April 10, 2012
Carol, Emelia, Amy and I piled into Cherrybaby last night and headed for the Pearl, to see who won the Emerge competition. (Or maybe it’s eMerge–Bullseye and I never quite connect on their camel case).
The show was down at the Bullseye Gallery, one of my favorite artspots in town, probably because it’s almost a work of art in itself and one of the few things that could make me wax nostalgic for Soho (long story). The awards were announced Saturday night at a surprisingly low-key reception, given the excitement that usually surrounds the event and the distances people travel to get here — Argentina, Poland, etc.
There wasn’t a popular prize this year, a pity because as usual none of the pieces I thought purchase-worthy came within sniffing distance of a prize. Peasant that I am when it comes to art matters, my taste usually runs with the crowd.
This year, I would have given the popular prize to a delightfully sinister assortment of children’s blocks cast in almost-candy-colored glass, Carol & William Hutchison’s Dangerous Toys.
The gold award, best in show, was taken by French artist Emilie Haman, for “Once Upon a Time,” though, and I definitely approved. It’s an edgy cast piece (left), a shoe for a pig, and so thoroughly French I could almost hear “La Vie en Rose” in the background.
(And if that connection confuses you, try reading the original French version of Cinderella, Cendrillon, and you’ll see what I mean. French fairy tales are NOT romantic, NOT the sugary literary confection you’d expect and NOT for kids.)
The requisite “so how did she DO that?” recognition went to Karen Mahardy’s big folded glass construction. She doubled down, took both the academic prize and the newcomer award.
It was a fun night, although I generally expect at least three or four pieces that slam me into the studio, inspiring me to a fever pitch of experimentation. Didn’t find that this year–the emphasis seemed to be on personal content, not breaking new ground. Ironically, most of my “innovation fix” came from previous Emergers–Jeff Wallin, Kate Baker, Cobi Cockburn, Carrie Iverson, etc.–whose new work was also on display.
Instead, this year really brought home the importance of great photography and even greater gallery lighting. Glass is tough to photograph well, I think because a big part of its impact comes from how artwork, light and viewer interact. Pieces like Amy Westover’s Code, beautifully positioned and lit, had far more impact (for me) in person, while other pieces in the show didn’t live up to their photos.
But all in all, a fun night. Made some new friends, re-engaged with old friends, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Congratulations, everyone.
February 4, 2012
“WOW!” we said, almost simultaneously, “I didn’t know he had work in Traver Gallery!”
My friend Becky and I were up in Tacoma, visiting the (what else) glass museum and as usual stopped at Traver for a peek. We saw the work of a good friend in the window and, tickled, went inside to check it out.
Surprise! It was actually the work of another respected glass artist.
October 21, 2011
To put it more understandably, Bullseye just unleashed a new website design on the world and in the process broke a whole boatload of links to really important content. Bullseye’s technical documents are pretty much without peer in the art glass industry; I link to them a LOT.
So now a whole boatload of links on MY website are now busted. I am an unhappy camper.
I’m assured that Bullseye technical wizards are working their fingers off to speedily fix those broken links. Until they do, if you click a link on my site and it breaks on bullseyeglass.com, your best bet is to type whatever you’re looking for into the Bullseye search box.
Sorry about that.
And would somebody PLEASE tell me where the reactivity charts live?
September 29, 2011
So here’s one more reason to buy an iPad (as if I needed one): Bullseye‘s just released a very cool little IOS app for glassists, and it works on iPhone, iPod Touch and…(drumroll)…iPad. And it’s free.
It’s a collection of Bullseye tools and educational documents, pretty much what you find on Bullseye’s website, including tipsheets and technical notes. There’s a Fahrenheit/Celsius converter in there, weblinks to the Bullseye Gallery, their online store and other parts of the website, and a browse-able version of the latest Bullseye catalog.
July 7, 2011
Lemme borrow a writer’s proverb for a sec:
I hate coldworking. I love having coldworked. More particularly, I love having coldworked by hand.*
I’ve so far found nothing to match the incredible, silky finish you get with hand-coldworking a piece of glass, so I was really interested in Paul Tarlow’s new book, Coldworking Glass without Machines: A complete guide to creating better fused, lampworked & blown glass artwork without spending a small fortune on big equipment.
June 23, 2011
BeCON’s over and done, my creativity is stirred, my glassjones are bubbling, and I’m bubbling over with new glassist friends. Here’s a wrap-up of my 2011 BeCON reports: [Read more]
June 19, 2011
“We’re just rubbish compared to nature.”
–Steve Royston Brown
The old guy in dripping-wet shorts looked me up and down, once, twice. “Honey,” he said, shaking his head sadly, “You gotta learn to get in out of the rain.”
Well, yeah, but the farmer’s market was over THERE and the nearest shelter was at least a box of raspberries, carton of fresh chevre and wood-fired bagel away. It was Saturday at BeCON, and you’d better believe that a little rain wasn’t keeping me from breakfasting superbly while the glassists talked art.
The presence of Portland Farmers Market a few yards away might be reason enough to attend BeCon, Bullseye’s biannual glass conference, but there are others. I usually gain fresh insights, and the biggest one I picked up this year was a doozy, quite possibly not one intended by our hosts:
Glass isn’t a medium, it’s a crutch. We don’t need to cross over as much as we need to throw away the crutch.
(Honk if you think that’s scary)
June 18, 2011
‘Cause I’m a rover who has crossed over
And if I never sing again
I’m gonna be rich as old Mr. Rockefeller
Just direct my feet to the sunny side of the street
–Frankie Laine’s version of “Sunny side of the street”
If yesterday’s BeCON was about art vs. craft, today’s was about superstars, the rovers who successfully made the trip from glass artist to artist, or who retained an open enough mind to cross into kiln forming for awhile.
Or at least it started out that way, since the opening presentation was Lino Tagliapietra, Dante Marioni and Marc Petrovic talking about the intersection of glassblowing and kilnforming with BE research dude Ted Sawyer.
June 17, 2011
You can generally say three things about the first half-day of Bullseye’s BeCON glass conference; It’s the world’s longest half-day (about 16 hours this time), it involves a lot of hugging, and the best part happens after 7pm.
Thank heavens they didn’t decide to make this a FULL day.
So let’s start with the best part: The Bullseye Gallery reception. The art was a grab-bag of technique, voice, old, new, famous, startling, predictable, unknown…and worked on just about every level.
I saw four pieces that absolutely belong in my home (well, five, but the fifth is so far out of reach it doesn’t count). I saw work that intrigued me (how the HECK did they do that?), work that bugged me and work that made me stand up and think about my own art.
I’d say that makes the show a success. If you go, pause to ooh and ahhh over the Marioni (well, of course), head back and look at Nathan’s juxtaposition of concrete and glass, but at some point head upstairs where the real action is.
February 7, 2011
(the title? Work it out)
I blow lightly on the glass wafers, watch them tremble, vibrating the shadowlines. I’m utterly delighted at finding a kinetic dimension to what’s been my favorite glass installation for awhile now. And that’s both the wonder and problem of this show, but more about that later.
I’m playing with Stacy Lynn Smith’s “Selection,” which made its “I have arrived” debut last Wednesday night at Bullseye Gallery’s inFORM* show. BE Gallery stuff hasn’t always been to my taste, but as far as I’m concerned they’re batting 1000 lately.
Selection first showed up a couple of years ago in a Bullseye Resource Center show for their employees, took the top prize there, and I remember thinking, “Why the HECK isn’t this in the main gallery?” about two seconds after I saw it. Well thank heavens, here it is.