Photo credit: Jill Allan

”I do lots of drawings with many forms and ideas, sometimes with writings as well. I find this process is like having a dialogue with my drawings and it can be quite fun. Once I know the design of the piece, I think about the technical process. I prefer deciding the details as I go, but often with the sandblasting process, I have to decide all the details before I start,” she said.

Throughout the process, different aspects of the design are exposed to the sandblaster, building up layers of detail and depth.  She works as a printer would, from the deepest mark to the shallowest details.  Time is of the essence as the masking materials want to shrink and move.  Takenouchi uses a variety of masking materials: anchor resist for heavy pressure sand carving (50psi), clear vinyl tape for lower pressures and white glue applied with a sponge for manipulated textural effects.  These techniques have evolved over the past two decades into an extremely sophisticated system of mark-making and signature narrative expression.

Over the last 10 years at my various jobs in galleries on the west coast, it has always been a pleasure to me to watch the public respond to Takenouchi’s work.  Even without an understanding of the intense technical process involved, the works impress the viewer with their integrity and quality.  She quietly and consistently sets a high standard. It is interesting to consider her spiritual inspirations when being in the presence of Takenouchi’s work is also a powerful spiritual experience.

Jill Allan lives on Vancouver Island, is the regional GAAC representative for BC and a really big fan of Naoko Takenouchi ra ra ra!

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Knitting With Glass

By Carol Milne

(Reprinted with the kind permission of Fibrearts magazine, Summer 2011)

Knitting wasn’t yet “cool” when I was a kid. My grandmothers both knitted, but other knitters were few and far between. I distinctly remember entering a yarn shop at the age of eleven and being mesmerized by the circle of women knitting socks in a round on four tiny needles. I had to learn. Patterns, knitters, and fine yarns were hard to come by. Paton’s, Pingouin, Vogue Knitting, and later Threads magazine, along with knitting authors Barbara Walker and Deborah Newton, were my guides as I taught myself. But without an interest in fashion and clothing design, knitting wasn’t a vocation, it was clearly a hobby.

Fast forward many years . . . I’m now a sculptor working in cast glass and metal. One day I was adding sprues to a wax piece I was going to cast in bronze. I had lots of delicious-looking strands of red sprue wax (this is a fairly soft dimensional wax that comes in two-foot lengths) lying around my studio and I thought, “I wonder if I can knit with that?” It turns out I couldn’t knit it with needles, but the question started me down a road of trial and error and experimentation until I figured out how to make it work.

The basic process I use is the ancient art of lost-wax casting used by foundry workers, jewelers, and sculptors.

A. I knit something in wax.

B. I surround the wax with a heat-tolerant refractory or investment material.

C. The wax is melted out, leaving a shell of investment around the space that was the wax object.

D. The mold is placed in a kiln, and glass is melted into the empty space.

E. The mold is removed (and destroyed in the process) to reveal the knitted-glass piece within.

Wax strands are wrapped around a knitting needle or a jig, then opened into loopy zig-zags.

“Knitting” the pieces together by hand, twisting together the ends when adding a new strand.

Gradually, the knitted wax form takes on a sock-like shape.

The completed pair of wax socks.

A complex set of “sprues,” “gates,” and “vents” are soldered to the piece with wax to provide pathways for glass to enter and air to leave the piece. Photo: Steve Isaacson

The “sprued” sock sculpture is ready to be “invested” or surrounded with several coats of a “refractory” mold material that withstands high temperatures. Photo: Mara Isaacson

The first of several layers of mold material applied to one of the sock sculptures. The mold material is built up to a thickness of 1–2 inches.

The mold is placed in a kiln upside down and lead crystal “frit” or chunks are place in the mold or in a flowerpot above the mold. The kiln temperature of 1530˚F melts the glass into the mold.

After the mold has cooled, material is carefully removed to reveal the finished piece.

The “sprues” are cut off and polished using a diamond tool.

A final surface polish with pumice completes the pieces Salt and Pepper (2011).

Carol Milne holds the finished Salt and Pepper pieces in her Seattle studio Photo: Jasmine Isaacson

So why do I feel compelled to knit in glass? Knitted goods exude comfort: soft, cozy, intimate, and heartwarming. Once they are in glass, the result loses most of the qualities we associate with knitting and becomes something else entirely.  Where we once noticed the surface and feel of the material, our emphasis now shifts to the structure of the material itself.  We notice the twisting interconnection between the stitches, the deepening of color where the stitches overlap, and the spaces between the stitches. Where it was once a flexible fabric able to mold to our bodies, it is now rigid and fragile. It is nice to look at but totally impractical to wear.

These are beautiful objects, but they are also metaphors. They speak to the fragility of life and to the tendency to judge based on appearance versus practicality.

Perhaps most importantly, I see my knitted work as a metaphor for social structure. Individual strands are weak and brittle on their own but deceptively strong when bound together. You can crack or break single threads without the whole structure falling apart. And even when the structure is broken, pieces remain bound together. The connections are what keep it intact, bringing strength and integrity to the whole.

The artist’s website is www.carolmilne.com.  Milne’s work is included in Beyond Glass at Gallery IMA in Seattle, Washington (June 2–July 3), www.galleryima.com; and The Perfect Fit: Shoes tell Stories at the Boise Art Museum in Idaho (through July 31), www.boiseartmuseum.org. Milne is also one of the winners of the 2011 Fiberarts Reader’s Choice Studio Contest.

Photos by the artist unless otherwise noted.

Copyright Fiberarts®  magazine, Interweave Press, LLC, Summer 2011. Not to be reprinted. All rights reserved.

Tricoter Du Verre

Par Carol Milne (réédité avec l’aimable autorisation du magazine Fibrearts, été 2011)

Le tricot n’était pas encore à la mode lorsque j’étais petite. Mes grands-mères tricotaient toutes les deux, mais les adeptes du tricot ne couraient pas vraiment les rues. Je me revois très bien entrer dans cette mercerie à l’âge de 11 ans et être fascinée par le cercle de femmes qui tricotaient des chaussettes sur 4 petites aiguilles en rond. Il fallait que j’apprenne. Les patrons, la tricoteuse et les pelotes de laine n’étaient pas évidents à se procurer. Patron’s, Pingouin; Vogue Tricot, et plus tard le magazine Threads ainsi que les auteurs en tricot Barbara Walker et Deborah Newton furent mes guides tandis que j’apprenais toute seule. Mais sans un intérêt quelconque pour la mode ou les styles vestimentaires, tricoter n’était pas tant une vocation en soi, c’était simplement un passe-temps.

Bien des années plus tard….  Je suis maintenant devenue sculpteuse, travaillant avec la pâte de verre et le métal. Un jour, alors que installais des jets sur une pièce de cire qui devait être coulée en bronze, je me suis retrouvée avec une multitude de filaments parfaits de cire rouge (c’est une cire de précision dimensionnelle relativement malléable mesurant 60cm) étalés dans mon atelier et je me suis dit, “je me demande si je peux tricoter avec ça?” Il s’avéra qu’il était impossible de les tricoter avec des aiguilles, mais l’idée fut le début d’un long parcours agrémenté de tentatives, d’erreurs et d’expérimentations jusqu’à ce que je trouve enfin un moyen d’y parvenir.

Le procédé de base que j’emploie est la méthode ancienne de la cire perdue, aussi utilisée par les travailleurs dans les fonderies, les orfèvres et les sculpteurs.

A. Je tricote quelque chose en cire.

B. J’entoure la cire d’un matériel réfractaire à la chaleur ou d’investissement.

C. Faisant fondre la cire, le matériel réfractaire reste tel une coquille vide autour de l’espace qu’occupait la cire.

D. Le moule est placé dans le four et du verre est coulé dans cet espace creux.

E. Le moule est retiré (et détruit dans le processus) pour dévoiler la pièce de verre tricotée qui se trouve à l’intérieur.

Les fils en cire sont enroulés autour d'une aiguille à tricoter ou d’une baguette, puis écartés pour créer des zigzags.

Les différents morceaux sont”tricotés” ensemble manuellement, et les extrémités entortillées au fil suivant.

Peu à peu, la cire tricotée prend la forme d'une chaussette.

La paire de chaussettes en cire une fois terminée.

Un jeu complexe de "filaments", de "jets" et d’"évents" en cire sont fixés à la pièce pour permettre au verre d’entrer et pouvoir laisser sortir l'air. Photo: Steve Isaacson

Les chaussettes sculptées jointes à leurs "filaments" sont prêtes à être investies en moule ou entourées de plusieurs couches de matériel réfractaire supportant une température élevée. Photo: Mara Isaacson

Première couche du matériel de moulage appliquée à l'une des chaussettes sculptées. Le moule atteint au fil des couches une épaisseur de 2-5cm.

Le moule est placé tête en bas dans le four et des fragments de Crystal y sont placés à l'intérieur ou dans un pot de fleurs posé au dessus du moule. La température du four atteignant les 830°C fait fondre le verre dans le moule.

Une fois le moule refroidi, le matériel est délicatement retiré, dévoilant la pièce achevée.

Les "filaments" sont coupés puis polis à l'aide d'un outil diamant.

Un polissage final à la pierre ponce est appliqué sur la surface des pièces Sel et Poivre (2011).

Carol Milne tenant son œuvre terminée Sel et Poivre dans son atelier de Seattle. Photo: Jasmine Isaacson

Qu’est ce qui me pousse donc à vouloir tricoter du verre? Les choses tricotées sont symboles de confort: douces, douillettes, intimes et réconfortantes. Une fois en verre, le résultat perd la majorité de ces qualités associées au tricot et devient quelque chose de tout autre. Alors que la surface et le toucher du matériau en étaient l’intérêt principal auparavant, notre attention se porte maintenant sur la structure du matériau en lui-même. On s’attarde sur le maillage sinueux entre les points, l’intensification des couleurs là où les mailles se superposent, et les espaces entre les mailles. Textile flexible et moulant auparavant, le voila à présent devenu rigide et fragile. C’est beau à regarder, mais totalement impossible à porter.

Cela donne de beaux objets mais aussi avant tout des métaphores. Ils représentent la fragilité de la vie et notre tendance à juger les choses sur leur apparence au lieu de leur aspect pratique.

Plus important encore probablement, je considère mes œuvres tricotées comme des métaphores de notre structure sociale. Faibles et cassants individuellement, les fils sont plus forts qu’ils n’y paraissent une fois reliés tous ensemble. On peut craquer ou casser des fils seuls sans que toute la structure n’en soit détruite. Et même lorsque la structure est atteinte, des morceaux restent encore attachés ensemble. Les connections sont ce qui les gardent intacts, apportant force et intégrité au tout.

Le site Internet de cette artiste est www.carolmilne.com. Le travail de Milne se retrouve dans Beyond Glass à la Galerie IMA de Seattle, Washington (2 juin – 3 juillet), www.galleryima.com; et The Perfect Fit: Shoes tell Stories (La bonne pointure: Les chaussures racontent une histoire) au Musée des Arts de Boise en Idaho (jusqu’au 31 juillet), www.boiseartmuseum.org. Milne est aussi l’une des gagnantes du Concours d’Ateliers du Choix des Lecteurs Fiberarts.

Photos faites par l’artiste sauf si mentionné autrement.

Copyright Fiberarts® magazine, Interweaves Press, LLC, été 2011. Ne peut être réimprimé. Tous droits réservés.

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President’s Message

Jamie Gray

When I was a kid growing up on a prairie farm, summer meant horse-show season.  For me, my brother and two sisters, all our time was taken up with grooming horses, exercising horses, mucking out horses, chasing horses who decided to exit the confines of the pasture.  Horses, horses, horses.  Every little girl’s dream right – being around horses 24/7?  Yeah.  Not so much.  They tend to have a will of their own and exercise it with carefree abandon, happily kicking up their heels at the puny attempts of little kids to control them.  Maybe that’s why I flee the city when the Calgary Stampede comes to town – too many bad memories.  Well, that and the overabundance of yee-haaaws and scraping fiddles echoing throughout the canyons of our downtown skyscrapers can grate on my farm-raw nerves.

Summer Horse Show, 1976 Photo credit: R. J. Maynard

Ok, I make art now that deals with all that angst and I realize I’m not exactly being a good ambassador for my city here.  Hey, the Calgary Stampede is great.  Lotsa rodeo fun, great midway scene, you could win a house, RV, Corvette.  Watch real cowboys do that oh-so-foolish thing of getting onto the backs of very large and angry bulls, and enjoy the consequent involuntary dismounts.  Wear a goofy cowboy hat, concho-laden neckerchief and painful high-heeled boots for 10 days straight.  Eat corndogs and tiny donuts and drink so much root beer that your fringed shirt strains at the snaps.  Yip-yip-yippeeee!

But that’s not what I like to include in my summer vacation.  Too many farmyard memories.

When you’re asked, “What did you do this summer?” how will you answer?  As it turns out, many of us will have sent the kids to summer camp and ourselves headed off to summer glass courses.  And there are many to choose from, both here in Canada and elsewhere.  Myself, I’ll be getting my glass class fix by teaching a couple of weeks worth of glass courses at Red Deer College’s Series: Summer School of the Arts program.  As well as short-term courses running at the colleges and schools, there is an abundance of courses being offered in independent studios.  After Red Deer, I’ll be heading off to North Lands Creative Glass in northern Scotland for a residency in August/September.  Yes, Scotland has a summer.  Yes, I consider it a vacation.  Well, ok, let’s be honest … I go for the shortbread.  But the glass-related stuff is nice too.

On vacation somewhere in the Shuswap valley, British Columbia, 1976

Oh, about the summer horse show season when I was a kid.  We did occasionally, between shows, head off for a week or two to camp as a family, usually in the Okanagan where there were (high novelty to us Alberta kids) lakes and beaches.  We’d eat peaches, cherries and apricots right off the trees until the seams on our fringed shirts threatened to split, and have a great time leaving the farm and its many duties far behind for a glorious week or two of sunburns, water-up-the-nose belly flopping, and popsicle heaven.  A great vacation looks to me, now, like the north of Scotland, but back then it was a horse-free couple of weeks on a BC beach.

Whatever summer-heaven is to you, have a great time pursuing it.  I hope it includes some glass.  Safe travels, happy adventures!  Let us know what you get up to.

Le Message du Président

1er Août 2011

Jamie Gray

Ayant grandit à la ferme, lorsque j’étais petite l’été rimait avec concours hippiques. Mon frère, mes deux sœurs et moi même passions tout notre temps à toiletter les chevaux, les entraîner, les décrotter ou rattraper ceux qui avaient décidé de s’enfuir aux confins du pâturage. Des chevaux, des chevaux, encore des chevaux. Toutes les petites filles de mon âge rêvent d’être entourées par tant de chevaux en permanence. Mouais, à mon avis pas tant que ça en fait. Ils ont tendance à avoir leur propre volonté et à en user sans limite, donnant de bons coups de sabots face aux pauvres tentatives des bambins à vouloir tenter de les maîtriser. C’est peut être aussi pour cette raison que je fuis la ville chaque fois que le rodéo de Calgary a lieu – trop de mauvais souvenirs. Enfin ça, et aussi sûrement cette surabondance de Yiihaaa et de violons stridents résonnant à travers les canyons de nos gratte-ciels et qui ont la force de mettre mes nerfs de fermière en boule.

Concours hippique d'été, 1976 Crédit Photo: R.J. Maynard

Titre: Concours hippique d’été, 1976

Crédit Photo: R.J. Maynard

D’accord, l’art que je fais maintenant autour de cette crise existentielle et j’avoue que je ne suis pas exactement la meilleur ambassadrice qui soit pour notre ville. C’est pourtant sympa le rodéo. On s’amuse bien, une bonne fête foraine, la possibilité d’y gagner  une maison, une caravane, une corvette. De voir de véritables cow-boys inconscients monter sur d’énormes taureaux en rogne et d’apprécier leur désarçonnement inévitable qui s’en suit. Porter un chapeau de cow-boy grossier, des boucles de foulard et des bottes à talons aiguilles peu confortables pendant 10 jours à la suite. Manger des pogos et des mini donuts, et puis boire tellement de boisson gazeuse que votre chemise à franges craque aux coutures. Yip-yip- yippyyyyy!

Pourtant ce n’est pas vraiment ce que j’ai envie d’avoir au programme de mes vacances d’été. Trop de souvenirs de la ferme.

Lorsqu’on vous demande “Qu’avez-vous fait cet été?” Que répondre? En fin de compte, la plupart d’entre nous avons envoyé nos enfants en camp de vacances et pour participer à des cours d’été sur le verre. Et il y a l’embarras du choix, que ce soit au Canada ou ailleurs. Moi-même, je vais aller prendre ma dose de cours verriers en enseignant quelques semaines de l’art du verre au Collège Red Deer dans le cadre de leur université d’été des arts.  En plus des cours de courte durée qui ont lieu dans les collèges et les écoles, il y a une abondance de cours proposés par des ateliers indépendants. Après Red Deer, je m’envolerai ensuite pour un stage en écosse du nord intitulé North Lands Creative Glass en août/septembre. Eh oui, il y a aussi un été en écosse. Et oui, je considère cela comme des vacances. Bon d’accord, avouons le… j’y vais surtout pour les shortbread (petits gâteaux sablés). Mais la partie relative au verre est sympa aussi.

En vacances quelque part dans la vallée Shuswap, Colombie Britannique, 1976

Titre: En vacances quelque part dans la vallée Shuswap, Colombie Britannique, 1976

Oh, et pour en revenir aux saisons hippiques de mon enfance, une fois de temps en temps quand même, on partait camper en famille pendant une semaine ou deux entre deux concours, dans l’Okanagan la plupart du temps, là où se trouvent (grande nouveauté pour ceux ayant grandit en Alberta) les lacs et les plages. Nous y mangions des pêches, des cerises et des abricots directement cueillis sur les arbres, jusqu’à ce que les coutures de nos chemises à franges menacent de craquer, et nous passions du bon temps, loin de la ferme et de ses nombreuses corvées. C’était toujours une ou deux bonnes semaines remplies de coups de soleils, de plats dans l’eau qui vous remonte dans le nez et de glaces à l’eau à profusion. Aujourd’hui, des vacances réussies ressembleraient d’avantage au nord de l’écosse mais en ces temps là, c’était simplement synonyme de quelques semaines tranquilles et sans chevaux sur une plage de Colombie Britannique.

Quelles que soient vos vacances idéales, je vous souhaite à tous d’en profiter. J’espère que cela y inclura un peu de verre. Soyez prudents sur la route et bon voyage! Racontez nous ce que vous y aurez fait.

Def. Tags:  jamie gray, gaac, president, calgary, alberta, calgary stampede, red deer college, summer courses, glass, art, north lands creative glass, bc, shuswap

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