In June artist Steve Klein was teaching in La Granja, Spain. By July he had led a professional artist-in-residence program at the Pilchuck Glass School in Washington State. It’s August now and he’s co-teaching a workshop with Kaffe Fassett at North Lands Creative Glass here in Scotland. This fall he’ll be at Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem.
Steve claims to have bad knees. I can’t imagine how much faster he’d move with good ones.
Yesterday I dropped by his class here in Lybster. The studio walls were drenched in the wildest explosions of color, the tables were littered with wild flowers and I spied a sketchbook of notes about Scottish pudding buried under samples of pumpkin and fluorescent orange glasses.
It didn’t quite feel like Steve’s style to me, but that’s one of the sides to Steve that I admire most. He’s the consummate workshop leader: supportive, facilitating, inexhaustible in moving the program along – whether it’s his program or a group effort, or – as this current workshop – the technicolor overflow of his co-teacher’s over-the-top aesthetic.
Deceptively phlegmatic, Kaffe the King of Kolour knits peacefully in the background as two Old Glass Guys obliviously debate the COE of boro v. Bullseye in the foreground.
Zooming beyond the flurry of glass formulations, it’s pretty clear that the Fassett pallette is pushing the limits of the Bullseye color range.
Steve regularly leads workshops with other artists and designers. He’s taught numerous short courses with artist/educator Jane Bruce. At Pilchuck he teamed up with Richard Parrish to lead the PAiR session. Just a few years ago he juggled an impressive series of classes in China with Catharine Newell.
Team-taught courses are not the norm in our field. But, done well, they can be the most dynamic. It’s frequently a delicate balance of powerful energies and inspiring – but rarely demure – egos. When it works, it affords all involved the rare chance to be part of some of the most powerful dialogues in the arts. Steve’s stamina, his generosity and his legendary sense of balance have provided the fulcrum for a world of these delicate and inspiring opportunities. All of us in the field of contemporary glass are in his debt for that.
I just hope his knees hold up.
Talk about flexible: This is what Steve’s (Pilchuck) table looked like in July.
This is his (North Lands) table in August: