BECon 2013 Sessions
Every two years, artists, makers, educators, and others interested in kilns and the glass that goes into them congregate in Portland, Oregon, to look, listen, and lecture. Lani McGregor will introduce this BECon and summarize who we are, where we’re from, and what we dream of accomplishing in the days ahead, as color collides with kiln-glass at the intersections of art, history, process, and poetry, resulting in—let’s hope—some serendipitous accidents.
The relationship between color and material seems obvious, yet most color theories ignore this critical topic. Common theories conceive of color as abstract, pure color in swatches or wheels. Color, however, is physical and this gap in the theory needs to be addressed by any artist who moves between materials. Michigan-based artist Beverly Fishman will do just that in her keynote address for BECon. Fishman’s high-chroma works have utilized everything from industrial and signage materials, phosphorescence, resin, and now glass. She’ll discuss how her approach to color changes as her materials change.
"Color," wrote the late painter Sam Francis, "is light on fire. It is also thought on fire. Throughout history and across cultures, colors have been laden with symbolic implications. As writer David Batchelor brilliantly demonstrated in his 2000 book, Chromophobia, saturated colors have long been equated with evil and decadence, while minimal or neutral colors have stood for purity and austerity. Why is this, and how has this dialectical approach manifested in historical, modern, and contemporary art? In this talk, author and art critic Richard Speer will offer analysis spanning the realms of philosophy, literature, linguistics, gender studies, music, film, advertising, and the wider arena of popular culture. He will also offer strategies for artists, particularly those who work with glass, to harness color's transformative power, both in the studio and during the course of everyday life.
"The world is color, nature is color, culture and art are color, as well as the psyche." Roman born, US educated, Mexican resident, and public art star in China, Narcissus Quagliata will focus on the perception of color as a key to understanding culture, art, and ourselves. He will conclude with reflections on the nature of light as the color that profoundly affects the soul.
Where does the factory get ideas for new hues? Are there some colors that are impossible to produce in glass? How can artists work with Bullseye to develop glass colors? Hear stories about the origins of some of the most interesting glass colors from members of Bullseye's Product Development team. Dan Schwoerer, Sam Andreakos, and Ted Sawyer discuss the creative tension involved in creating colors that are unique, yet also scalable, repeatable, and compatible.
James B. Thompson addresses the history of color, how his work and processes in various media incorporate concepts of color, and how his creative exploration of glass and its inherent properties inform his understanding of color as an art practitioner.
"Like most accomplished abusers of information I incorporate multiple levels of deceit, manipulation, and both feigned and true ignorance." So begins the description of this session originally submitted (late) by artist Richard Marquis. To summarize the rest, he'll describe his approach to working with glass as a material ("I ignore all melting advice ... it's like I toss buckets of quarters into a deep wishing well") and the often weeks-long portmanteau process—blowing some shapes, pulling round and square cane and bundling them into complex patterns that get pulled again into complicated murrine, fusing rods into stripes, checkerboards, and odd patterns—that ultimately results in what he calls "various objets d'art": eggs and elephants, boats and teapots, potatoes and Marquiscarpae that are universally celebrated for their beauty, subversive charm, and distinctive blend of humor and pathos. He'll also discuss why he doesn't worry about things cracking ("a natural process embraced by the natural world") or compatibility ("except with my wife").
"Some places on earth can make you feel very small indeed, while at the same time filling every ounce of you with the boundless possibilities of being alive. I have been fortunate enough to find such a place: North Lands Creative Glass." Louise Tait outlines what makes this center of excellence in glass in the Scottish Highlands so special for artists who visit from around the world. She'll also explore how the color, light, landscape, air, and history of the setting have shaped her and her work.
During her undergraduate training as a painter in Chicago, Smith discovered the world of printmaking through her love of ephemeral posters scattered throughout the urban landscape. Her exploration of this interest took her from painting these artifacts, to producing and posting her own prints, to a more archeological and ultimately transformative approach to working with her muse. Today she continues to harness the power of the high-contrast graphic images produced by a small army of youth culture warriors in the battle to grab our attention—but she does it with kiln-glass.
What can we learn as artists and educators in observing children creating with color and glass? What makes this particular material—glass—and this artmaking method—kilnforming—so powerful in the development of a child’s vision? How can kilnforming fit into a larger educational program? Where does it coalesce with a curriculum of science, math, and reading? Join Brazee Street Studio’s Sandra Gross as she leads us through varied glass projects with children as young as 3 that form the core of her research in this transformative territory. From a glass universe in Toledo, Ohio to glass rainbows in a Santa Fe museum, color and kiln-glass have proven themselves powerful forces within children’s education.
In the Beginning Was Black
"In the beginning was black. Then Isaac Newton's new order of colors marked a chromatic revolution and ever since a dual symbolism has accompanied the color black." Rainey's starting point is the human experience of loss. Combining that with the physicality of the color black sparked his investigation into the symbolism and the visual elements of this dark dense matter. He will then explore the concept, purpose, reason, and processes employed to formulate the works that will comprise his Black exhibition at Bullseye Gallery in Fall 2013.
"Sed fugit interea;a fugit irreparable tempus."
Having already won two Red Dot Design Awards and been named Slovenia’s 2011 Designer of the Year for her “Lake” series of blown glass vessels, Pak turned her talent to kiln-glass with a residence earlier this year at the Bullseye factory. Utilizing the equipment and technical support of the factory’s technicians, she took on the challenge of fusing aesthetics to practicality in creating a line of tableware.
Pak believes useful objects must bear all the characteristics of good design, regardless of the means of production. Don't miss this chance to share Pak's findings on breath of glass and the flow of line and shade, of tone and shadow in design.
From formulation to melting to kiln-firing, certain colors present especially challenging problems for glassmakers and glass users. One of Bullseye's most vexing problems—a stable red—was solved in the company's first encounter with Rudi Gritsch over twenty years ago. Considered by company founder Dan Schwoerer to be among the most astute problem-solvers in kiln-glass practice, Gritsch will speak with Schwoerer on some of the issues and approaches to color problems in kiln-firing glass.
For more than 20 years, Judy Tuwaletstiwa painted exclusively with variations of the colors black, white, and red. It was time to move on, but how? In January 2012, Bullseye Glass offered her a one-year residency at Bullseye Resource Center Santa Fe. She began her year as a student in Painting with Glass, taught by Erik Whittemore. It provided an opportunity to look at color through the lens of glass. Tuwaletstiwa and Whittemore went on to collaborate in the studio to develop a systematic palette of glass colors by mixing powders in specific increments. They created over 2000 distinct and subtle hues in an effort to better understand the unique color properties of low-fired powders. Join them as they share their collaborative journey from the past, into the present, and on to the future.