Between Here and There was the name of the 2022 Glass Art Society Conference held in Tacoma last week.  What a wonderful time we had.  We stayed at the always fabulous Hotel Murano, which has pieces from different glass artists on its 26 floors. The Tacoma Convention Center was a block away, with the Tacoma Museum of Glass a hilly walk across the Chihuly Bridge and up/down the Grand Staircase, depending on how you went.  Whew!

The market and most of the lectures were held at the Convention Center.  There were three other venues.  The mobile Corning Studio was there, as always!  Unfortunately, we didn’t go to any of the presentations out there!  I am sure we missed some great ones!  There was just so much to choose.  We attended a number of the events at the Tacoma Museum Studio.  It is a beautiful conical building with a very high roof.  The seats are the most uncomfortable I have ever sat in, but the demos and presentations were fantastic!  The third location was Area 253 Glassblowing Studio, owned by a cool guy named Patrick.  We had a great time visiting there and seeing more great demos.

Highlights from the watched demonstrations included two wonderful collaboratives, an intersection of glassblowing and technology, an infamous author/glassblower, and some heartfelt discussions.

The first  I will discuss was by Raven Skyriver and Preston Singletary.  Both have heritage from indigenous peoples of the region.  Raven’s work deals with marine life, and Preston uses a lot of engraving and coldworking with symbology.  They worked together remotely before the demo, shipping the glass parts back and forth.  Raven created the elements for a salmon shark, and Preston coldworked the symbology on its body.  It was a great demo.

The next collaboration I want to share with you was between David Patchen and James Devereux of the UK.  We all follow Patchen on Instagram and watch how he modernizes the use of the Italian Murrini style of blowing.  I did not know anything about Devereaux before this.  They worked at separate benches, both with murrini pieces and then joined them together, one solid and one blown into a giant piece that was then flint worked on the pad using a hammer!  What great entertainment!  They even threw out swag, and Michael crawled out on the hood to get a piece that did not quite make it into my hot little hands!

I went to see Megan Stejilles bend Neon at Area 253.  Unfortunately, they had an equipment malfunction, and her demo was presented later when I had a conflicting interest.  With that not working, I went inside to see a guy making a mold with a 3d printer which he then blew.  The molds work about 80% of the time, but they only work once.  Interesting.

We also had the opportunity to see Ed Schmid do a “goblet-in-hand” demo.  Ed is the guy who is the author of several glassblowing “Bibles.”  If you don’t have these, you should try to get them, Beginning Glassblowing, Advanced Glassworking Techniques, and the Glassworker’s Bathroom Reader.  He provided attendees with a pamphlet on how to create the piece he demonstrated and told us about a series he is researching and writing on Venetian Glassblowing.  I can’t wait for those to come out.

It was also a joy to see our friend Bob Rigg.  He and his wife Lorraine invited us to his house for dinner one night.  He prepared a five-course extravaganza with a different wine with each course—what a marvelous time we had and what a great place he has.

We had a great time listening to Susan Gott describe her life in glass and how to make rigid sand molds for casting.  Susan does life-size castings and is so generous with her knowledge.  If I could get in her class at Corning this summer, I sure would.  She may be teaching a two-week course at Pilchuck in 2024; I hope I can make that!  Go to gottglass.com to learn more.

The heartfelt presentations were many, a welcome from a tribal elder of the Puyallup tribe, a tribute to a life, and a look to now and the future. The colleagues of Benjamin Moore participated and included Paul Cunningham, Dante Marioni, Robbie Miller, Richard Royal, and Preston Singletary.

The last demo we saw was entitled Better Together!  The names on the program included Jason McDonald, Cedric Mitchell, Corey Pemberton, Sara Beth Post, Terri Sigler, Nate Watson, and Arthur Wilson.  But there were many others.  It was about hearing the voices of our black and brown artist families. It was about Crafting the Future.   The floor was filled with glassmakers, accompanied by poets, musicians, and dancers.  It was a fabulous demonstration of people of all skill levels!

As you can see, there was a lot to see and do.  Lots to get your juices flowing.  All my ideas have been slowed down a little because I got a nasty sore throat the night before we left, and on the plane descent, my ears closed.  It is four days later, and I need to sit in the sun and bake this out of my body.  I hope you enjoyed hearing about our trip, and we hope you will love seeing its effects in the future!

Happy Memorial Day!

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