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At long last it’s here!  Our eagerly awaited glass workshop has begun.  This past week we met Jonathan Swanz (glass artist, yogi, and guy in the green shirt) at Louisville’s Glassworks shop for an orientation, but it went further than that!  We initially scheduled this trip to get our artists used to a new studio and to see logistically what needed to happen to make this all flow smoothly.  The staff at Glassworks made us feel welcome.   And Jonathan surprised us all when he said we should try to make something simple like a sun catcher.  For most of us, this was our introduction to a new material and method of working.

We brought our supplies and Jonathan gave us a quick overview on some basic concepts and techniques for handling the glass.  I was pleased to see that everyone in our group was into it!  We began by having our staff cut the glass into roughly 4″ x 5″ rectangles.  Organic shapes are especially hard to cut.  Next colors were chosen and glass shapes cut to lay upon these rectangles in compositions of our artists’ choosing. 

Here’s an example of what we were doing.  Once the glass pieces were in position, they would be glued down with a special adhesive that would burn out in the kiln.  Under high heat (1800 degrees) all the glass would “fuse” together creating a unified surface.  This is the basic technique we will be using to create artworks that ultimately will be shown at the Weber Gallery during the Glass Art Society’s gathering in Louisville.  The next time we visit Glassworks, we can check out the finished sun catchers and we will post of few of those here. 

In this image, Jonathan is assisting Eric and Sally with gluing the pieces down.  It’s funny how the glue being used is pink and one of our group thought it looked like Pepto Bismal!  Here are Terry and Dorcas working on their projects.  For the StudioWorks artists that like to work geometrically, this is going to play to their strengths.  For our artists that prefer representation, this will be a great excercise in abstraction.  Terry and Dorcas were having a blast and the whole experience was so stimulating.

The majority of our glass sessions are scheduled for the month of May.  Our goal is to eventually move on to more ambitious projects that we can exhibit.  Once the glass is fused, it can then be shaped by “slumping” it in a mold.  Again under high heat, the glass sheet softens and conforms to the interior shape of the mold.  Here is a display of the types of molds that can be used to create bowls, vases, platters, and more.

Since this experience, our artists have been itching to go back and I can’t blame them.  I think we all really enjoyed our first foray with glass.  There are so many partners to thank for this experience, but I would like to begin by thanking the folks at Glassworks for their hospitality and to say we look forward to working with you to help realize our projects!

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