Linda Ethier in her studio

I know I’ve promised a bunch of you that I’d deliver a compilation of knee replacement surgery information and I WILL PUBLISH THAT SOON.


It’s just that I’m having a little trouble developing a new template that doesn’t take 9 gazillion years to edit and maintain. Thanks for your patience because I’m swiftly running out of mine. Whoever thought shortcodes were the answer to formatting in WordPress has another think coming.

In the meantime, OH MY GOODNESS SHE’S ACTUALLY WRITING SOMETHING ABOUT GLASS! If it’s any consolation, at least the glassmaking side of me gets to write something today.

pambiche-hashSpent Friday afternoon and much of the night anguishing over the madness of murderers, the safety of so many people I love in Paris and wherever the frightened mobs decide to misplace their rage, and my utter inability to grow superpowers that simply make it stop.

Along around 4am I stopped pinging and texting and went to sleep. Woke up late and said to hell with all of it…for awhile: I’m going to go glasslanding. And so I did. I took my friend Carla along with me, and it was a good day.

pambiche-dessertsWe started on PDX eastside, revisiting Pambiche for brunch. It was a blustery, chilly November day, so we shivered outside under the heaters while we waited for a table inside–it took awhile.

Carla had the Cubano sandwich (which she liked); I had the Cuban hash, which was a little disappointing; the plantains were burned, and the eggs were a bit watery, but the hash was tasty. I think I’d rather stick with their lunch/dinner items.

On either side the desserts led to a lot of lip-smacking–“You MUST save room for the lime-in-the-coconut-cake,” sighed the gothgal in the picture–but we were stuffed and had to say no.

OGG’s Open Studios Tour started today!

ethier-studioeggsBut this wasn’t a foodie day; we were really out for Oregon Glass Guild’s first open studios tour. It’s the first time they’ve tried one, and the range of artists was lovely and surprisingly deep for a first year. On an open studios tour, the artists literally invite the public into their studios (often their homes) to view examples of work in progress, chat, and (of course) commission work or buy from existing inventory.

There’s just one problem with most open studio tours: They cover a LOT of territory. Literally. And if you add in the time it takes to locate the studio on the map/GPS, get from one studio to another, find parking, meet-and-greet, and wait your turn to talk to an artist (or make a graceful exit if it turns out this wasn’t the art you expected)… the chance that you’ll be able to visit even half the studios you’d like to see is pretty slim.

ethier-studioCarla and I had a list of seven must-see artists. We got a late start (I didn’t get to sleep until 4, remember, and Pambiche took longer than expected), and we only made it to TWO studios before the tour closed at 4PM. Given that I talk a blue streak with any glass artist, it’s a wonder we even got to the second studio… (so my apologies to those we missed)

Linda Ethier

Fortunately, the two we did make it to were fabulous: Linda Ethier’s was first, since it was right across the street from Pambiche. Linda’s a well-known casting and pate de verre artist whose wonderful Maple Nest was a 2014 Bullseye eMerge finalist. Linda’s studio was one of the first I encountered when I moved to glassland, years ago, since I took a casting class there, and it’s a honey.

ethier-studio2She converted an old storefront into a studio, using the front windows for gallery displays and building distinct workstations for different aspects of her craft: An office area, a frit-packing area, worktables for students, waxworking area, and so on. It’s a wonderful, tightly organized space.

Linda’s been in the space and making wonderful art long enough that you can see how her work has evolved from solid cast figures, portals and architectural work to the delicate natural pieces she’s doing now. We poked through leaves and feathers, nests and bowls, looked at glassy robins’ eggs and twigs.

If you’re in glassland tomorrow (Sunday, November 15), it’s really worth a look.

Quilting bee?

Linda and I talked shop for awhile, talked about an idea of mine that keeps wanting to take off and never quite does: An artists’ version of a quilting bee, where a bunch of glass artists just come together on a weekend or evening or whenever and play.

No real agenda, no project in mind, not a class. Just playing with each other’s methods, trying out ideas, discussing whatever ideas come along, sharing homemade concoctions, that kinda stuff. I’ve wanted to do it for years, never seem to find a bunch of artists with the time or inclination simultaneously. Who knows? Maybe this year.

Angelita Surmon

From Linda’s we headed over to Angelita Surmon’s. I knew of Angelita’s landscape paintings long before I was aware that she also did landscape glass panels–she’s accomplished at both.

She’s unique in that her studio–at the top of the stairs in an attic with that famously cold and wonderful north light that every painter since probably Lascaux has talked about–is mostly for painting, not glass. When she makes glass, she heads down the street to Bullseye’s nearby Resource Center and rents open studio time there to work and fire her glass.

surmon-cyclist1It’s a neat compromise, especially given the stacks and stacks of painted canvases filling her artspace. I found myself wondering just what the break-even point would be on renting kiln time instead of buying and maintaining all that equipment myself…and rather envied her.

There’s a different flavor to this part of town; while we were discussing prices and process and the vagaries of layers and bubbles, one of her neighbors burst in to say hello. “I saw your sign and I was so excited I just had to come in. I know the Glass Guild, I do glass engraving but it’s just a hobby right now.”

He talked a mile a minute and wore…well, I’m not sure exactly what he wore but I loved his fabric choices. Lederhosen glasslander style, maybe, with a brocade shirt, sewn lovingly and precisely with a lot of topstitching and the kind of tailored touches you don’t often see.

He saw me taking in the plackets and self-bandings, and posed proudly for pictures. “I sew all my own clothes,” he said.

“I made this shirt in 1995 and it has lasted longer than some stadiums I could name,” he added, “I taught myself. I needed a clear raincoat and I couldn’t find one. So I got myself a sewing machine, sat down and learned.”

“Are you the one who wears all the colored lights and rides his bicycle down the street in the dark?” Angelita asked.

“That’s me, the very one!” he said, striking another pose, “And I do welding, and now glass engraving too, but it’s just a hobby. I’m not an artist like she is.” He peered at the plate I was buying, and asked how it was done. Angelita started to explain, and we took our leave.

Bullseye, Linda, and Dustin

It was already past the OGG tour’s 4:00 close, and our Sundays were packed, so for us, the OGG tour was over. Only two artists, so we missed a bunch of people we wanted to see. Next year we’ll start early and plan for the whole weekend.

Fortunately, Bullseye’s Resource Center was still open and only a few blocks away. Carla needed a couple of things, so we stopped in, and there it was:


Linda Humphrey’s amazing (and very thin) glass painting of a woman in the sea (well, that’s my interpretation, anyway). I’d been toying with the idea of asking Linda how much she wanted for it when I heard that Lani MacGregor of Bullseye Glass fame was now the proud owner.

Oh, poop.

Linda isn’t well-known in galleries (yet) so it’s hard to see her work in person unless you can talk her into selling you one directly, but you honestly have to see the work to believe it. I have this one:


They’re something of a shock in person–a single, 3mm sheet of glass, decorated mostly with frit or thin shards, front and back, very dimensional yet also very transparent. Mine is purely a glass painting; it was built up from solid-colored glass as any painting would be.

The one at Bullseye is different, and worth a look if you can get down to see it: Linda apparently saw an image in one of those reactive sheets where the Bullseye gaffers trundle a dipperful of French Vanilla over what should be a sheet of transparent clear and turquoise glass. The two combine to make reactive brown-blacks as the glass is rolled flat and processed.

Linda complemented what was already there, then helped it along with shading on the back of the piece and judicious additions, as you can see from the back view (you can also see how badly I need to go back and color-correct the first image because the back view is much closer to the actual turquoise):


Bullseye has gone in for painted glass in a big way; when Carla headed to the cash register I peered down at the counter and stopped in surprise.

bullseye-dustin-welcomeStaring up at me was a portrait that was too painterly to be the usual screen print, beautifully expressioned and thoughtful…

“Say, that wasn’t done using those enamels I beta-tested for you guys…was it?” I asked, thinking it sure as heck didn’t look anything like the enamels that came out of MY kiln. If you remember my trials with Color Line enamels, well…TRIALS is probably exactly the right word.

bullseye-dustin-janetcloseupSarah (Sara?) smiled, “Yes, Color Line enamels, that’s right. Want to meet the guy that did that painting?” And she led me around back…

…which is how I got to hang out with Dustin and learn more about how he’s making this amazing glass painting of Janet. While I was there he shoved it back into the kiln for another firing.

Uhm…the little test portrait up front was his FIRST trial. Janet was his second.

But that’s a whole ‘nother blogpost. Happy sigh.