Transmigration: Wood, Fire, Glass

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By  Lani
2011-05-07 10:41:42
We’ve got plenty of Ponderosa Pine in the Pacific Northwest. It grows in Central Oregon and arrives at Bullseye in truckloads to be made into crating for the sheet glass we make. [caption id="attachment_3568" align="alignnone" width="450" caption="Artist Munson Hunt with Ponderosa pine from New Mexico"][/caption] So why look outside Oregon for more? And why then invite a sculptor whose primary medium is not glass into our factory to turn this wood to charcoal and charcoal to glass? [caption id="attachment_3570" align="alignnone" width="450" caption="Having suffered a lightning strike in New Mexico, Munson’s pine slabs met their ultimate funeral in the Bullseye factory area known as “the bone yard”."][/caption]   This and related questions are at the core of Bullseye’s upcoming biennial conference, BECon, which this June will address the topic of “Crossover”. What specifically are we looking for when we venture outside our own field? What can we learn from artists whose primary material is not glass? And what might they learn from us? Among BECon’s roster of presenting artists and technical experts we’ll hear from two who will have recently completed residencies – or as we term them “Exchanges” - at the Bullseye factory. Munson Hunt is an artist from Santa Fe, New Mexico whose primary medium is wood. Transitioning to glass involves much more than learning the methods of mold-making or casting. It means an entirely new language. As Munson explained: “In order to realize the qualities of glass, many of the qualities of wood no longer held the same importance. What was more important was to retain the rawness that existed in the wood sculptures and to make that apparent in glass.”   [caption id="attachment_3572" align="alignnone" width="450" caption="Discussion with charred slabs: Cov, Ted, Munson."][/caption]   Dan and I have been passing through the R & E studios over the course of Munson’s project - enjoying both the discoveries involved in translating 200 lb slabs of wood into 500 lb slabs of glass and the always refreshing perspectives of an artist for whom glass is not the first language.   [caption id="attachment_3573" align="alignnone" width="450" caption="Coldworking glass slab: there’s nothing Dan enjoys quite as much as mopping up around his factory."][/caption]   We’re still some days away from seeing the glass slabs upright. But from previews caught by crawling under the coldworking table, I know already that they are going to be breath-taking. For all of you already signed up for BECon, prepare for a thought-provoking new way of looking at glass. For those of you who haven’t registered yet, there’s still time. And for Munson, who came to Oregon with wood, ideas, and such brilliant questions this Spring: thank you. We’re looking forward to continuing the dialogue in June – and beyond.   [caption id="attachment_3574" align="alignnone" width="450" caption="Munson under a sky-full of ideas."][/caption]