Scott Benefield Chairs the Jury at the British Glass Biennale

We are thrilled that Scott Benefield, who will be teaching with us this Autumn, has chaired the jury at this year’s prestigious British Glass Biennale. The jury have selected the pieces that will comprise the Biennale, an exhibition central to the International Festival of Glass, held every other year at the Ruskin Mill in Stourbridge. The 2017 exhibition, curated by Matt Durran, features work by 63 contemporary artists and will open to the public on August 25th. http://www.biennale.org.uk/.

Scott is a multi-award winning artist, educator and writer and past president of the Glass Art Society (US). He has been a Fellow at the Creative Glass Center of America and an artist-in-residence at the National College of Art & Design (Ireland), North Lands Creative Glass (UK), Vrij Glas (Netherlands), Pittsburgh Glass Center, the Corning Museum of Glass and the Tacoma Museum of Glass (US). His writing about studio glass has been published in numerous publications, including Glass Quarterly and the Glass Art Society Journal.

He is a master of Italian cane techniques and has taught cane workshops at the Penland School of Crafts, the Pilchuck Glass School, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, the National College of Art and Design (Ireland), the Glass Furnace (Turkey) and as a visiting scholar at Osaka University of the Arts in 2009.

Scott will be sharing his expertise at the Glass Hub over the five-day masterclass, ‘Introduction to Venetian Cane Techniques’ (16 – 20 October 2017). If you would like to join us for this course please click here or contact us for more information.

The Freedom of the ‘One Off’ Masterclass with Joseph Harrington

The Glass Hub welcomed Joseph Harrington once again for a rather special masterclass – ‘The Freedom of the One-Off’. Joe has had a busy time recently – being represented by Bullseye Projects at Collect in February, chosen as Maker of the Week by the Crafts Council shortly afterwards, and then having a piece acquired by the V&A Museum for their Glass Gallery. So we were extremely excited to have Joe here to show students the techniques and methodology involved in his beautiful geologically inspired kiln cast pieces…..

The Freedom of the ‘One Off’ Masterclass with Joseph Harrington

The Glass Hub welcomed Joseph Harrington once again for a rather special masterclass – ‘The Freedom of the One-Off’. Joe has had a busy time recently – being represented by Bullseye Projects at Collect in February, chosen as Maker of the Week by the Crafts Council shortly afterwards, and then having a piece acquired by the V&A Museum for their Glass Gallery. So we were extremely excited to have Joe here to show students the techniques and methodology involved in his beautiful geologically inspired kiln cast pieces. As Joe says, ‘the main principle within my work is to create a sense of progression and evolution within a solid permanent form’. Students were challenged on the first morning to create ten quick and spontaneous creative forms in clay, without too much thought of the process involved. The aim was to ‘free up’ the mind and creativity, without being hindered by thoughts of how the pieces would be cast or moulds made! Following this we were encouraged to explore materials such as clay, sand, and found objects to make an open cast piece. Joe showed us how to explore the properties and physicality of these materials, such as heating clay and manipulating until it cracks, or pouring wax onto clay, combining and experimenting with possibilities. These were cast up into moulds, and loaded with glass for the day’s first firing!

The next day we were treated to a presentation of images of Joe’s work and the progression he has made over the last 20 years working in glass. Joe began with a degree in Ceramics and Glass, making ceramic pieces, but soon realised that glass was the medium he was drawn towards. It was interesting to see Joe’s progression though his glass pieces, as the scale increased as well as the distinctiveness of his ‘geological’ style which evolved as he came to use ice as a material. The ice is eroded and sculpted with salt then cast into glass, capturing a moment in time as the ice is melting. This thawing of ice provides a physical time frame to work within, heightening the importance of artistic judgment and decision-making. The day’s task for students was to work on an ice piece. Blocks of ice were chosen from the freezer and then students set about carving, eroding and melting to achieve a piece which would be cast into glass. There were some challenges in controlling the form and maintaining the integrity of the mould whilst the ice is melting, but everyone achieved the task and began to think about what colours etc they would use for casting. Ice as a modelling material certainly opened up many opportunities for working in new and exciting ways. A delicious meal in the evening contributed to a general feeling of well-being!

The third day began with another approach to mould making, exploring a ‘mosaic’ of modelling materials to achieve new juxtapositions of form. Joe showed student how to cut up cast pieces of plaster, clay and ice to reassemble with sand, creating the positive form which was then covered in refractory mould mix to create a casting mould. He then led a discussion of cold-working techniques, such an important part of Joe’s practice, but something difficult to achieve with limited equipment. Joe kindly offered many tips and tricks for working on pieces with a limited budget for equipment, and everyone felt that there were new possibilities for achieving some finishing at home in the future. We then had the opportunity to get the first pieces out of the kiln, which seemed to have been made eons ago! There was excitement as pieces were assessed and discussions had as to how pieces could be changed or improved in the future. Before long students were rushing to finish off the day’s mould making before finally departing, fired up with enthusiasm for the new directions and inspirations which they had discovered. Once again Joe proved to be a considerate, knowledgeable and motivating tutor, generous in the information he gave to everyone, and expert in his awareness and understanding of glass as a material. We’re looking forward to the next time already!

Helga Watkins-Baker

Masterclass – Breaking the Mould with Karl Harron

karl-harron-glassmaker

It is easy to fall into a groove when following our own creative paths with glass. Occasionally it feels good to be introduced to new techniques and practices that can open-up alternative creative pathways. Karl Harron’s masterclass encouraged us all to re-think and re-address the properties of glass and how we think it all works.

The workshop began with a discussion of the properties of glass: c.o.e; viscosity and flow; surface value; reactivity, followed by a flurry of questions from students as we were all introduced to new concepts and ideas about forming glass.

We all chose a theme to work on throughout the week, and the diversity of human creativity was illustrated as we talked though our chosen subject.

Students spent the first day preparing glass samples for the kiln, working with two colours to explore reactivity and viscosity. Vessel pieces were also prepared for their first shallow (and easiest!) slump in the kiln. Minds were buzzing as we finished the day with more questions than answers.

Day two began with the preparation of the vessels and moulds for slumping and an explanation of the principles of manipulating glass in the kiln for a deeper slump. What transpired to be the longest day of the week (we didn’t finish until 9pm!) ended with everyone successfully controlling the slumping process to get even vessel forms with some considerable depth. Our lovely samples came out of the kiln and everyone began to get excited about how effective the combination of using simply two glass colours with a lead/sulphur reaction, was. At the end of a long, hot day we all retired with thoughts of the third deeper slump to come.

Day three saw the already beautiful glass pieces returned to the kiln for their final journey in heat transformation, all of us feeling like we had a handle on opening-up kilns repeatedly for hours on end. Great teamwork and hard work enabled all participants to see their vessels through to the end, as the glass stretched its way down to near the bottom of the third mould.

More concept tiles and thoughts of creative themes were laid up by students in the following days to reflect new discoveries and thoughts. The deep-slumped forms were given some cold-finishing treatments to reveal their full beauty. We were all excited about the possibilities that this complex and technical approach to kiln-working glass can bring, and students left with much food for thought. A big thank you to Karl for bringing his expertise and inspirational glass making to us here at the Glass Hub; to Amy Casto for all her great assistance; to Karen Warner for general amazingness, and to all the students for their wonderful ideas contributions …and resilience!

Helga Watkins-Baker

Karl Harron slumped glass vesselAbout Karl Harron

Working in a centuries-old continuum of metallurgy and craftsmanship inherited from his Irish past, glass artist Karl Harron combines lead and sulphur-bearing glasses with fine silver to create elegant kiln-formed vessels whose etched and light resonating surfaces have an elemental essence. In sculpting his glass Karl Harron moves from traditional vessels to exciting expressions of “form and material” conveying ideas and visual poetry, while still retaining vestiges of their original function. These vessels are both functional and enveloping. They embody the preservation of materials and the containment of things precious to us, symbolising fragments of history, reflecting the every day, and conversely the revered. They narrate a story, from where they came, and their reason for being.


KARL HARRON MASTERCLASS – 2017

We are planning a second instalment of Karl during the Autumn of 2017 if you are interested in participating then please register you interest by adding your name and email to our list. We do not share information with any third parties.

Register your interest.


Some photos from the course:

 

Lisa Pettibone is Shaping up this November

Lisa Pettibone - Green Fold

We will soon be welcoming the talented master glass artist Lisa Pettibone back to The Glass Hub. Lisa returns this November to share her extensive knowledge of sculptural glass slumping.

After years of slumping glass, both kiln cast and fused pieces, she has discovered new ways to express form and volume that has occupied her artistic and technical thoughts for ten years or more. This involves careful temperature control and planning, allowing glass to fall into, onto and through objects in the kiln as well as making props and moulds. Letting shapes fall naturally with props can achieve a range of shapes, but we may extend this and actually go inside the kiln to manipulate hot glass too.

Lisa is unique in her approach to glass. Gravity, energy and tension are at the core of her work, and the results are beautiful, stretching glass, techniques and the imagination. We have a couple of places left on this brilliant 3-day workshop if you want to join Lisa and take your glassmaking to the next level.

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Summer School Extra Fun

summer-school-2016-group

What a blast! We have just come to the end of another brilliant Summer School here at The Glass Hub …our seventh in fact. On Monday we welcomed in our lovely group of eight students, five of whom are back for the second, third and even fourth time and on Friday we waved goodbye to eight lovely friends. The week really did fly by with not a moment wasted. this was our Summer School Extra for students who have some experience so we tried lots of interesting techniques. At the Glass Hub we run a hot glass studio alongside our warm glass studio so we are uniquely placed to practice techniques involving both hot and warm glass.

Among other glass explorations we made murrine by stacking sheet glass and tack fusing it. Then we took the fused glass into the hot shop and pulled into murine canes, and chopped up with our murine chopper into small slices. These elements were then re-incorporated back into fused work, with unique and striking results – – a fascinating insight into an ancient technique.

Students and glass alike were put through their paces and stretched, moulded and tweaked in so many ways. We also practiced glassblowing, reactive fusing, sandcasting, drop outs, kiln casting and much more. After so much work the glass gang managed some time to chill together …in the pub for a drink and a meal; at the campsite next to the river and at the Manor with a delicious cream tea. On Thursday evening while watching the talented James Devereux and Katie Huskie’s master demonstration we enjoyed a proper feast of a barbecue cooked up by the marvellous and invaluable Karen, with amazing puddings from our foundation student Sarah. Thank you everyone so much for making it such fantastic and exhausting fun. Have a look at some of the photos…

Angela Jarman Masterclass

Angela-Jarman-Masterclass-Day-2 (9)We launched into our Summer term here at The Glass Hub with a fantastic and completely sold-out kiln-glass masterclass with Angela Jarman. Always a great joy to have around she led nine students through a world of moulding and casting with a focus on surface texture and pattern.

Angela-Jarman-Masterclass-Day-1 (10)

Angela is a unique artist, her sensitive and imaginative work is powerful and dynamic, yet intricate and feminine. This exciting masterclass began with an introduction to the processes, an explanation of the techniques students would be exploring, and then everyone busying themselves making waxes from textured objects, and duplicates of small items they had brought. The emphasis was on the quickness and simplicity with which multiple items can be reproduced in wax using alginate and silicon master moulds, to produce new and intriguing forms.

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Angela Jarman and a World of Texture

Angela-Jarman-Masterclass-Day-2 (4)We launched into our Summer term here at The Glass Hub with a fantastic and completely sold-out kiln-glass masterclass with Angela Jarman. Always a great joy to have around she led nine students through a world of moulding and casting with a focus on surface texture and pattern.

Angela is a unique artist, her sensitive and imaginative work is powerful and dynamic, yet intricate and feminine. The first day of this exciting masterclass began with an introduction to the processes, an explanation of the techniques students would be exploring, and then everyone busying themselves making waxes from textured objects, and duplicates of small items they had brought. The emphasis was on the quickness and simplicity with which multiple items can be reproduced in wax using alginate and silicon master moulds, to produce new and intriguing forms.

Day 2 began with students taking the waxes from the former day, with explanations of further processes, modelling techniques, ways of building up components whilst keeping the sense of the “whole piece”. Angela gave a fascinating talk about her work and its development, describing where she has come from in her thought and physical /creative processes, to where she is now.   Students left that day exhausted but full of inspiration from this……it sometimes takes meeting and learning and being around someone who has turned hard work and talent into a success to remember what can be achieved if we try hard enough!

Day 3, as ever, was predictably the busiest and most frantic in the kiln room, with everyone with a massive refractory bucket list, all by 4 pm!!! Armed with cottling, boards, plaster, finishing off last minute details and picking the last bits of Angela’s well worked brain, students dipped, carved, boarded up, weighed out glass and eventually managed to get all moulds finished and into the kilns. A fantastic course, big thanks to Angela and of course the awesome TA Holly Hatt, who helps us out endlessly on more and more kiln courses.