Andrea Spencer Masterclass – Where Lampworking met Fusing.

Andrea Spencer Masterclass 19th – 20th October

Andrea Spencer is fast becoming one of the UK’s leading women glass artists. Her work is simply exquisite, and with a spirited and investigational teaching style, Andrea joined us to teach an explorative Masterclass for students eager to merge the techniques of lampworking with fusing. Her class was instantly booked, with a waiting list to boot.

Andrea has extensive experience in glass, working with a myriad of processes and techniques. After graduating from Edinburgh with a BA in Architectural glass, one can still see echoes of this background in the way she displays and frames her work. Her glass is inspired by natural forms and can be both incredibly delicate and capable of filling spaces with site-specific installations. Her work embodies both the experience of natural forms and personal narrative. Among many other things, she has been an artist-in-residence at North Lands Creative Glass (Scotland) and a visiting artist at Penland School of Crafts (USA) and Pilchuck Glass School (USA).  Andrea Spencer’s work is held in significant public and private collections and has been exhibited in galleries in the UK, USA and China. Notably, her work has been exhibited in three British Glass Biennale exhibitions (2008, 2010, 2012). Andreas public art commissions can also be seen in several healthcare buildings throughout Northern Ireland.

On Day one, Andrea’s students arrived: Some with a background in fusing who wanting to use lampworking to extend their manipulation of glass, and some with a lampworking background, wanting to extend skills with the kiln process. This experimental class fired up imaginations alongside the torches – fuelled by Andrea’s tremendous energy and enthusiasm. Running the torches hotter than is normal for standard torch work, the excess air and gas, soon turned everyone’s glass molten, and they were dropping, twisting and pulling multiple small objects that would later be placed onto a sheet of bullseye to create a composite work. Following a few demos, everyone was set to work on their individual components.

This was no bead class but one where students were encouraged to heat and drop, squash, sculpt, twist and squish the coloured rods to create small pieces which were then placed directly onto the kiln shelf ready for assembling later on. This somewhat unconventional way of working was refreshing, the items being small enough to sit together on the shelf, and all ready to use that same afternoon. For the impatient, this was a genius moment of discovery. Soon the batch of small objects were assembled onto sheets of bullseye glass. Some sat flat on the sheet as they had fallen hot onto the kiln shelf, so didn’t roll around, glue was used for the bits that did move. In this way students built up their composite works and the kiln was set for the first day’s firing.

Over the two days, Andrea would give a series of demos, and students would then interpret what they had learned into their own work. Andrea demonstrated skill in manipulating sheet glass pieces – bringing them together and sculpting them into a beautiful leaf and a delicate wishbone in an ivory colour. This was a unique way of working and a contemporary approach to an ancient technique. Students were so inspired by the making process they forged ahead, making multiple small objects right until the end of the second day. They left with, not only a large bag, full of components to fuse at home, but a great sack of knowledge and freedom.

Thank you Andrea!

Click the image below to view photos on Flickr
Andrea Spencer Masterclass

There will be another class with Andrea in the Autumn, 2018. please contact us if you are interested.

Advertisements

Scott Benefield Cane Masterclass

Scott Benefield and Andrea Spencer arrived from Belfast on a Sunday night and were whisked through the high hedges and darkness to Stowford farm where they would spend the next week teaching at The Glass Hub.

Day 1.
The following morning Scott introduced our group of six keen students to the types of glass cane they were going to be pulling over the week. The first day – simple “veiled” cane. Colours were chosen, cut and heated up in the top loaders, ready to be picked up. The ladders were laid out, doors closed for draughts and Scott demonstrated a few hot and perfect pulls. Then it was our students’ turn. The speed, accuracy and single-handed style of Scott is both unique and authentically a Murano style. This was certainly challenging for the group, but the day ended with bundles of coloured canes ready for day two.

View Day 1 Photos on Flickr

Day 2
So how do you go about rolling up, round, lively and separate canes into a uniform sheet that curls obediently into the required cylinder? Scott showed us exactly how by lining up the canes on the kiln shelf, he takes a measurement with the pie dividers and while this is being heated, gathers and forms a collar to suit. The glass on the kiln shelf is heated, turned, squeezed with paddles and on reaching the perfect temperate (good to roll but not to stick) the canes are rolled and brushed clean before being blown into a beautiful black and white cane cup.
The rest of the day was spent learning not just the art of blowing out the cup, but also how to work as a team, communicating well and getting the necessary precision of timings.

View Day 2 Photos on Flickr

Day 3
Scott lines up seven white canes on the ribbed pastorelli and picks them up on one side of a large gather. He proceeds to heat and pull out the loveliest length of flat cane Piatina or “pin stripe” as he called it. Next pick-up is an evenly spaced roll of canes that is twisted to form the “Rete” cane and finally before the students got started, Scott demonstrates the gorgeous Ballotini cane, where the twist appeared looped like stitches inside.

Now students practiced some of these cane-pulling techniques to build up a library of canes. Only a short break for Scott, until the smell of roast lamb and curry permeates the hot shop as we prepare food for the evening’s demonstration. All of us enjoyed the most incredible demo’ by Scott that evening, assisted by Andrea, Katie Huskie and Emma Baker. James Devereux was on door duty only, as Scott produced a stunning incalmo platter with lip wrap and pinstripes.
We were joined by students from a range of backgrounds including skilled production blowers from Bristol Blue together with our own foundation students and more! After Scott, Dave from Bristol Blue got onto the bench and made a sword, then a wine glass, finishing off the evening of glass, food and wine with laughter and glass drama.


View Day 3 Photos on Flickr

Day 4
Scott starts the day with a demo’ of delicate cane pulling in blues, making a curvaceous hour glass shape. He was assisted by Ben, a recent graduate from Plymouth, who kindly stepped into Andrea’s place as she started her own “Form to Fuse” masterclass next door. A black, clear and pinstripe (Striche and Piatina) vase was created to inspire the group in the potentials of the technique. Students then pulled and blew as they entered the last furlong of the course, galloping towards the speed, fluidity and finesse shown by the master – Scott. The energy was intense, concentrated and focused with students finding their feet on the cane ladders, that were, literally, strewn across the floor for the pull.

View Day 4 Photos on Flickr

Day 5
Our final day and final demo as Scott shows us his system of making cane in a production style. A long tube of cane is cut into several sections and held in the kiln until required. Scott then blew up a beautiful vase to finish off his time in the bench as students got their final piece and pulls done. It was awe-inspiring how far the students had progressed and how much they absorbed of these incredible techniques originating in Venice centuries ago, crossed to America, discovered by Scott and now brought here from the shores of Northern Ireland. A brilliant week and a good end to our Northern Irish Masters’ classes. No doubt these skills will be spreading through Scotland and England in the years to come, keeping these ancient and important techniques really alive.

View Day 5 Photos on Flickr

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.

Joseph Harrington and The Freedom of the One-Off

Joseph-Harrington-masterclass-students-2016We were so pleased to finally welcome Joseph Harrington through our doors at The Glass Hub. His work has always been so iconic for us, the rugged forms, natural tones and essence of landscape has always been a favourite, as well as his lovely nature to boot.

Using his direct approach with the modelling material the spirit lives on within the work. He seems to capture a sense of time and movement within a solid object, expressing an evolution of forms and a reaction of materials and energies acting upon each other. He has developed a unique working method using ice as a modelling medium. The ice is eroded and sculpted with salt then cast in 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.

Check out his stuff, www.josephharrington.co.uk

Joe has had a lot of experience in his relatively short career, working with the best in Britain, getting his Master’s degree and even running a class at Bullseye glass in Oregon, USA. This class at The Glass Hub was long awaited by ourselves and students alike and we were not disappointed. Joe arrived to a studio packed with everything (and more) that a kiln caster could desire. We had everything from salt, sand, a freezer full of ice blocks and even lard! …yes lard was on the shopping list.

Students began on Friday morning armed with clay on boards, sand and wax, ready to make an impression. Then followed a flurry of clay modelling …texture making using a whole variety of tools and materials including scrunched up papers and gritty sands. Our open casting moulds were being poured by the afternoon.

Saturday morning began with pulling the clay from the open cast moulds, followed an introduction to Joseph’s signature dish of lost ice sculpture – carving a block of ice, using salt, a blow torch and tools.

On our final day, students reviewed the results from Friday’s moulds and continued making ice sculptures and adding texture and form with bit of cold working. Joe led this class to a satisfying end leaving us all inspired and full of ideas. Something tells me it won’t just be food in the freezers at home soon. Check out some of the photos from his class in the album below.

Thanks once again Joe, and to Holly and Mylene for all their hard work and assistance.

Till the next time.

Liam Reeves Shares Venetian Mastery

liam-reeves-venetian-glass-techniques-class-(10)Liam Reeves – Venetian Techniques. Saturday 18 – Sunday 19 April 2015

We had students from Scotland, Switzerland, Dorset and America adding an international flavour to our Venetian glass class with Liam Reeves.  After a Brief welcome, Liam began with a short history about Venetian glass, and the influences this particular style has had on historical and contemporary glass. Continue reading