Pilchuck Shenanigans

I’m at Pilchuck Glass School, up here in Stanwood Washington, and really having a great time. Old friend Dick Marquis is teaching here, I am learning how to put images in glass from Joanne Teasdale, I have a terrific assistant, Kazuki Takizawa, and working with two terrific gaffers, Nancy Callan and Dan Friday. It has been almost 25 years since I have been at Pilchuck! Hard to believe. It’s been fun to be around strange and different tools, completely different materials, and I has forgotten what a wild and crazy bunch these glass people are!! And I understand now why they are that way – glass is a crazy material: it’s hot, it’s got a mind of its own, it’s dangerous, it’s fast work. I tried my hand at it: you have to be incredibly coordinated and of course I am a complete klutz.
While I am here I am working with glass of course but also found some bark that looks a lot like elephant skin. Probably would never had the opportunity to experiment like this had I not come here.
Nancy, Dan and Kazuki helped blow some beautiful tusk forms. It’s been a conflict in that creating these pieces conjure up dreadful and difficult visuals of elephants being hacked up and left for dead. But it’s a visage that always sticks in my mind. I keep thinking I have to get through this process to dislodge this image for my next move.
I also found some stripped bark from the local trees and it looked much like elephant skin. It’s a challenge to work with – the bark is fragile and because it is still drying out, it’s constantly changing its shape. I am cutting, fitting, wrestling, stitching, breaking, fixing, stitching, assembling, looking. The whole time I am thinking of elephants – as I stitch, and repair, it is almost a ritual for me, just desperately trying to “fix” a situation emotionally.
Will try to post pictures in the next few weeks.

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