Jeff Goodman Exhibition to follow ‘The Last Glass Show’ at OCC Gallery

October 15, 2012

By Brad Copping

Compass/North Bowls, Jeff Goodman, 6.5″ X 6.5″ X 4″ Photo credit : Jeff Goodman Studio

Just recently announced, the Ontario Craft Council will host an exhibition of selected works from the past 25 years of Jeff Goodman’s career.  The exhibition will run from January 10 to February 24, 2013, which will provide a focused bookend to the Glass Art Association of Canada’s survey exhibition, which opens on November 15, 2012.

Elevated Balance #5, Brad Turner

The Last Glass Show is being curated by Ryan Legassicke, a graduate of the Crafts and Design program at Sheridan College, glass program at Alberta College of Art + Design, and MFA program in Studio Practice from the State University of New York at Buffalo.  Legassicke, a contemporary Canadian artist whose international practice combines aspects of art, design and material culture, has the daunting task of bringing together a diverse collection of works, which have been created by the members of a national association.  His approach is as much about the culture that this organization supports as it is about how we contribute to it.

Landscape XI, Jesse Bromm

In an attempt to reflect the organization as a whole, and dealing with the limitations of a 900-square-foot exhibition space, the curator has decided to present a number of actual objects and a larger number of personal photographs providing an intimate view into how glass objects are lived with and experienced on a daily basis, from the eyes of those who produce it.  As Legassicke has written in his curatorial statement, “The Last Glass Show (the NEXT glass show) offers a glimpse into the ideas and efforts that, in many ways, define our collective identity from coast to coast and beyond.”

Armour, Tanya Lyons

It somehow seems rather poignant that the exhibition to follow The Last Glass Show will be a posthumous exhibition of work by Jeff Goodman who was a longtime member and supporter of both the Glass Art Association of Canada and the Ontario Crafts Council.  The idea for the exhibition, initiated by Emma Quin, executive director of the Ontario Crafts Council, is meant to celebrate Jeff, and his incredible contribution to the glass and broader craft community.  Timing the exhibition to follow the GAAC member show and align it with the 15th annual international Interior Design Show held in Toronto seems a respectful way to acknowledge Jeff, his personal contributions to our community and the significance of the work he developed.

Detail of Enso Chandelier, Dims: 40′ l x 9′w Photo credit: Tom Arban

When asked about the choice of co-curation for this exhibition Quin replied, “I really feel there is an emotional connection to handmade work, and I thought having the exhibit curated with a personal connection would draw on those emotions to a greater degree.” As a result Melanie Egan, head of craft at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, curator of numerous contemporary craft and design focused exhibitions, and co-founder/artistic director of the Toronto International Jewellery Festival, was approached to curate the exhibition.  Goodman’s long association with Harbourfront Centre, initially as an Artist-in-Residence, and for several terms as an Advisor to the Glass Studio, was how many around the glass community had come to know and respect him as a person.

Quin went on to say that, “at the same time it felt like a statement needed to be made about the significance of Jeff’s work to Canada’s craft scene, and Alan Elder was the logical person for this reason; so co-curation was the answer.”   Elder is the acting director of Ethnology and Cultural Studies and continues as the curator of Craft and Design at the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

Table (with Ovelles), Dims: 72″ x 14″ x 26″h Photo credit: David Whittaker

While Goodman’s work has spanned a vast territory, from his early cement and cast glass sculpture (I fondly remember a massive suspended boat-like piece shown at the York Quay Gallery) and lamps, his vessel work, the public art, to the more design oriented commission work and the recent architectural work for the Baha’i Temple in Santiago, Chile, the curators have noted that Goodman’s work is grounded in craft, making the venue a natural choice.

“His sculptural work is deeply grounded in the vessel.  His commissions for architecture are grounded in the history of the decorative arts and design,” said the curators. Elder and Egan go on to say that, “Jeff’s work matters because of the nature of the work itself and Jeff’s attitude toward the work.  We believe his work was/is a reflection of what Jeff enjoyed the most about glass: the process, heat, gravity and movement. He considered himself a craftsperson and designer more than an artist, yet his work had a lot of artistry.  And he had that ‘lets just try it’ attitude as well, which was a big part of his success.  He was a role model and mentor – both modest and maverick.”

Detail of Table, Dims: 72″ x 14″ x 26″h Photo credit: David Whittaker

Visitors to the exhibition will have the opportunity to see some of Goodman’s iconic vessels, as examples from his Lima and Ovelle Series will be included, as well as a selection of Compass/North Bowls.  The curators have also chosen to include examples of his commission and architectural works. Most excitingly, two tables, the stunningly beautiful tops of which Goodman developed through the expertise he and his team gained from creating the wall panels for the Baha’i Temple project, will be exhibited for the first time.

Enso Chandelier at the Ritz Carleton Hotel in Toronto, Dims: 40′ l x 9′w Photo credit: Tom Arban

The continuation of Jeff Goodman Studios is, as Emma Quin noted,  “a legacy to the work that Jeff created”. While his designs are being made by other hands this is, as Elder and Egan have stated, “an evolution of an older tradition in craft.  The ‘master’ comes up with the designs and the journeymen/apprentices make the work – all the while honing their skills.  This is when Jeff’s mentoring pays off.”

The focused examination of one of Canada’s best know (and best loved) contemporary glass makers following a dynamic overview of the work made by members of an association he cared greatly about is making Toronto the destination of choice for glass enthusiasts this winter.

The Ontario Craft Council Gallery is located at 990 Queen Street West in Toronto.

The Last Glass Show opens November 15th, from 6-9 p.m. and runs until December 28, 2012.  Jeff Goodman opens January 10, from 6-9 p.m. and runs until February 24, 2013.

Exposition de Jeff Goodman, après The Last Glass Show/ La dernière exposition de verre à la Galerie OCC

Par Brad Copping

Compas/North Bowls, Jeff Goodman, 6.5”X6.5”X4”, Crédit photo: Jeff Goodman Studio

Le Conseil des arts de l’Ontario vient d’annoncer qu’il présentera une exposition d’œuvres choisies dans les  dernières 25 années de la carrière de Jeff Goodman. Cette exposition se tiendra du 10 janvier au 24 février 2013 et couronnera l’exposition de l’Association des Arts verriers du Canada, ouverte le 15 novembre 2012.

Elevated Balance #5, Brad Turner

The Last Glass Show/La dernière exposition de verre est sous la direction de Ryan Legassicke, diplomé du programme Crafts and Design du Collège Sheridan, du programme de verre du Collège d’Art et Design de l’Alberta, et du programme MFA en Pratique de Studio de l’Université d’État de New York à Buffalo. Legassicke, un artiste canadien dont la pratique internationale combine les aspects de l’art, le design, et la culture du matériel, à l’audacieuse tâche d’assembler une collection d’œuvres diverses créées par des membres d’une association nationale. Son approche représente autant la culture que cette organisation supporte, que la façon dont nous y contribuons.

Paysage XI, Jesse Bromm

Dans un désir de montrer l’organisation comme un tout, et forcé de respecter les limites d’un espace de 900 pieds carrés, le conservateur a choisi de présenter un certain nombre d’objets réels et un plus grand nombre de photographies personnelles présentant une vue intime des façons de vivre quotidiennement avec des objets de verre, depuis les yeux de ceux qui les ont produits. Comme Legassicke l’a écrit dans sa présentation, “The Last Glass Show/La dernière exposition de verre (the NEXT glass show/la prochaine exposition de verre) présente un aperçu des idées et des efforts qui, de plusieurs façons, précisent notre identité commune d’un océan à l’autre et au-delà.

Armure, Tanya Lyons

Il semble, d’une certain façon, émouvant que l’exposition qui suivra The Last Glass Show/La dernière exposition de verre soit une exposition posthume des œuvres de Jeff Goodman  qui fut longtemps membre et partisan aussi bien de l’Association des Arts verriers du Canada que du Conseil des métiers d’art de l’Ontario. L’idée pour cette exposition, choisie par Emma Quin, directrice du Conseil des arts de l’Ontario, voulait célébrer Jeff et son incroyable contribution au verre et à toute la communauté artisanale. Programmant cette exposition après l’exposition des membres de GAAC/AAVC et l’alignant avec la 15è  présentation annuelle international du Design d’intérieur semble une façon respectueuse de reconnaitre Jeff, son apport personnel à notre collectivité et la pertinence de l’œuvre qu’il a développée

Détail du chandelier Enso, Dim.:40’l X 9’L,credit photo: Tom Arban

Quand on l’a interrogée sur son choix de conservation adjoint de l’exposition, Quin a répondu: “Il me semble réellement sentir une connexion émotive pour le travail manuel, et j’ai pensé que de joindre une connexion personnelle à la conservation  pourrait hisser ces émotions à un plus haut dégrée”.  C’est pourquoi Melanie Egan, directrice des métiers d’art au Centre Harbourfront de Toronto, conservatrice de plusieurs expositions contemporaines de métiers d’art et de design et co-fondatrice/directrice artistique du Festival International de Bijoux de Toronto a été approchée pour assurer la conservation de cette exposition. Goodman a eu une longue association avec le Centre Harbourfront, d’abord comme un artiste-en-résidence et pour plusieurs mandats comme Conseiller de l’Atelier de verre. Voilà comment tant de personnes du milieu verrier en sont venues à le connaître et à le respecter comme personne.

Qin poursuit en disant: «il semblait en même temps qu’un énoncé devait souligner la portée du travail de Jeff sur la scène des métiers d’art du Canada, et Alan Elder était la personne qui s’imposait pour cette raison’’ donc une collaboration s’imposait. Elder est le directeur des Études en Ethnologie et Culture et continue d’œuvrer comme conservateur des Métiers d’art et Design du Musée canadien des Civilisations.

Table (avec Ovelles),Dim.: 72”X14”X26”h, credit photo:David Whittaker

Goodman à couvert un vaste territoire, depuis sa première sculpture de ciment et de pâte de verre (Je me rappelle d’une pièce massive suspendue aux allures de bateau, montrée à la York Quay Gallery) des lampes, son travail de bateau, d’art public, jusqu’au travail plus orienté vers le design et son travail architectural récent pour le Temple Baha’I à Santiago au Chili. Les conservateurs ont pris note que l’œuvre de Goodman est ancré dans le métier d’art, justifiant cette présentation.

“Son travail sculptural est profondément ancré sur le navire. Son travail commissionné pour l’architecture s’alimente de l’histoire des arts décoratifs et du design”, disent les conservateurs. Elder et Egan poursuivent en disant: «Le travail de Jeff est important à cause de la nature même de son travail et son attitude face au travail. Nous croyons  que son œuvre était et est une réflexion sur ce qui plaisait le plus à Jeff dans le verre: les étapes, la chaleur, le poids et le mouvement. Il se considérait comme artisan et designer plus que comme artiste, bien que son travail reste très artistique. Il présentait cette attitude “essayons pour voir” qui lui a valu une grande part de son succès. Il a été un modèle et un conseiller, aussi bien modeste que rassurant.

Détail de table. Dim.: 72”X14”X26”h, credit photo:David Whittaker

Les visiteurs auront l’opportunité de voir quelques vaisseaux iconiques de Goodman, comme ces exemples des séries Lima et Orvelle ainsi qu’une sélection de Compas/North Bowls. Les conservateurs ont choisi d’ajouter des exemples d’œuvres commissionnées et des travaux architecturaux. Principalement deux tables, montrées pour la première fois, dont la surface supérieure a été développée grâce à son expertise et celle de son équipe lorsqu’ils travaillaient aux panneaux muraux du Temple Baha’i.

Chandelier Enso à l’hôtel Ritz Carleton à Toronto, Dim.:40’lX9’L, credit photo:Tom Arban

La suite de l’atelier de Jeff Goodman est, comme le note Emma Quin, “un héritage au travail que Jeff a créé”.  Pendant que ses designs sont réalisés par d’autres mains, comme l’affirment Elder et Egan “C’est une suite de la vieille tradition de l’artisanat. Le maître vient avec un dessin et les travailleurs et apprentis réalisent l’œuvre, tout en affinant leur habileté. C’est alors que l’encadrement de Jeff rapporte.”.

La concentration sur l’œuvre d’un verrier canadien contemporain très connu (et très aimé) après avoir vu les travaux de membres d’une association chère à son cœur, fait de Totonto une destination de choix cet hiver pour les passionnés du verre.

Le Conseil des métiers d’art de l’Ontario est situé au 990 Queen Street West, à Toronto.

The Last Glass Show commence le 15 novembre, de 6-9 p.m. et se poursuit jusqu’au 28 décembre 2012. Jeff Goodman commence le 10 janvier, de 6-9 p.m. et se poursuit jusqu’au 24 février 2013.

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Gord Webster Remembers Jeff Goodman

I worked for Jeff for about two years part-time and knew him as an advisor through Harbourfront Centre while I was there for three years.

One of my highlights at Harbourfront was when Jeff asked me to be in a show with him that was called Person to Person a Continuum in 2003.  Jeff was very inspiring to me and one of the first people in the glass world that really gave me hope to pursue glass as a business.  He proved to me that it could be done in Canada.  The way in which he worked with architectural glass and with his artistic practice was really amazing.  Jeff was really positive and this was probably the biggest thing that I learned from him.  He took on projects with no fear.  His youthful and energetic demeanor made me think he could do anything.

I’ve had a really hard time coming to terms with Jeff’s death because of this, I think. I still can’t believe he is gone. I’ve been busy raising two kids and starting our own hotshop; I didn’t even know Jeff had cancer. I wish I had told him at one point what an inspiration he was to me and that working for him was one of the highlights of my professional career. I’ll always remember Jeff when I get into a project and start thinking of everything that might go wrong and I often stop myself and think ‘Jeff would just do it’, stop thinking and do it.  He was a great mentor.

Compass Bowl – Jeff Goodman

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Laura Donefer Remembers Jeff Goodman

By: Laura Donefer


What follows was prepared and presented by Laura Donefer at Jeff’s Celebration of Life service.

Once in awhile a golden comet of a human being sails through your orbit and dazzles you with their inner beauty and outer effervescence.  Jeff Goodman was that comet, a brilliant human being who left us too early, a man golden from deep within his core,  a fundamentally first-rate person who was decent and good through and through……..and someone who is leaving a giant hole in our community.

So we come together today to honour a man who has contributed greatly to our glass family, and to mourn his loss.  All of us here tonight can hold onto our unique personal memories of Jeff, and we will let his family know that he is someone who will always be in our hearts. Jeff Goodman will never be forgotten, he will be remembered as our wonderfully generous and eternally optimistic friend and colleague. He will be sorely missed and always loved.

In 1982 I showed up at Sheridan College and was gently persuaded by Dan Crichton to join the glass studio, as I had originally gone there for jewellery. I was older than a lot of the students there, and upon first meeting the second-years thought, “Why is there a teenager in this group?” Of course that was a very boyish Jeff, who rapidly became my role model even though he was the youngest student there. He literally glowed with youthful enthusiasm and energy, and it seemed at times like there was a whirling dervish zipping through our midst, always on the go: blowing GIANT glass, precociously running a craft business with his classmate Sheila Mahut, secretly dashing off to play golf or squash, always with multiple projects happening.  And he did not dress like a glass artist, so he stood out in his deck shoes and beige chino pants and button-down shirts while we all looked like hippies in our Birkenstocks and ripped colourful cotton wear.

But Jeff stood out in another way; he was always remarkably kind, always generous, continuously giving of himself and would always take the time to lend a hand to his friends. I don’t think that trait ever changed, only growing more powerful as he matured

Way back then, Jeff would let me  – a lowly first year – watch him blow glass and even help him and he could take more gathers than anyone around, which made my eyes pop out! Once, Jeff was making this huge piece about three feet long, and he had it on the punty and he was doing a last flash before boxing it, and low and behold one fat raindrop came through the holey roof of the old Quonset hut and landed precisely on the punty and SMASH, the whole piece came crashing down. I almost threw up I was so upset but Jeff, no, nothing phased him at all and he looked at me cowering in the corner and without batting an eye said “Laura, let’s make another one, that was fun!”  I give that as an example of how Jeff flowed through life:mfull of zeal, full of passion and letting nothing get in his way, and nothing phase him.  He was always up for a challenge.

Memories of Jeff abound, and it seems as if it was only yesterday we were at Harbourfront together in the glass studio. What comes to mind was his passion for the art of blowing glass, he did it like he was born with a blow pipe in his hand. So graceful, and also a bit crazy! Jeff might have dressed the part of the straight man, but he was just as zany as the rest of the glass artists. Time and time again I would be Jeff’s assistant on these ridiculously gargantuan platters that he would spin out and time and time again they never quite fit in the annealer, and it would become a frantic race grabbing fiber frax and molding it over the rim of the plate that would be sticking out. Once we were hanging out at the Harbourfront glass studio and there was a colossal  crack and we watched in horror as a large hunk of the lip exploded off of one of Jeff’s not-so-well-annealed plates and went sailing past his face to crash onto the floor. Again, I was cowering, my heart pounding thinking O-NO-O-NO, and Jeff did not bat an eye. He calmly got some colour ready to make another one. Like I said, nothing phased him, and I do believe I never heard one swear word come from his mouth, a true rarity in the hot shop environment.

Looking back, those were truly marvelous years; the unbridled thrill of learning to work with glass at Sheridan followed by our stint at Harbourfront, endeavouring to become more professional, learning the ropes of reality, so to speak. Blowing glass collectively  fused us all together in a way I cannot even explain; such a motley crew that became a family, bonded by the intense experience of growing up in the hot shop! Watching Jeff develop from a gifted yet fledgling 20-year-old to a tremendously respected established artist and designer was quite awe inspiring. He launched into life after Harbourfront as if from a springboard, creating a successful business as well as the most important relationship he would foster with his soul mate Mercedes.

Post Harbourfront I did not see Jeff as often as I would have liked to; we sometimes taught together, were on various committees, somehow even managed dinner now and again, but he was uber busy, as was I. Jeff’s number one priority had become his family. On one occasion he had an opening of his work at Elena Lee’s Gallery in Montreal, and Susan Edgerley and I were waiting for him to arrive from Toronto so we could take him out for dinner and finally have a quality visit. To our utter dismay Jeff stayed the requisite two hours at his vernissage and then jumped  into his car and drove the seven hours back to Toronto. He did not want to spend one night away from Mercedes. That to me illuminated who the essential Jeff was: a man dedicated to his art, but even more dedicated to his heart. He was devoted to his family, his career, his friends, his students, his colleagues.

And speaking from my heart and I am sure for all of you here tonight, we are all devoted to Jeff, our most gentle and caring friend, who lived his life with humour and enthusiasm and an uninhibited fervour for his people, his projects, his passions.  I know that Jeff would want us all to leave here and endeavor to live our lives as he lived his, full speed ahead, living every moment to the hilt, and letting nothing phase us.

 

Goodnight Jeff, we love you.

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Elena Lee Remembers Jeff Goodman

How is it that the best and brightest have to go first.

We lost François Houdé and Daniel Crichton and now Jeff.

How shall we ever recover from such loss? Jeff was so full of life and energy. So many other artists looked up to him as a shining example. He was that rare artist who could maintain a thriving business and still not neglect his creative side.

We have known him for over 30 years, since his student days at Sheridan in 1981-1982. He was remarkable from the very first. Constantly challenging himself, he experimented with every technique that came his way. Explored it, then moved on.

Tribute Image – Elena Lee

Finally he settled on two very different avenues. One was his architectural glass, executed in the cast glass tradition, the other his free form blown glass. While his architectural work gained him praise and recognition, for us as his gallery, it was his soaring glass bodies that made us aware that we were dealing with an outstanding artist.

In his early years he had created sensuous bowls, beautiful flat vessels with graphic designs big ziggurat forms blown into wooden molds, that brought the fire department to his studio. But in the end all that fell away and he concentrated on the essential: pure form.

It is the sign of the mature artist that he can do more with less.  His sensuous, soaring shapes are of one colour only, no decor.  Their twists and turns impossible to achieve with tools rather it was the artist’s extraordinary control of the molten mass that allowed him to gently modulate these huge forms. They resemble nothing so much as bodies: a couple leaning towards each other, a long necked bird. They are frozen motion, beautifully balanced, serene.

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For Jeff

By: David Williamson

To be honest, I didn’t want to write this article. I regretted saying yes almost as soon as I told Steve [Tippin] that I would, because it means returning to a sorrow I had just begun to leave behind. However, Jeff has given me so much over the years, things both tangible and intangible, so how could I not?

It’s hard to know where to start and where to end, but I will do my best to do justice to those who know and love Jeff and for those who will never meet him, but know him through the impact he has had on Canadian glass.

Geoffrey James Goodman spent his early years in British Columbia and Toronto; he attended Sheridan College and Alfred University, ultimately earning his BFA at The University of Illinois. After a residency at Harbourfront Centre, he opened his first hot shop in Toronto. Even with this commitment, he still found time to serve as an advisor to the Harbourfront Glass Studio, to teach at Sheridan College, and to act as a board member for both the Ontario Crafts Council and the Glass Art Association of Canada.

In 2009, Jeff was diagnosed with cancer; he died peacefully with his family in March 2012. Jeff handled his illness with grace and dignity never letting it affect his responsibilities and relationships (instead he used it as an excuse to play more golf during work hours than ever before).

Over the five years I spent working for Jeff, we spent a lot of time together. Mostly we focused on work—problem-solving, planning, and updating each other on new techniques or tools we could possibly incorporate into our projects. We also chatted about things that friends chat about, like movies, music (he loved any type of jazz), what we did on the weekend, stuff like that. But it was when we were blowing glass together that the purest communication happened. The relationship of a glassblower and assistant is one of action on the part of the gaffer and anticipation on the part of the assistant.

The more I got to work with Jeff in the hot shop, the better I became at anticipating his actions and responding to his unspoken directions, at judging his moods and temperament. Our sounds were the gentle roar of the furnace and glory hole, the clink of a tool being set down, a blast of compressed air, or the whirl of a fan. Our smells were swiftly melting wax, burnt newspaper, or a smoldering shoe if I lost my focus. No competition; just action and appropriate reaction. Since his passing, I’ve come to realize how lucky I am to have spent that sort of time with him. Jeff’s presence was always felt, but it was in those moments that his focus and drive were so apparent, his peace in the sport of blowing glass so enviable. Truly he was experiencing something that people from all walks of life strive for—a perfect harmony of mind, body and soul. Jeff’s power was subtle yet instant, and I didn’t fully understand it until those moments.

Jeff Goodman blowing glass

Jeff had a unique understanding of his work and what it meant to be successful in the world of glass—over time shifting from functional production work to high-end blown glass and one-of-a-kind installations.

Seeing himself as a craftsman more than an artist, his love of glass came from the sport and physical skill required to work the material. His comfort and ease can be seen in all his blown work, which rely heavily on an understanding of the forces that affect glass like gravity, heat, and centrifugal force. Looking at the sandcast glass panels that fill homes and public spaces, it’s easy to see that his understanding of pattern and 2D space was just as strong. He was fond of ceramics, particularly the Raku technique, and he never limited himself to projects that consisted solely of glass.

He loved artists who worked with wood and nature like Chris Drury and printmakers like Antoni Tápies or Cy Twombly, whose influence can be seen in Jeff`s Scribe pieces.  His career also included working with other creative people such as architects, designers and craftspeople. He had a knack for attracting the best, and then getting the best out of them. Past employees have gone on to found studios of their own and are now important members of the Canadian glass community.

His biggest project came in 2005 when he was commissioned by Hariri Pontarini Architects of Toronto to produce 44,000 sq ft of cast glass for the exterior of the Bahá’í Mother Temple in Santiago, Chile. Though he did not live to see its completion, the project broadened the idea of what is actually possible for a small studio to undertake, and he should be admired for the guts he had to say yes to that project.

I have heard it said that Jeff had many families. His wonderful wife and children, brother and sister and their children and spouses, childhood cohorts, schoolmates, tennis, squash and golf buddies, and those he worked with, just to name a few. I belong in the last category, but no matter what ‘family’ you come from, I know that you felt loved and respected by Jeff. I know that he made you feel powerful in your own way and confident to be the best version of yourself. Jeff’s strength and self-understanding seemed to touch each individual that met him, making everyone around him a little bit better.

As a catalyst for growth in the glass community, for creativity, for sheer genuine humanity, Jeff was simply a wonderful person, and, although his loss is felt most strongly by those who knew him, we cannot imagine the impact he has had on the future of Canadian glass. I feel blessed to have worked beside him and will carry his influence with me for the rest of my life.

Pour Jeff

Par : David Williamson

Franchement, je ne souhaitais pas écrire cet article. Quand Steve (Tippin) me l’a demandé, j’ai regretté  tout de suite de lui avoir dit oui, car ça voulait dire revenir sur une douleur qui commençait à peine à s’éloigner. Mais Jeff m’a tellement donné durant toutes ces années, tant de façon tangible qu’intangible, qu’il m’était impossible de refuser.

Difficile de savoir par où commencer et comment finir.  Je vais tenter de faire de mon mieux pour satisfaire ceux qui ont connu et aimé Jeff, ainsi que ceux qui ne le rencontreront jamais mais qui l’ont connu au travers de son impact sur le verre canadien.

Geoffrey James Goodman a débuté en Colombie Britannique ainsi qu’à Toronto. Inscrit d’abord au  Collège Sheridan puis à  Alfred , il obtient par la suite son baccalauréat de l’Université de l’ Illinois. Après une résidence au centre Harbourfront , il ouvrit son premier atelier à Toronto. Malgré cet engagement, il parvenait toujours à trouver du temps pour être  conseiller auprès des verriers en résidence à  Harbourfront, enseigner au Collège Sheridan et être membre des conseils d’administration du Conseil des métiers d’art de l’Ontario et de L’association canadienne du verre d’art .

Atteint par le cancer en 2009, Jeff décéda paisiblement au sein de sa famille en mars 2012. Faisant face avec grâce et dignité, Jeff n’a jamais laissé sa maladie prendre le dessus sur ses responsabilités et ses relations (bien au contraire, il en profitait pour pouvoir jouer encore plus au golf pendant ses heures de travail qu’avant).

Les cinq années passées à travailler en sa compagnie  nous ont permis de passer beaucoup de temps ensemble. La plupart du temps, nous nous concentrions sur le travail,  résoudre des problèmes, planifier et se tenir informé des nouvelles techniques et des outils que nous pouvions incorporer dans nos projets. Nous discutions aussi de choses et d’autres dont les amis parlent : de cinéma, de musique (il adorait beaucoup le jazz), de nos activités du weekend, ce genre de choses. Mais c’est en soufflant le verre ensemble que nous parvenions à la communication la plus pure entre nous. La relation entre le souffleur de verre et son assistant se caractérise par l’action du souffleur et l’anticipation de son assistant.

Plus je travaillais à l’atelier avec Jeff, et plus j’arrivais à anticiper ses actes et à répondre à ses directions muettes, en fonction de  ses humeurs et de son tempérament. Nos bruits étaient le ronronnement doux de l’arche et du four de fusion, le tintement d’un outil que l’on repose, le souffle de l’air comprimé ou la spirale d’un ventilateur. Nos odeurs étaient celles de la cire qui fond doucement, du papier journal brulé ou d’une chaussure fumante lorsque je me déconcentrais. Pas de concurrence, juste de l’action et la réaction appropriée. Depuis sa mort, je me suis rendu compte à quel point j’avais eu de la chance d’avoir pu passer ces moments avec lui. La présence de Jeff était toujours intense, mais c’est dans ces moments-là que sa concentration et son dynamisme étaient au plus fort, rendant sa force tranquille en soufflage des plus enviables. Clairement, il parvenait à ressentir vraiment ce à quoi beaucoup de gens de tous horizons aspirent – une harmonie parfaite entre la pensée, le corps et l’esprit. Le pouvoir de Jeff était subtile mais instantané et je ne l’avais jamais vraiment ressentit jusqu’à dans ces moments-là.

L’approche de Jeff dans son travail et son avis sur la réussite dans le monde du verre  était unique. Passant avec le temps de la production fonctionnelle au soufflage de verre de haut niveau et à la confection d’installations incomparables.

Se considérant artisan plutôt qu’artiste, son amour pour le verre provenait du sport et de l’effort physique nécessaires pour travailler ce matériau. Toutes ses œuvres soufflées nous montrent à quel point il maitrisait les forces qui influent sur le verre comme la gravité, la chaleur et la force centrifuge. En voyant les panneaux de verre dépolis qui remplissent les maisons et les espaces publiques, on se rend compte aisément que sa compréhension des motifs et de l’espace en 2D était tout aussi solide. Il aimait la céramique, en particulier la technique de Raku et ne se limitait pas seulement à des projets spécifiques au verre.

Il adorait les artistes travaillant avec le bois et la nature comme Chris Drury et les sérigraphes tels qu’Antoni Tápies et Cy Twombly dont on retrouve l’influence dans les œuvres Scribe de Jeff. Au cours de sa carrière, Il a aussi travaillé avec d’autres personnes créatives comme des architectes, des designers et des artisans. Il avait le don d’attirer les meilleurs et d’en sortir le meilleur d’eux-mêmes. Certains de ses précédents employés sont partis par la suite fonder leur propre atelier et sont à présent membres eux aussi de la communauté verrière canadienne.

Son plus grand projet date de 2005 lorsqu’il fut choisi par les Architectes Hariri Pontarini de Toronto pour produire 44,000 pieds2 de pâte de verre pour l’extérieur du Temple Mère de Bahá’í à Santiago au Chili. Bien qu’il ne vit pas son œuvre achevée, le projet ouvre l’esprit sur ce qu’il est réellement possible d’entreprendre au sein d’un petit atelier et il est admirable d’avoir eu le cran d’accepter un tel projet.

J’ai entendu dire que Jeff avait de nombreuses familles. Sa merveilleuse femme et ses enfants, ses frères et sœurs avec enfants et époux, ses amis d’enfance et d’études, ses copains de tennis, golf et squash, et ceux avec qui il travaillait, pour n’en citer que quelques-unes. J’appartiens à la dernière catégorie, mais qu’importe la famille à laquelle on appartenait, on se sentait apprécié et respecté de Jeff.  Il nous donnait de quoi se sentir sûr de nous à notre façon et prendre confiance en soi.  En rencontrant Jeff, on se sentait touché par sa force et sa compréhension des choses et chacun autour de lui  se sentait un petit peu mieux.

Son côté humain et sa créativité ont fait de lui un mentor pour l’expansion de la communauté du verre.  Jeff était tout simplement une personne merveilleuse et même si ceux qui l’ont connu ressentent plus profondément encore sa perte, il est difficile d’imaginer l’impact qu’il a eu sur le futur du verre canadien. Je me sens privilégié d’avoir pu travailler à ses côtés et je porterai son influence en moi toute ma vie.

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Julie Reimer remembers Jeff Goodman

When Irene Frolic asked Tyler and I to be co-presidents of the Board of GAAC, I felt so honoured but panicked at the same time. At that point I had been practicing as a professional artist for just a few years and although I had been to few conferences and had been a volunteer, I just felt like I didn’t know enough about Canadian glass or the organization. I was relieved that Tyler was splitting the job with me, but as his teaching responsibilities at ACAD grew, my role as president became more involved.

When I look back at my time on the Board, I think about how much work it was, but I also think I received an education about so many things. One of my principal teachers on the Board, and in my life at that time, was Jeff Goodman. His contributions to Board decisions and activities were sage and true. If Jeff said he would do something, I knew I could count on him to do it. He demonstrated in his day-to-day actions so many values I admire. To me his honour was a line that went from his words to his actions. Jeff taught me by example and although his knowledge surpassed my own, he shared it in a kind way.

Since that time I have looked up to Jeff as an example of how to be a practicing artist – hard working, talented, savvy, I also looked up to him as a human being: kind, full of integrity, giving to your community with humility. He did all of these things not for any validation or self-promotion but I believe just because he knew it was the right thing to do.  He was truly a good man and he made many better by his way of being.

Jeff Goodman with past GAAC president Brad Copping

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President’s Message: October 2012

Jamie Gray

The glass community is not that large and, as such, it is a community of familiar faces, names and work.  Although there are always those whom we haven’t met, we’re aware of who’s out there, who is making glass or talking about glass, where they’re from, what they’re thinking about.  So when someone from our community passes on, whether we know them personally or not, what we do know is that each and every one of us feel and mourn that loss.

In the past year or so, we as a community have lost some of our most respected, loved and admired members:  Shirley Elford, Clark Guettel, Jeff Goodman, Kevin Gray and Lisa Wuohela.  I had planned on reviewing some of the writings, work and accomplishments of these individuals but I decided that although I did know about them, I didn’t know them personally, and accolades should be left to those who did.  As you carry on reading, you’ll hear personal stories, memories and accounts from friends and colleagues who lived and worked alongside them and who can give a little more insight into the lives of those we have lost.

Although it is natural and important to grieve the loss of our friends, let us also remember to celebrate their lives, accomplishments and contributions as well as their places and indeed all our places within this glass community. It is a community full of passionate and forthright people, creative, thinking and caring people, people who like to have a good time, people celebrating humanity.  I can think of no better folks with which to spend my life

So read the stories and accounts about the friends and colleagues we have lost from those who knew them best and grieve, yes absolutely, but also enjoy, acknowledge and celebrate the lives they lived, the legacies they left, and the memories we have.

 

Tears are sometimes an inappropriate response to death.  When a life has been lived completely honestly, completely successfully, or just completely, the correct response to death’s perfect punctuation mark is a smile.    Julie Burchill

Octobre 2012: Le mot de la Présidente

Jamie Gray

La communauté verrière n’est pas très grande et de ce fait, elle comporte nombre de visages familiers, d’œuvres et de noms bien connus. Bien qu’il y en ait forcément certains que nous n’ayons pas rencontrés, nous savons qui en fait partie, qui travaille le verre ou en parle, qui vient d’où et qui pense quoi. Alors quand une personne de notre communauté décède, que nous la connaissions personnellement ou non, ce que nous savons pour sûr est que chacun d’entre nous sera endeuillé par cette perte.

L’année passée, notre communauté a perdu quelques-uns de ses membres les plus respectés, aimés et admirés: Shirley Elford, Clark Guettel, Jeff Goodman, Kevin Gray et Lisa Wuohela. J’avais prévu de revenir sur leurs écrits, leurs œuvres et leurs accomplissements, mais bien que je sache certaines choses à leur sujet, je me suis dit que je ne les connaissais pas personnellement et qu’il valait mieux laisser ces éloges à ceux qui les ont vraiment connus. En poursuivant votre lecture, vous lirez des anecdotes personnelles, des souvenirs et des histoires racontées par amis et collègues ayant vécu et travaillé à leur côté et pouvant nous fournir un petit aperçu de la vie de ceux qui nous ont quitté.

Bien qu’il soit normal et important de pleurer  nos amis, n’oublions pas non plus de saluer leurs vies, leurs accomplissements, ce qu’ils ont apporté, ainsi que leur place, et même toutes nos places au sein de la communauté verrière. C’est une communauté forte de gens passionnés et francs, de personnes attentionnées, pensantes et créatives qui apprécient de passer du bon temps et de célébrer l’échange culturel. Je n’aurais pu trouver meilleure compagnie avec qui passer ma vie.

Alors régalez-vous des histoires et dires concernant ces amis et collègues que nous avons perdu et qui vous sont raconté par ceux qui les connaissaient les mieux.  Et puis faites votre deuil bien sûr, mais sachez aussi apprécier,  honorer et célébrer la vie qu’ils ont eue, leur contribution et le souvenir qu’ils nous ont laissé.

Les larmes sont parfois une réponse inappropriée à la mort. Lorsqu’une vie a été vécue en toute honnêteté, pleine de réussite, ou même tout simplement complètement, la bonne réaction au parfait point de ponctuation de la mort est un sourire. Julie Burchill

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