Getting GASsed, finale

>>>Getting GASsed, finale

I wonder if there’s a word for “beyond exhausted?” I’m certain there are words for “beyond contented.” Pleased. Delighted. Charmed. Enchanted.

Yep, those work. So…the Portland 2008 Glass Art Society conference (mostly) ended last night, and I’m pleased, enchanted and plumb wore out.

Learned a great deal, got all kinds of energizing ideas for new work and validation (or redirection) for work in progress. Viewed up-and-coming products like kiln controllers and extruded shelves, lamination services and lighting systems. Saw more tattoos than I’ve ever seen outside a sailors’ bar, including some that were every bit as much works of art as the stuff hanging on gallery walls.

But most of my enchantment came from the people. If you never went to a session, never viewed the technical exhibits and just stood in the halls, the conference paid for itself just in networking. Made several new friends, renewed friendships, and got to say thanks to many artists who’ve inspired and taught me through the years.

I suppose that’s why my collection of bests and mosts for this show so often involve people more than art or technique:

Best technical discussion: The kind folks at Digitry, on attaching multiple sensor inputs to a kiln to make it “smart.”

Best process discussion: Karl Herron, on Bullseye glass layers and powder combinations.

Best aha moment: Gaffer’s technical staff, on heat responses of cadmium red/yellow crystal.

Most lifesaving: Gary Brown, who patiently and cheerfully filled in wherever help was needed,  going ‘way over his 12-hour volunteer requirement. Accompanying him on a museum or gallery tour is a not-to-be-missed hoot.

Most fun: Dragging people over to the far too well-hidden William Morris artifact wall at the Portland Art Museum and watching the jaws drop as they looked up…and discovered it.

Coolest art: Klaus Moje’s chatoyant grey vessel forms, looking for all the world like carved silvery moonstones.

Best philosophical discussion: Jeff Grundemann (hope I got your name right, Jeff), on the difference between realistic nudes and pornography, life-casting and sculpting.

Most exhausting and stimulating at the same time: The Gallery Hop, a walking tour of Portland art galleries (and the Museum of Contemporary Craft), which covered several hilly miles of art in a three-hour span.

Most intriguing (and welcome) contrast: Doing the high-toned gallery hop right before heading over to Uroboros’ get-down after-hop party. It was Mozart-meets-washtub band that night, and I thought both were successful.

Best tips for future GAS conferences: I’ve got three, actually. First, work on communication and training for conference workers. When the guy staffing the help desk knows less than the guy asking for help, well…

Second, open paying, packing and shipping services the minute anybody can buy ANYthing. The number of well-heeled folk who literally put their wallets back in their pockets and walked away because they had no way to get artwork home still makes me wince.

Finally, take a tip from marketeers and think about who really buys art when you’re picking your fundraising auction audience. (Hint: If you have a choice between art collectors on tour or a bunch of starving artists, go for the ones with money.)

Best moments of awe: Talking casting (and her books) with Lucartha Kohler. Or maybe chatting about goblets with Bill Gudenrath and Robert Mickelsen. Or perhaps getting previews of new kinetic glass machines by Bandhu Dunham.

Most appreciated: The GAS volunteer squad, which I had the honor to co-manage, all 145 or so of them. Even when WE weren’t organized, or quite sure what to do, they were.

In fact, sometimes they were so efficient that there was nothing left for the next shift to do. And sometimes they were yelled at by harried attendees (or harried GAS employees), but above it all they maintained a cheerful, professional demeanor. Many thanks!

Best art/craft: I ought not to touch this one, but I’ll give it a shot (and make it a three-way tie). I’d say a piece called “Winter Containment” by April Surgeant, at the Bullseye Gallery, a working glass spinning wheel by Andy Paiko at the Museum of Contemporary Craft, and the violin collage tattooed across the collarbone, shoulder and biceps of Penland’s hotshop manager.

That’s it, until I can think of more…



  1. Leslie Rowe-Israelson July 6, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    OH!!!! those are soooooo special. You mean I actually get to touch them when I come to visit. Oh Lucky Me. Les

  2. cynthia July 5, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    Actually, that’s not the kitchen countertop, it’s taken on one of the display cases in the glass room. I just stuck a piece of black foamcore behind it to snap a fast photo.

    But yep, somehow they followed me home… I realized after I got home that I’d essentially brought home one of every type of glass art process EXCEPT casting. Go figure.

  3. Leslie Rowe-Israelson July 5, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    Dearest Cynthia, do I notice your beautiful black kitchen counter top and are you now the proud owner of those exquisite pieces to add to your already beautiful collection . Les

  4. Leslie Rowe-Israelson July 5, 2008 at 7:27 am

    Well I am so wonderfully exhausted and so rejuvinated creatively that I cannot contain my emotions. One of THE ULTIMATE conferences ever and we owe it to all the hard working volenteers , business that opened their doors, the gallery’s , the Elements hotshop,who worked tirelessly to make this a most memorable affair. I do not want to miss thanking anyone so I think thanking Portland is the best way to make sure no one is forgotten. A great poem comes to mind when I think of conferences
    Make new friends,
    Keep the old,
    The new are silver,
    The Latter are GOLD .
    This is how I always feel when I leave a conference . And this one did not dissappoint ONE MINUTE. Well done. Leslie Rowe-Israelson

  5. Cynthia Morgan June 24, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    Thanks, Gary, but that box was NOT going to fit into the car!

    Lani, the pear is by a very nice lady I met at the conference, Kathleen Elliot, and I think she made it during her demo. It just looked right sitting next to Cobi’s piece, and the two pieces are a nice embodiment of many different glassmaking techniques, so seemed appropriate to post it. The pear also looks like it’s about to morph into some of my weirder 3D stuff, with those leaves beginning to walk away with the fruit.

    BTW, the black chairs WERE comfortable. I had to keep kicking people out of the queen’s chair whenever I came back. 😉

  6. Lani June 24, 2008 at 7:19 am

    PS. What’s the story behind that amazing pear in front of Cobi’s basket? I love it.

  7. Lani June 24, 2008 at 7:17 am

    BEST AFTER-IMAGE: Cynthia and Gary sitting side-by-side in those big high-back swivel chairs at the Volunteer Central desk (or whatever it was), looking like the King & Queen of Smug in the middle of a Mad Hatteresque Party.

    You really made it LOOK like it was organized even when many of us were frantically searching for the life boats…

    Thanks to you and all the volunteers who went above and beyond and made Portland look so good.

  8. Gary Brown June 22, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    It was a hoot hanging out with Cynthia… though I have to admit that driving her home, her sitting in the passenger seat next to me holding a thin piece of artwork made my heart go pit-a-pat. It was like the time I went out with the kids when the oldest was five. Seeing them with the expensive crystal on the table…. and seeing the hard, hard floor… It didn’t help when Cynthia said “Just think of it as a piece of thin sheet glass…nothing unusual.”

    Much thanks to her for giving me a place to lay down my weary head.

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