February 1, 2011
Seminars in the Studio of Rita Neumann
December 3-5, 2010
By Marcela Rosemberg
I would like to share with you my feelings and thoughts about bringing my first international seminars on glass to the city where I was born and lived all my life until the day I emigrated to Canada 7 years ago. As they were conducted in the studio of my mentor, Rita Neumann, I’d also like to talk about her influence on my career in kilnforming.
The two seminars, with a total of seventeen artists, were sponsored by Spectrum Glass Co. In these, I talked about the technical, aesthetic characteristics and possibilities System 96 (Uroboros Glass and Spectrum Glass Company) has to offer. I explained the story that led me to start discovering the fluidity of this glass giving a special effect with suggestive movements.
The interaction was the key. Technical discussions and power point presentations about the characteristics of the glasses encouraged participants to expand their ideas. I also talked about surfaces, designs, coefficients of expansion, compatibility, deformation, motion and its variants. Temperatures for different types of firings were a major subject of consultation. Both 3mm clear and colored glass were used to develop unique designs. Once projects were completed and the kiln was opened, we saw the magical transformation of this glass which allows itself to go very deep one into the other.
As a second activity, I taught extrapolation from one language to another. A piece of fabric with a design brought by the participants was chosen to transport its language visually to glass.
On the last day we analyzed the experience as a whole. One touching moment was when each participant introduced him/herself to the group accompanied by a power point presentation expressing their feelings and what they felt was accomplished for them in that seminar. Everyone felt the seminar was full of personal discoveries.
I wanted to conduct this seminar with the artist who many years ago first gave me the tools to develop my art. She was more than a hostess. I felt that no time at all had passed by; that our bond is still the same, based on mutual respect and admiration.
It was the year 2000 when I met Rita. I remember the old studio and a triptych piece of clear bas relief glass that, lying on a shelf, caught my attention. Because of that single, influential piece, I now focus on working with clear glass.
At the seminar, Rita mentioned to me that her fond memory went back to the two long years, a decade ago, when I came regularly to study in her studio. She says that today she sees me and remembers the freshness, the predisposition and desire to know, together with my ceaseless smile. She knows that I have found in Prince Edward Island the place to flourish and develop my daily work, further my education and continue to create with the same pleasure and thoroughness that characterizes me. Having me with her again in Argentina showed her that there is no change in my identity, but that I’ve grown and continue to grow. That gives both of us great satisfaction.
Rita is not only a great artist but a great teacher because she transmits her skills and knowledge to her students with a special language and human quality. I always point out that she gave me, and is still giving me, the best of her … in those days she gave me a soft kick to help me to fly. And here I am flying and trying, as Jonathan Livingston Seagull, to maintain a steady flight. Of course there were and still are ups and downs.
Her choice of glass as a material was probably due to her curiosity about the process that leads to making a product. Coming from painting where you see an immediate result, in glass at first everything is a surprise and then, over time, the alchemy of the material takes you to further research including running more and more technical risks to achieve an image. Rita believes that its inherent beauty, light and transparency, and its fragility makes us learn to treat it gently.
It was at this time that Rita went through different techniques, constantly changing according to what she wanted to express. She began with modeling clay and proceeded to learn the long process of mold-making for glass casting. When she wanted to make “absent” male and female bodies she cast glass in the shape of clothes with no body. It was the missing shape that suggested the human body. She then used clothes as sculpture in relief technique, which she believed transferred the idea better. These appeared as shirts with flying ties and petticoats.
Rita believes that the work of an artist is never completed without the other’s gaze. Allowing the creator’s feelings and emotions to touch another person’s sensitivity is the most important and fascinating thing about this language.
Glass has been the key for me to start living in beautiful Prince Edward Island but I always look back to my beautiful Argentina and my great friend and mentor there, Rita Neumann. Together, Rita and I plan to bring to Canada a seminar to teach a unique technique in sculptural pieces sometime in July-August 2011.
Marcela Rosemberg immigrated to Prince Edward Island from Argentina in 2003, where she now lives and works. Color, beauty, simplicity, elegance and functionality are key components of her designs. In her studio she is always looking for that mix of colors and textures that leads to each carefully designed piece. Nature, the sea, and her Jewish faith are all avenues of expression for her work. You can check out her work at www.marcelarosemberg.com. Rita Neumann’s work can be seen at www.ritaneumann.com.ar.
Marcela recalls that the temperature was 35C the day she left Argentina; Canada was at –24C on the day she landed. Despite this and other challenges, she says that little by little she is settling in, as Canada is a country where she feels she can reach her goals.