Demystifying Public Art – Online presentation by the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass

Artists Erwin Timmers & Michael Janis will present an online ‘zoom’ presentation that will be part of the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass (AACG) Online Education in Art Series – “Demystifying Public Art.”

aacg.public.art.wgs.studio.glass.sculpture.education.arts.community.involvement.michael.janis.erwin.timmers.contemporary.public

Public art created by artists of the Washington Glass Studio both enrich and celebrate diverse communities. Successful projects include – The Monumental Doors for the Library of Congress, Laurel Library, the Washington DC Gateway Arch, and the West Palm Beach International Airport.
Michael Janis and Erwin Timmers will discuss how they navigate the complex processes from finding the projects to their ultimate creation and installation.

On Tuesday, September 15, at 2 p.m. Eastern time, AACG starts their Online Education Series called “FIRED UP” - click on the link to register for the free event:

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYucemupz4jE9xI6GbpH6qoSHz7-iWuztOT?fbclid=IwAR0A-NoKAxTtkf6k12vBHvukn8IlUFRaY5uTfj97pj5yBBaA3-bsCO0abDc

The Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to further the development and appreciation of art made from glass.

The Alliance informs collectors, critics and curators by encouraging and supporting museum exhibitions, university glass departments and specialized teaching programs, regional collector groups, visits to private collections, and public seminars.

WGS Featured Artist: Joseph Ivacic

CLICK IT! Featured Artist: Joseph Ivacic

joseph.ivacic.glass.art.chicago.wgs.contemporary.shift

Joseph Ivacic is a Chicago based glass artist. Since receiving his BFA from the University of Illinois at Champaign, Urban, he has been showing in group and solo shows throughout the country. Joseph’s work challenges the viewer to see things differently, both from a subject and content point of view, as well as the fact that, while his work is made from glass, it certainly doesn’t look like traditional glass.  

Joseph started using the moniker PARADIGM SHIFT to experiment with different themes in his art. “The narratives of these pieces are inspired by contemporary life, inviting the viewers to place themselves within the work.  My compositions of faux installations are filled with text and imagery providing the viewer with subtle hints that the work is not what they perceive.  Our modern day truths are what we say they are and our sense of reality is skewed based on our perspective.”

In 2018, Ferd Hampson of Habatat Galleries declared Joseph to be a “Top Ten Trend in Contemporary Glass” for his recent street inspired work – where all elements are glass, including the labels on the cans.  

Washington Glass School blog catches up with Joseph as his work is part of the WGS Contemporary online exhibit “CLICK-IT!” and also in the “Artists For Racial Justice” exhibit/fundraiser.

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

Joseph Ivacic: I am a contemporary sculptor who uses glass as my primary medium. I combine a variety of techniques to create my groupings. The spray paint cans are blown and hot sculpted in the hot shop. Labels that are on the cans are Ceramic Decals and are applied to the glass cylinder prior to it being assembled hot. The elements that appear to be steel are created a by sifting powdered glass on to sheets of glass and then are slumped and fused at temperatures as high as 1450 degrees.

Joseph Ivacic, "Summit"; Glass; 12"x6"x4"

Joseph Ivacic, “Summit”; Glass; 12″x6″x4″

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

Joseph Ivacic: My work in these two shows vary and I am excited about both. The smaller pieces with the spray paint cans and the faux steel are continuations of my larger installations but are intended for newer collectors, people with small niches, or would like to own my work but it doesn’t work with there budget. This body of work is loaded with content and some of the topics are urban decay and the beauty in aging. I don’t want to share too much about the pieces because I want the viewer to come up with their own conclusion.

Joseph Ivacic, "Echoes", Glass, wood, 14"x15"x29", 2020. Featured in WGS Contemporary "Artists For Racial Justice" exhibit.

Joseph Ivacic, “Echoes”, Glass, wood, 14″x15″x29″, 2020. Featured in WGS Contemporary “Artists For Racial Justice” exhibit.

The piece in the Social Justice show titled “Echoes” is a narrative piece about protest and the long term benefits of standing up for your rights and beliefs. The Megaphone is made of glass and is assembled hot. The soap box is intended to look like a found object but I made that as well.

WGS: How have you handled the COVID-19 lockdown? How have you adapted?

Joseph Ivacic: The Covid lockdown has been tough. I really miss social interaction and engaging through a screen is not the same. I usually work at a public access glass studio for my blowing needs which has not been open to the public since the middle of march. During all of this craziness my family has also moved houses and I have moved studios. I am excited about my new studio, but it still has a long way to go before its operational. My creative outlets have been painting a working digitally on a tablet. I will be incorporating these new techniques in to the new pieces I am working on. As a glass artist, I feel we always need to adapt our vision with the properties of the material. As we evolve our relationship with glass, we understand what rules we can bend and what rules we can break.joeseph.ivacic.my.illusion.part.2.glass.art.sculpture.new.contemporary

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

Joseph Ivacic: During this time, I have been most moved by the social equality movement around the Black Lives Matter. I have spent a lot of time researching and trying to understand how be a better human and how to communicate this through my work. I think in the next year we are going to see a lot of art with this as the subject matter. 

Joseph Ivacic checks out the street art as the street art checks out Joe.

Joseph Ivacic checks out the street art as the street art checks out Joe.

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

Joseph Ivacic: I have a background in teaching and would probably work with high school students. I don’t know if it’s possible for me not to be an artist. 

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

Joseph Ivacic: YES! My work requires tons of planning. I usually start with message and move to imagery from there. At that point in need to figure out scale and how to break the piece up into shippable pieces. Each of my panels needs to be fired at a minimum of 3 times and usually if something is going to break it will happen on the 3rd firing. Also anytime I want to incorporate a new color I need to do a sample with every other color I use to make sure that the new color expands and contracts at the same rate as the other colors. If the new color doesn’t the entire piece breaks.

Joseph Ivacic, "Propoganda Spray Can" 24"H; glass. The cans of spray paint draw parallels, positive and negative, between spray paint as art and as one of the oldest forms of social communication while layers of vibrant colors and text provoke further examination of the subtle details.

Joseph Ivacic, “Propoganda Spray Can” 24″H; glass. The cans of spray paint draw parallels, positive and negative, between spray paint as art and as one of the oldest forms of social communication while layers of vibrant colors and text provoke further examination of the subtle details.

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

Joseph Ivacic: The rule of thumb on when the piece is finished… The piece is usually finished 2 days before the due date. :)

Joseph Ivacic at work in the hotshop.

Joseph Ivacic at work in the hotshop.

Click HERE to jump to Joseph Ivacic’s work in CLICK-IT!

 

Click Here to jump to the Artists For Racial Justice exhibit.

Final Week of CLICK-IT! Online Exhibition

Works by Jennifer Caldwell & Jason Chakravarty, Jeff Zimmer, F Lennox (Lenny) Campello, Teri Bailey and Steve Wanna.

Works by Jennifer Caldwell & Jason Chakravarty, Jeff Zimmer, F Lennox (Lenny) Campello, Teri Bailey and Steve Wanna.

We’re down to the final week the “CLICK-IT!” online exhibit!. Showing works by these talented artists (Teri Bailey, F. Lennox Campello, Jennifer Caldwell, Jason Chakravarty, Cheryl P. Derricotte, Sean Donlon, Sean Hennessey, Joseph Ivacic, Michael Janis, Carmen Lozar, Tim Tate, Erwin Timmers, Steve Wanna, & Jeff Zimmer) to the public and hearing the wonderful feedback has been so rewarding. It means a lot to us that we can share their world with the world and an appreciation for the works/sentiments/technical brilliance can be appreciated.

Works by Sean Donlon, Michael Janis, Jennifer Caldwell & Jason Chakravarty, Joseph Ivacic and Tim Tate.

Works by Sean Donlon, Michael Janis, Jennifer Caldwell & Jason Chakravarty, Joseph Ivacic and Tim Tate.

Those who have yet to visit the exhibition should grab the chance to see these truly wonderful works online – click HERE to jump to online exhibit!

Works by Cheryl Derricotte, Sean Hennessey, Erwin Timmers, Jennifer Caldwell & Jason Chakravarty and Carmen Lozar.

Works by Cheryl Derricotte, Sean Hennessey, Erwin Timmers, Jennifer Caldwell & Jason Chakravarty and Carmen Lozar.

Artists For Racial Justice” exhibit and fundraising for non-profits that can help with equality with art as a tool for healing and peace to help at this time.

Artists for racial.equality.justiceClick HERE to jump to the fundraiser arts page.  

Want more than just visual …stimulation? click on link below and get the official “Click It” themesong – music by Donovan Lessard.

WGS Featured Artist: Teri Swinhart

CLICK IT! Featured Artist: Teri Swinhart

Teri Bailey

Teri Swinhart

Teri Swinhart is a multimedia artist holding a BFA in Glass from The University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point and an MFA from The Ohio State University. She thrives in learning, pursuing opportunities to expand her understanding of material at institutions such as Penland School of Crafts, the Corning Museum of Glass, Pilchuck Glass School and the Chrysler Museum of Art. Teri currently lives and works in Washington D.C. as the Studio Coordinator for the Washington Glass School and the Director of WGS Contemporary.

Teri Bailey teaching pâte de verre technique at the Washington Glass School.

Teri Swinhart teaching pâte de verre technique at the Washington Glass School.

Washington Glass School blog catches up with Teri as her work is part of the WGS Contemporary online exhibit “CLICK-IT!”.

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

Teri Swinhart: The forms for the Sanctuary Series are constructed by precisely layering thin glass strands to imitate weaved textile patterns. The glass strands are lightly melted together and then heated until they slump over a hand-made mold.  Each mold is uniquely carved out of a soft plaster mixture that is removed after firing, creating a negative space within the glass sculpture. I also create a charcoal drawing of my inspiration (a child hiding under a blanket) to help guide the viewer and add visual variety.  

Teri Bailey, "Sanctuary Among Fragility"; Kilnworked Glass, Flat Glass; 6”x7”x4”

Teri Swinhart, “Sanctuary Among Fragility”; Kilnworked Glass, Flat Glass; 6”x7”x4”; concept sketch above finished work.

I combined an assortment of processes to create Seeking Home. This piece includes a hand sculpted figure as well as a glass quilt square. I made the square by sifting ground up glass powder (called frit) through a stencil onto a larger sheet of flat glass. I then fired the sheet and fused the pattern onto the surface. 

Teri Bailey, "Seeking Home"; Glass, Poly-Vitro, Wood; 18”x20”x6”

Teri Swinhart, detail, “Seeking Home”; Glass, Poly-Vitro, Wood; 18”x20”x6”

Delicate Revolution is an installation of over 400 eyehooks that have been corseted together with layers of silk ribbon. This installation changes every time it is presented and is dependent on the space around it.

Teri Bailey: Detail "Delicate Revolution"; Stainless Steel Eyehooks, Ribbon, Wood; 2'x8'x1'

Teri Swinhart, Detail “Delicate Revolution”; Stainless Steel Eyehooks, Ribbon, Wood; 2′x8′x1′

Defiance (in Artists for Racial Justice Fundraiser) is a deep red glass casting of a human neck with its chin raised. The chin proudly jutting out, even though it is fractured and worn. The mold for the piece was made by painting body safe rubber mold material onto my model’s neck, waiting for it to try, then removing the mold and pouring wax into it to create a reproduction. The wax neck is then covered in plaster-silica to create a kilnproof mold. The wax is melted of out the mold and the negative space that it leaves is filled with cold chunks of glass and heated up in a kiln until they melt.

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

Teri Swinhart: The work in this show highlights many of the different processes and materials that I enjoy working with. All of these works highlight my fascination with textiles and their role in the home. Similar to artists like Mary Cassatt, I am drawn to exploring the beautiful intimacy within the home and the personal.

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

Teri Swinhart: The two biggest things influencing my work (and much of the world) right now are COVID and the BLM Movement. So much of the inspiration for my work comes from the emotion and vulnerability of the extremely personal. I am painfully empathetic, so to watch this many people die so brutally leaves me fluctuating between heartbroken, terrified, and enraged. I don’t think I could keep emotions this intense out of my artwork even if I really tried. It has shown me that I need to take a stance on things I have been privileged enough to avoid in the past and use my voice to spread love and promote change. No pressure…

Here's your coffee - & thank-you for wearing a mask!

Here’s your coffee… & thank-you for wearing a mask!

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

Teri Swinhart: A psychologist… or a barista.

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

Teri Swinhart: Definitely a little bit of both. I feel like I spend 75% of the time in my sketchbook working through each element of an idea before I begin making, then when I feel comfortable with the plan I begin bringing it to life. I am flexible throughout the process and lots of things change as I lay the materials next to each other and work through the installation… it keeps me on my toes!

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

Teri’s work is part of the companion exhibit/fundraiser – “Artists for Racial Justice” Click HERE to jump to the show.

WGS Featured Artist: Steve Wanna

CLICK IT! Featured Artist: Steve Wanna

steve.wanna.artist.wgs.contemporary

Steve Wanna is a multi-disciplinary sound and visual artist whose work includes music, sound design for dance collaborations, sculpture, installation, photography, and works for mixed media. Born and raised in Lebanon, he immigrated to the United States with his family as a teenager, eventually receiving a doctorate in Music Composition from the University of Maryland in 2004.

Steve’s work is driven by his belief that under the right conditions beauty can emerge without the need for direct intervention. He creates abstract, experimental fixed works and installations in a variety of mediums and formats that include sound, 2-D work, sculpture, video, and photography. His work is informed by the principle of emergence as defined in systems theory and Buddhism. His process often involves an element of controlled randomness, taking great care to prepare the initial conditions for a process whose final results are largely out of his control.

As a composer and sound artist by training, the perception of the passage of time is a strongly recurring theme in Steve’s work.  Whether sonic or visual. he creates fixed works and installations that deal with mainly three different manifestations of this concept: fixed works that represent or capture a single moment in time, fixed works that are the result of a long process, and works that are themselves processes in perpetual unfolding.

Washington Glass School blog catches up with Steve as his work is part of the WGS Contemporary online exhibit “CLICK-IT!

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

Steve Wanna: As an experimental artist, I don’t have one set process in place. My work and process depend on the idea underlying a project and the materials in use. My inspirations vary from the literary to the scientific. I often have to invent new techniques for using materials in unconventional ways to realize my ideas, and I like the work to embody that process. My approach can be described as contained chaos, and most of my work hovers at the boundary between control and disorder: I carefully create containers or frameworks in which I then allow some process to unfold, almost completely unhindered. There’s an element of controlled randomness that allows processes and materials to come together to directly shape the final work, without constant intervention from me.

Steve Wanna, "Myth of Creation - CE181231.1036", Acrylic, powder pigment, resin, plaster, mixed media; 12" x 6" x 1.5"

Steve Wanna, “Myth of Creation – CE181231.1036″, Acrylic, powder pigment, resin, plaster, mixed media; 12″ x 6″ x 1.5″

I can describe the process of one of the works currently on offer. It comes from an ongoing series called Myths of Creation. Each work in the series is a record of a unique event, an instant of time, forever frozen. The idea was inspired by images from NASA’s Hubble Telescope of cosmic events like supernovae: what we see are records of ancient events that occurred eons ago but still have impact and immediacy. I wanted to capture that feeling. Each work is made by exploding various materials onto a prepared board. The resulting explosion becomes the work—each piece is a record of the very instant of its creation. The titles, which bear the date and time of the event, reflect this. The works are fixed finally in clear cast resin, which adds a depth and enhances the sense of these works as frozen moments of time, records of specific, cataclysmic events.

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

Steve Wanna: I have four works in this show that come from three different series, including, Myths of Creation, which I describe above. One thing that is difficult to convey in photographs is the depth and impact these pieces have. There’s a three-dimensional, sculptural quality that isn’t immediately obvious—the materials aren’t flat on the board but have texture and depth, and the cast resin enhances that. It’s also important to understand that when I create these works, I experience them as a viewer: each time I make a drop I don’t know what the result will be exactly and the work is being created anew for me. I find this an incredibly exciting and addictive feeling. 

Steve Wanna "...she who makes the moon the moon" - Scape #4", synthetic wax blend, paint, LED light, mixed media;6.25" x 6.25" x 3"

Steve Wanna “…she who makes the moon the moon” – Scape #4″, synthetic wax blend, paint, LED light, mixed media;6.25″ x 6.25″ x 3″

 

WGS: How have you handled the COVID-19 lockdown? How have you adapted?

Steve Wanna: I ended up catching the virus very early on, around mid-March, when very little was known. I struggled to get information and a test, but was lucky in that I didn’t require hospitalization. I had a range of symptoms that all cleared up eventually, except for two that lingered—some persistent weakness in smell and taste.

Like many artists, I wasn’t able to do much creatively. Free time isn’t helpful when it’s filled with anxiety and uncertainty on a global, national, and personal level. I’m hoping to get back into the swing of things soon, even though we still don’t have a clear path forward with this pandemic. But I do feel a sense of urgency to move one with life and try to figure out what things might look like in the future.

 steve.wanna.mix

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

Steve Wanna: I’m a composer by training and only recently went into visual art full time. I almost went into architecture, which I suppose is close to art. I also have a fascination with material sciences, physics, and philosophy. I still fantasize about being in a filed that somehow combines all those. Art comes pretty close. If I weren’t an artist I would still have to be involved in some creative activity. I don’t think I would know how to exist without that. I cook a lot and I relate to cooking in very much the same way: I like to experiment and see what happens. I think I’m addicted to discovering new things through play and experimentation and to making stuff.

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

Steve Wanna: Both. All my work has an element of chance or controlled randomness, but I’m also a very careful and meticulous planner. My personality is not impulsive and I’m even a bit of a control freak and that spills into my art practice. I use randomness as an antidote to being overbearing when it comes to making art—it helps get me out of the way of the work.

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

Steve Wanna: Most of my work relies on a process that I carefully put in place specifically to get me out of the way of having to make decisions like that. It’s a different way of thinking but I’ve found it to be more relaxed and open. It creates enough space to allow me and the work to coexist happily. The work is usually finished when the process is complete. I may have to make additional adjustments or modifications, but I try to stay true to the work and not insert unnecessary distractions into the work or my thinking.

Click here to jump to Steve Wanna’s artwork in CLICK-IT!

WGS Featured Artist: Carmen Lozar

CLICK IT! Featured Artist: Carmen Lozar

Carmen Lozar‘s glass sculptures inspires and provoke imagination. Telling stories has always been her primary objective. Some narratives are sad, funny, or thoughtful but artworks are always about celebrating life. Carmen lives in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois where she maintains a studio and is a member of the art faculty at Illinois Wesleyan University. She has taught at Pilchuck Glass School, Penland School of Craft, Pittsburgh Glass School, Appalachian Center for Crafts, The Chrysler Museum, and the Glass Furnace in Istanbul, Turkey. She has had residencies at the Corning Museum of Glass and Penland School of Craft. Although she travels abroad to teach and share her love for glass – most recently to Turkey, Italy, and New Zealand – she always returns to her Midwestern roots. 

Washington Glass School blog catches up with Carmen as her work is part of the WGS Contemporary online exhibit “CLICK-IT!” 

Carmen Lozar

Carmen Lozar

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

Carmen Lozar: I work with rods and tubes of borosilicate glass at a torch.  Flameworking lends itself to small intimate pieces, the type I most enjoy making. The process requires concentration, years of skill building and many, many generous mentors who are willing to share their knowledge. 

Caremen Lozar, "Bubble Gum", 2019, Flameworked glass, found object, 3"x 2"x 6"

Caremen Lozar, “Bubble Gum”, 2019, Flameworked glass, found object, 3″x 2″x 6″

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

Carmen Lozar: The work is the show is meant to be intimate and accessible, highlighting human follies in a lighthearted way. The bubble gum pieces are about the sticky messes we continually put ourselves in but also the ridiculous and stretchy nature of glass as a material. To me, much of the work is both funny and sad. 

The ketchup and mustard piece, Fight, is about the continual small spats that my daughters engage in daily. I know that they love each other and work well together but this does not stop them from ongoing sibling rivalry. This piece makes light of their arguments knowing they will pass and, in a way, preserving my sanity.

Carmen Lozar, "Fight", Flameworked glass and found object. 3"H x 8"L x 2"D

Carmen Lozar, “Fight”, Flameworked glass and found object. 3″H x 8″L x 2″D

WGS: How have you handled the Covid lockdown?

Carmen Lozar: I have been oscillating between enjoying a quiet summer and completely freaking out. There is so much to process and digest that I am sure the landscape of what we make will change as a result. I believe an entirely new aesthetic will result as a product of the pandemic and unrest.

Image from Carmen Lozar's sketchbook.

Image from Carmen Lozar’s sketchbook.

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

Carmen Lozar:  I do a lot of planning before I begin a new artwork, usually beginning with several drawings in my sketchbook. I usually stick to the drawing/idea pretty closely although if there are too many repetitive parts in the piece I will simplify. I have a short attention span and making the same objects over and over, while I love the way it looks, is difficult for me.

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

Carmen Lozar: An allergist.

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

Carmen Lozar: You get a crazy wonderful rush of adrenaline that you cannot find anywhere else!

Click here to jump to Carmen Lozar’s work in CLICK-IT!
Click HERE to jump to the show.

WGS Featured Artist: Erwin Timmers

CLICK IT! Featured Artist: Erwin Timmers

Erwin Timmers is the co-founder of the Washington Glass Studio and Washington Glass School. Originally from Amsterdam, he moved to California and graduated from Santa Monica College for Design Arts and Architecture. In 1999 he moved to the Washington DC area and since then his sculptural artwork has been on display in Zenith Gallery, Fraser Gallery, and Gallery Neptune. Erwin was named the Montgomery County, MD Executive’s Award Outstanding Artist of the Year in 2018.

His approach to art is multifaceted, incorporating metalwork, innovative lighting and glass design. He teaches glass, lighting, sculpture, and metal work. Industrial salvage and recycling are recurring themes in his work, which he sees as crucial parts to the interaction with one’s surroundings. Recently, the Artisan 4100 - an apartment community opening along Route 1 in Brentwood, MD – commissioned Erwin Timmers to create a major glass and light installation for the new building lobby.

Artist Erwin Timmers installs Artisan 4100 Building artwork commission.

Artist Erwin Timmers installs Artisan 4100 Building artwork commission.

Washington Glass School blog catches up with Erwin as his work is part of the WGS Contemporary online exhibit “CLICK-IT!”.

Washington Glass School (WGS): Describe your artwork method/process.
Erwin Timmers: I cast objects in recycled glass. For this series I have used discarded packaging material, from which I take molds in plaster. The glass then heats up in an electric kiln, melts and takes on the shape of this mold. To finish I chop, and trim the glass and weld the metal frame.

Erwin Timmers, "Patterns of Containment V" cast recycled glass

Erwin Timmers, “Patterns of Containment V” cast recycled glass

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

Erwin Timmers: The work features single-use plastic wrappings that viewers may recognize. The grid format formalizes the display of “trash” as art and then I use grids within each frame as well. I hope to give viewers a moment of pause while contemplating the shapes and patterns.

Erwin Timmer: detail "Patterns of Containment"

Erwin Timmer: detail “Patterns of Containment”

WGS: How have you handled the Covid lockdown?

Erwin Timmers: Initially COVID was like snow days we hadn’t had, but with great weather. That was before any financial pressure came into play. It was motivating to see the air pollution worldwide go down, I wish it could stay like that. But at the same time the single use plastic pollution is increasing, giving me even more art base materials…

WGS: What artwork/event has moved you and got you thinking about your own work?
Erwin Timmers: The current civil crisis has been deeply moving. It caused me to rethink and redevelop the direction of my hands symbol series.

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

Erwin Timmers suits up in his PPE gear to work in the studio.

Erwin Timmers suits up in his PPE gear to work in the studio. Or tend the studio bee-hives.

WGS: Do you do a lot of planning in your work – or is there an element of chance while working?
Erwin Timmers: I plan the general idea, but often new ideas and aspects emerge as I work. I try to incorporate these, and I can then evaluate whether they work or not.

WGS: What is your rule of thumb in determining when a work is finished?
Erwin Timmers: When I sign it, it is done…

Click here to jump to Erwin Timmers work in CLICK-IT!
Erwin’s work is part of the companion exhibit/fundraiser – “Artists for Racial Justice” Click HERE to jump to the show.

WGS Featured Artist: Cheryl Derricotte

CLICK IT! Featured Artist: Cheryl Derricotte

Cheryl  Derricotte is a visual artist and her favorite mediums are glass and paper. Originally from Washington, DC, she lives and makes art in San Francisco, CA.

Cheryl Derricotte

Cheryl Derricotte

She has an extensive background in the arts and community development. Cheryl holds the Master of Fine Arts from the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), the Master of Regional Planning from Cornell University and a B.A. in Urban Affairs from Barnard College, Columbia University. 

Recent awards include the Windgate Artist Fellowship at the Vermont Studio Center (2020/2021); Antenna Paper Machine Residency; San Francisco Individual Artist Commission, and the Puffin Foundation Grant, (all 2019/2020). She is also the recipient of the Hemera Foundation Tending Space Fellowship for Artists; the Rick and Val Beck Scholarship for Glass; Emerging Artist at the Museum of the African Diaspora; Gardarev Center Fellow; Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass’ Visionary Scholarship and a D.C. Commission on the Arts & Humanities/ National Endowment for the Arts Artist Fellowship Grant.

Washington Glass School blog catches up with Cheryl as her work is part of the WGS Contemporary online exhibit “CLICK-IT!

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

Cheryl Derricotte: I make art from research. This type of inquiry also leads me not just to economic but also environmental concerns. Observations of current events, politics, and urban landscapes are my entry into these issues. Cheryl_Derricotte_Working.In.The.glass.Studio.art.sculpture.american.clickit.wgs_contemporary

To make my work I use a variety of glass and printmaking techniques. My cold glasswork (unfired) often takes form as sculptural mixed media, involving books and found objects. Warm glass means work fired in a kiln up to approximately 1,500°F. I enjoy layering images and text onto warm glass pieces, featuring public domain historical photographs, drawings, or my own photographs. My preferred techniques include screen-printing with glass enamels or powder printing. My work on paper employs the techniques of image transfers, ink stamping and collage. Over the past few years, I have been enjoying learning the craft of bookbinding. I recently exhibited my first artist book, entitled “Emily” about a runaway slave’s journey along the Ohio River.

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

Cheryl Derricotte:  Most often I create work in series. “Oil and Water,” looks at communities that live in the shadow of oil: California places like Richmond, Los Angeles and Manhattan Beach. The two pieces in the show use historical images from Los Angeles.

Cheryl Derricotte, "Red Alert"; glass

Cheryl Derricotte, “Red Alert”; glass

 

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

Cheryl Derricotte: I do a lot of planning! Text is an important component of my artwork. I often say that I live under the tyranny of title. A phrase will get stuck in my head, such as “21st Century Capital” and I wrestle with it until an artwork is created. Thus, many of my pieces have titles before I ever make a schematic drawing, much less cut a piece of glass.

WGS: How have you handled the Covid lockdown?

Cheryl Derricotte: The lockdown has been tough. My studio building – where I do my glasswork & house my kiln – closed in the first week of March. In order to stay in touch with my creativity during the lockdown, I took short online classes in printmaking & bookarts; I developed a sketching practice.

My studio building recently became accessible again under San Francisco’s phased re-opening of businesses, and I am excited to get back to glass in July. I have been invited to participate in an upcoming show at the French Embassy in San Francisco, and I am going to make some new works appropriate to the show’s theme.

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

Cheryl Derricotte: The returned societal focus on police brutality, has made one of my series on paper more relevant than ever before. “The Blue Wall Project” maps people killed by the police using data from the Guardian UK’s “The Counted” and the Washington Post’s “Fatal Force.” Thanks to funding from the Puffin Foundation, I am moving this work online so activists can use my visuals for posters and postcards in support of efforts to #DefundThePolice and re-invest that money in more meaningful community programs, including the arts.

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

Cheryl Derricotte: That’s easy! I already have a dual identity. I am also a licensed city planner. I have worked “day jobs” in real estate development and facilities management for many years in both non-profits and corporate/tech spaces. I make art and creative places. I have never met a warehouse space I didn’t like.

Click HERE to jump to Cheryl Derricotte’s work in CLICK-IT!

WGS Featured Artist: Sean Donlon

CLICK IT! Featured Artist: Sean Donlon

Sean Donlon has been drawn to the challenges of glass manipulation. Sean earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Craft and Material Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2012. He has traveled all over the United States and internationally to Lauscha, Germany and Murano, Italy to study lost glass techniques and to work with other glass artists. Among his distinguished honors, Sean has been the recipient of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts fellowship, was awarded Craft + Design’s Best in Show, and was recently featured in American Craft Magazine. Sean’s work has been exhibited in the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, and the Chrysler Museum. He is currently living and working in Richmond, VA.

Sean Donlon

Sean Donlon

Washington Glass School blog catches up with Sean as his work is part of the WGS Contemporary online exhibit “CLICK-IT!”.

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

Sean Donlon: I use flameworking, a glassblowing technique, to create these teapots. Within the manipulation of glass and fire a unique vessel is born.

Sean Donlon, "Tantric Tea Time"; glass / mixed media

Sean Donlon, “Tantric Tea Time“; glass / mixed media

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

Sean Donlon: We are surrounded daily by functional objects; beauty everywhere is easily overlooked when it is hidden in plain view. Becoming obsessed with this practical object turned into an opportunity to make sense of the world.

The teapot became a symbol in my eyes, one that could be recognized by all people. Throughout history teapots have been used as a canvas for expression through its maker or utilizer. This makes the teapot a greater symbol – one that can connect everyone on the principle of taking a moment to wind down, interact, tell stories, or internally reflect.

This inanimate object becomes vibrant and alive when juxtaposed in a foreign environment; every teapot manifests its own personality in these installations. Reflecting light off of each other and playing with their environment, these teapots, in every viewing angle become their own story. 

WGS: How have you handled the Covid lockdown?

Sean Donlon: It has been difficult, and a storm of emotions. I have family who is going through treatment for a terminal cancer and covid isn’t making that experience any easier.

I run a shared studio space with other artists, and it has been a big change. In the pace of the workplace, and to make sure everyone is on the same page in our adapting to this pandemic.  Safety has always been our top priority, I was very excited to see how everyone came together to make things operate smoothly.  It hasn’t been easy, but I have realized so many small things I love about life. Between the sound of water pouring on coffee beans for cold brew, and how light can change so much in a few seconds throughout the day.  Its made me so grateful to be able to reconnect with the world around me again.

I was thinking there would be a large flow of creative energy, but it has actually been hit and miss.  Its made my work slow down but in a great way.  New work from this is in the works and I am excited to share it when its ready… but its kind of hush hush till then.   

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

Sean Donlon: I discovered glass when I was working as a tire installer.  I had a car dropped when I was working on it and almost lost my hands and it was that day, I decided to switch to glass full time… I wanted to keep using my hands to create art and have not looked back since that decision.

Sean Donlon's surreal teapots.

Sean Donlon’s surreal teapots.

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

Sean Donlon: Much of the planning starts with the concept and design.  Then trying to figure out what tools to make is important to each piece.  Everything gets a custom-made component to make the mounting and shaping seamless.  Then the raw fun starts.  When doing the hot glass part, it is planned – but then I do allow room to have the natural avenue of chance and error to come into play!

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

Sean Donlon: (When the hot glue is dry… JK). I wish this was an easy answer but its not.  I often know when I am working the glass on the torch when its done.  There will be this moment where it just speaks to me in a way that i see if i change anything else it’ll be too much or throw off the balance of the piece.  Once this is done I still have to install and mirror the work so its still a long process after the glass is made.

My rule of thumb is when the work has the right gesture, narrative, flow, and I am happy with it.  I won’t let something out that I am not please with, and it takes failed works to make the great ones.

 

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

 

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.