WGS Featured Artist: Jason Chakravarty

CLICK IT! Featured Artist: Jason Chakravarty

Jason Chakravarty is a mixed media artist based in Arizona. He worked for four years in a commercial neon sign shop before earning his MFA from California State University-Fullerton. He teaches neon and kiln casting workshops at universities and glass centers nationwide, and exhibits his work nationally.

Jason Chakravarty, together with Jennifer Caldwell have made many collaborative pieces, maintaining a critical, conceptual, and technical dialogue thru their work. Jennifer best known for her flame worked glass compositions and Jason’s technical focus is cast glass objects which often include parts or techniques from the hot shop. He uses familiar photorealistic imagery that ranges from sea to space. The narrative is the starting point and is a response to daily life and cultural observations.

Their work has been exhibited in museums including Corning Museum of Glass and Tacoma Museum of Glass, at SOFA Chicago.

Jennifer Caldwell and Jason Chakravarty

Jennifer Caldwell and Jason Chakravarty

Washington Glass School blog catches up with Jason as his work is part of the WGS Contemporary online exhibit “CLICK-IT!” and the associated show “Artists for Racial Justice

Washington Glass School (WGS): Describe your artwork method/process.

Jason Chakravarty: Our process begins with a need to illuminate an idea. Ideas come from our surroundings, travels (or lack of in 2020), experiences, written stories, or even just captured moments. Glass presents the only medium with endless possibilities. We cast, blow, sculpt, paint, slump, fuse, carve, light it up and cut it. Glass can be made thick, thin, transparent, and opaque. To explain a single process would ignore the way we work. 

Jason Chakravarty and Jennifer Caldwell, "Bee-nounced"; cast murrini with flameworked components.

Jason Chakravarty and Jennifer Caldwell, “Bee-nounced”; cast murrini with flameworked components.

WGS: Describe your work in the show and highlight aspects that the viewers should understand about the work.

Jason Chakravarty: For Click It, we were lucky to include works that span over the past decade. The most recent being ‘Beenounced‘. This piece highlights the delicacy of Jennifer’s flame worked bee and honey living amongst a random and repeating hexagon honeycomb pattern. Each leg and wing is sculpted by hand, while a more machine-like process for the hexagon can be compared to a sushi roll. Long pulls of clear glass coated with yellow or black cut up, organized on end and cast to make a larger hexagon home.

Jason Chakravarty and Jennifer Caldwell, "Woken Inna Space Without Sound"; sculpted/blown glass/mixed media

Jason Chakravarty and Jennifer Caldwell, “Woken Inna Space Without Sound”; sculpted/blown glass/mixed media

On the other end of the timeline spectrum, ‘Woken Inna Space Without Sound‘ was entirely made using the hot shop. A small paperweight was created and cooled, butterfly and bee decals were applied to the surface. The paperweight was then heated, more clear glass was added and the glass cooled again. Add additional decals and repeat. Each layer requires a couple days. Once all the layers were built the glass was reheated again, shaped and sculpted into a half moon with craters. Layers of transparent and opaque gray, white and opal color were added to the surface and then cooled. The butterfly net was hand blown separately.

Discussing one last piece. “Catch and Release. The lock is cast glass and was purchased in Tel Aviv on a trip to teach in Jerusalem. At the time it felt like an ancient relic that we had found in an old mud hut and bought from a man that was nearing the end of a long and nonmonetary rich life. The fence referenced a fence that ran along the walkway to a bridge in Seattle that we would use when boarding/unboarding the ferry. The fence itself is created by hand using a torch and then assembled cold and held tight in a frame like a puzzle.

WGS: How have you handled the Covid lockdown?

Jason Chakravarty: It feels like we are working on the same path as a year ago. The demand for our work has shifted but not slowed down. While we are busy, the silver lining has been that all the anxiety has subsided. Deadlines are on ‘island time’ more like a suggestion vs an absolute. While too much to list has changed we are still consistently working. Every day is still a great day to add something better to the world.

Jason Chakravarty and Jennifer Caldwell; "Weeding Out"; cast/fused glass, steel.

Jason Chakravarty and Jennifer Caldwell; “Weeding Out”; cast/fused glass, steel.

WGS: What artwork/event has moved you and got you thinking about your own work?

Jason Chakravarty: Typically travel and life experience write the story for our work and fill our sketch books. It feels like we are now able to resolve some of the ideas that have been sitting or on hold. So I would say the ‘lack of event’ has us thinking more about how we work and the actual work and less focused on the excitement that comes with new ideas.

WGS: if you were not an artist – what would you be?

Jason Chakravarty: Fred Flintstone.

The artist formerly known as Jason Chakravarty.

The artist formerly known as Jason Chakravarty. Yabba.Dabba.Do.

WGS: Do you do a lot of planning in your work – or is there an element of chance while working?

Jason Chakravarty: We start with a plan and embrace all the changes along the way. Our work is very process orientated. Many steps using many techniques. Each would have to be perfect to reach our original plan. Nothing is ever perfect. Even our view of the narrative shifts with time, day, and week.

WGS: What is your rule of thumb in determining when a work is finished?

Jason Chakravarty: Each piece we make starts with a narrative. Our goal within a narrative is to raise questions vs provide answers. A piece is resolved when the question is asked.

Click HERE to jump to Jason Charavarty and Jennifer Caldwell’s work in CLICK-IT!

And see their work as part of “Artists For Racial Justice” – click HERE.

Read about Jennifer Caldwell – the other half of JC2   -click HERE.

WGS Featured Artist : Jennifer Caldwell

CLICK IT! Featured Artist: Jennifer Caldwell

Jennifer Caldwell

Jennifer Caldwell

Jennifer Caldwell is internationally renowned for sculpting borosilicate glass using a torch. Humor, whimsy and imagination are a cathartic aspect of Jennifer’s studio practice that allows her to address more serious emotions from a place of playfulness. Objects from her experience become beautiful, yet un-functional, or are combined in a way to see the paradoxes through which Jennifer views the world. 
Since 2012, Jennifer Caldwell and Jason Chakravarty have worked collaboratively, and formed JC Squared. Their works have been exhibited in museums including Corning Museum of Glass and Tacoma Museum of Glass, at SOFA Chicago.

Jason Chakravarty and  Jennifer Caldwell

Jason Chakravarty and Jennifer Caldwell

Washington Glass School blog catches up with Jennifer as her work is part of the WGS Contemporary online exhibit “CLICK-IT!” and the associated show “Artists for Racial Justice”.

Washington Glass School (WGS): Describe your artwork method/process.
Jennifer Caldwell: We use several processes to complete a single piece. For example, a porthole begins by taking a replica mold of a real object. A wax is then poured into the replica mold the wax is then cleaned up and altered to suite each piece. A custom mixed refractory investment is then poured over the wax, the wax is removed by using steamed leaving a hollow cavity. The investment mold is then brought up to 1500′ where then hot glass is melted into it. Following a extensive cooling process the investment mold is removed from the glass. Finally, the glass is cut, ground and polished. The life form portion of the piece is sculpted using specific tools and solid glass rods in a 3000′ flame with a oxygen propane torch.

jennifer.caldwell.flamework
WGS: Describe your work in the show and highlight aspects that the viewers should understand about the work.
Jennifer Caldwell: I really love “Catch and Release” the fence is Flameworked and the lock is cast. We are very fortunate to have our work/teaching take us all over the world. When we are somewhere new and we discover objects that form memories we put them in our work. The lock we found at the old city in Jerusalem. We had been exploring the city that day and stumbled into a shop after a few minutes of haggling it was ours. We brought it home made a silicone mold of it and now it becomes part of our vocabulary with the other molds we’ve taken. It holds a memory that’s unique to us but also can convey its own message with just being the object it is.

jennifer.caldwell.jason.catch.release.glass.art.flamework
WGS: How have you handled the Covid lockdown?
Jennifer Caldwell: Honestly the technical part has not affected us as much as I thought it would. The hotshop we use has been shut down so we’ve had to think in different processes. However we get most our inspiration from everyday life and travels which have both slowed way down. I think we’ve had to reflect more internally.

WGS: What artwork/event has moved you and got you thinking about your own work?
Jennifer Caldwell: ”Beyond the Streets” in Brooklyn last summer. It was a great exhibit that just showed how time and evolution and responses from what was happening in that moment showed told a collective story of the evolution of street art.

WGS: if you were not an artist – what would you be?
Jennifer Caldwell: I have no idea, but I feel it would need some sort of creative aspect to it.

WGS: Do you do a lot of planning in your work – or is there an element of chance while working?
Jennifer Caldwell: We start out with a plan. We need to because we are mixing so many processes however the piece will start to change and adapt to what happens along the way.

WGS: What is your rule of thumb in determining when a work is finished?
Jennifer Caldwell: When it starts to make me anxious and gets too busy…less is more!

Click here to jump to Jennifer’s work in CLICK-IT!

Click HERE to jump to Jennifer’s work in “Artists for Racial Justice” fundraiser.

Read about Jason Chakravarty – the other half of JC click HERE

Boro Casting

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A casting kiln loaded with boro.

Robert Kincheloe has been developing a method of casting using borosilicate glass (aka “hard” glass or 33 C.O.E or Pyrex) and creating components that can later be assembled into Flameworked sculpture.

Rob Kincheloe prepping the glass to be invested into the molds.

Here Rob had made plaster/silica molds via the “lost wax casting” process, and is now loading into the kiln, investing with boro glass.
His process of merging warm and hot glass practices creates one of a kind sculptural works of art.

Rob arranging the molds inside the kiln – ensuring even heating.

Placing the “hard” glass into the molds

Rob documents each step of the process for his posting online.

“Crashing” the kiln to take the glass out of devit range.

The red-hot glass at 2100º F

Some of the cast boro elements – showing the translucent colors. These elements will later be flameworked into sculpture.

Lampworking Class Gets Hot!

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Photos by Mike Raman

The Washington Glass School’s new torchworking classes started off Session A in fine form. The hands-on class works thru the basics of making objects on the torch. Here instructor Robert Kincheloe works with each student to master using borosilicate glass.

Teddie Hathaway heats up her glass skills.

The next beginner’s lampworking class starts in June – Click HERE to read more about the class & schedule.

Glass Line Magazine: Q & A with Paul Stankard

>The May issue of Glass Line magazine has an article by legendary flameworker Paul Stankard, where Paul had sought questions from other lampworkers and the article creates the feeling of a casual discussion with one of the glass greats. Below is a short excerpt from the article:

Sharing a Journey: Questions and Answers - by Paul Stankard –
Over the last two years, I’ve met a large number of borosilicate flameworkers making everything from jewelry to glass pipes who are yearning to do significant creative work and explore new boundaries. They have a strong commitment to the independent lifestyle as studio artists and many make their livings through their highly developed skills. They are not satisfied with staying in one creative place and have larger ambitions. I relate to their struggle to channel their technical abilities into something more significant by creating sculpture. What’s holding many of them back, however, is a lack of artistic maturity. Few of them went to art school, and they are often simply unaware of what is considered important work by the larger world of collectors, galleries, and museum curators.

What I’ve been promoting with these Glass Line articles is excellence, but the notion of “excellence” is defined by the community you belong to. You can be an excellent goblet-maker, an excellent paperweight-maker, an excellent beadmaker, and on and on. To be excellent in these tightly defined categories, you need to recognize what is masterwork and be familiar with the skilled artists and craftspeople advancing the tradition with whom you want to strive to compete. You then can take advantage of the respect you’ve achieved in these decorative-arts categories to catapult yourself into the greater glass community. By competing with the past and matching the category’s history, you’ll be at the front of your field.
Our resident torchwork artist, Robert Kincheloe is one of the artists that is featured in the article with Paul.

If you are a subscriber to the magazine, you can read the article online – click HERE.

Introducing Washington Glass School’s New Studio Coordinator

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Robert Kincheloe (right)


The Washington Glass School welcomes its new studio coordinator: Robert Kincheloe. Robert has been working with glass since 1997, with a strong background in borosilicate glass. He has studied furnace glassblowing, flameworking, scientific glassblowing, sculpture, murrini, encasements, casting and coldworking. Over the years he has helped to set up several glass studios and has spent the last two years as a studio artist at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, VA.

Robert’s work centers on the use of combining hot, warm and cold glass processes, and he takes a mathematical approach to design. This encourages him to repeat a technique over and over in search of perfecting the logic of the design and controlling its process.

Robert hopes to expand the glass community through his works, classes, demos and lectures, and as such, he will be creating a new series of flameworking borosilicate classes here at the glass school.

Floral Cube by Robert Kincheloe

photo: AnythingPhotographic

Robert was part of the Washington Post’s article on the opening of the Workhouse Arts Center in 2008 – click HERE to read the article.


Robert at his torch @ Lorton. He has since escaped the former prison.

Photo: Dayna Smith for the Washington Post.