Dinner with the Board of University of Sunderland and More Workshops!

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UK based glass artist Jeffrey Sarmiento shows Michael Janis his artwork. I’m sure he has not yet noticed the panel I’m holding is missing yet.

Artist Jeffrey Sarmiento popped into the University of Sunderland’s Architectural Glass studio where our Fulbright workshop classes were being held with an invitation to show how he uses the National Glass Center’s waterjet to cut intricate and delicate glass elements for his artwork. Naturally, I was excited to see 1.) how the waterjet works and 2.) Jeffrey at work.


Jeffrey Sarmiento and Michael Janis


Jeffrey offered to make one of the component layers for the demo piece I was using to show how the sgraffito process can be achieved in glass, and he explained the process. We looked thru some of his images that were in the computer to save time, and selected one of his images of the nearby Tyne bridge that was part of his series “Invisible Cities“.


Using a CADD program, Jeffrey cleans up the cut-off sections and outlines areas that will be positive or negative.


Jeffrey checks on the initialization of the process.

The pressurized water cuts through the glass and wood support panel.

The grit overflow tub.

The compressor unit located beyond the waterjet machinery.

The verticals of the waterjet cut Bullseye glass panel section are 3mm (less than 1/8″) thick.

Jeffrey pulls apart and assembles the positive and negative.

The connector nibs are pulled off each element.

The panels section loaded and fused in the kiln.

The fired panel integrated into the demo piece.

Washington Glass Fulbright duo of Michael Janis & Tim Tate (plus Kay Janis as chaperone) soldiered on with dinner at the National Glass Centre, hosted by the University of Sunderland Board of Directors. The food at the dinner was a treat – my first Yorkshire Pudding. I was told that Yorkshire pudding and was told the story that the origins of the dish was to provide a cheap way to fill the diners – thus stretching a lesser amount of the more expensive ingredients as the Yorkshire pudding was traditionally served first. The dinner was nothing but elegant.


L-R Fulbright Scholar Tim Tate; Graeme Thompson, Dean of Faculty of Arts, Design and Media; Dr Kevin Petrie, Leader of Glass & Ceramics; (not shown in photo Shirley Atkinson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor; Peter Fidler CBE Vice Chancellor & Chief Executive and James Bustard, Director of the NGC).


The Yorkshire Pudding served.


L-R Cathy Barnes, Chair of the NGC Board; Kay Janis; Chris Jobe, Governor of the Board

For dessert, Tim Tate said he hoped it would be the traditional English (and to American sensibilities, questionably named) “spotted dick“. We were served a beautiful light custard filled confection that was dubbed “spotted hemorroid” as a way to keep in the spirit of the night.

Though not “lite” in the sense of calories, it was a delectable, light dessert that was served.

It was a lovely, fun evening that was filled with discussions on how we can create opportunities in both countries that would facilitate the exchange artists, ideas and ways we can strengthen the relationships we have developed.

We had time for one more workshop, held at Sunderland’s not-for-profit artist center, Creative Cohesion.
This was to be a much more casual workshop, more a conversation – about the differences in the perceived US and the UK approach towards art and education, the changes that social media had on the art world, how artists can survive in tough economic times, the advantages of creating artist covenants.


Anne Tye, the Creative Industries Development Manager at Sunderland City Council introduces Tim and Michael to a packed audience.



The talks were packed with artists from Sunderland, Newcastle – as far away as Edinburgh, Scotland.

Tim Tate tells all.

The evening talk was the last of our scheduled Fulbright Scholar events. Our short project length had us fly out of town the next morning, heading back to Washington very early.


UK Artist profiles Part 3:

Andrew Livingston


Andrew Livingston works as an artist and is also Leader of CARCuos Ceramic Arts Research Center and MA Ceramics Program Leader at the University of Sunderland, The National Glass Center, Sunderland, UK.

Andrew’s work uses a range of media which acknowledges the interface between both traditional practice and new media. His continued exploration aims to challenge and expand contemporary locations in respect of the traditional positioning of ceramics. The integration of digital media and new technologies has become central to his artwork where new media is often positioned and juxtaposed with more traditional elements.

Andrew’s Parallax View series works in creating a fresh perspective on Tullie House‘s porcelain collection and explores preconceived notions of ceramics.

Surfeit 621 621 cast ceramic components, looped video, and drawings made from clay & graphite.

Britannia. ceramic and glass vitrine.

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Roger Tye

Roger Tye graduated from Manchester Poly in 1975 with a BA(Hons) in 3D Design – Glass and Metal. Roger to concentrate his work on sculptural and installation pieces that integrated glass and other media. Roger is the guiding force of the new not-for-profit artist studio – Creative Cohesion, located in Sunderland. Though Roger often works in creating beautiful traditional blown glass forms, he also works with slate and cast glass.


glass and slate

cast glass sheep, slate and steel

Up next posting: One more workshop video link and final thoughts on the Fulbright program.
Click HERE to jump to first posting about the Sunderland trip.


Click HERE to jump to the start of the postings about some of the super-cool UK artists.

Artists Covenants

Surrealist artists at Peggy Guggenheim’s New York apartment, 1942.
Front Row: Stanley William Hayter, Leonara Carrington, Frederick Kiesler, Kurt Seligmann. Second Row: Max Ernst, Amedee Ozenfant, Andre Breton, Fernand Leger, Berenice Abbott. Third Row: Jimmy Ernst, Peggy Guggenheim, John Ferren, Marcel Duchamp, Piet Mondrian.

Prof Tim Tate was asked by an arts magazine to write an article about how artists work and how they can support each other – we will have a link when the article comes out.

Below an excerpt from Tim’s article on how the Washington Glass School artists work.

While reading the original article dealing with virtual guilds, it reminded me of the “Artist’s Covenant” that we follow here in our extremely busy working studio. We have almost 20 artists working out of this space – most as resident artists. We also just admitted our 4000th student in 9 years. This is an extremely active artist collective.

The over-riding manifesto in this space is the “Artist’s Covenant”. This is an intrinsic agreement by all artists utilizing our space. No one is admitted without committing it. In our case the pledge is as follows: “A Rising Tide Raises All Boats”.

To become a member here at the Washington Glass School, you must first agree to be happy for everyone’s success, not just your own. This fosters a positive air in the work environment. Jointly, each artist agrees to not only look out for their own opportunities, but also to promote the other artists in the covenant.

If there is an article being written about you, can you mention another of the studio artists? If you have a museum show, can a piece or two be a collaborative work with another studio artist?If a show opportunity comes along, can you let others know in the collective if their work is appropriate? If a collector comes and buys one of your pieces, can you then show them around the studio and introduce them to work by other artists?

None of these things costs the original artist anything. They still would have the press, still have the museum show, still have the sale, etc.They simply have increased someone else’s opportunities.

The reason for doing this is simple, beyond the pay-it-forward kismet. As each of the artist become progressively more successful, the opportunities ascribed to the entire collective also increases in number and stature. Eventually, all begin to move up the art world ladder.

Historically, there have been many such covenants; such as the groups that surrounded artists Georgia O’Keefe and Joseph Cornell (though he seemed to incidentally benefit from the New York Surrealists movement).

To stay completely positive towards all others successes when we ourselves are not moving forward is tougher than it may seem. Without these unwritten contracts, artists can fall too easily into a solitary guarding of personal turf.

The benefits to this approach are immediately evident in the feel of the working studio…where all things are possible and the sky’s the limit. Being connected to a group like this provides a sense of community within a profession that is inherently individualistic. The long term benefit is the synergy created accelerates the success its members.