The Beginning: a trip down memory lane

If all roads lead to Rome, then all great adventures begin in London. And that is exactly where this journey starts.

These tree drawings began during my first grey and cold winter in London England in 2009. I went to visit Birgit in the UK, just six months after we met in Venice Italy, to give this international romance a try. Being the young that artist she was at the time, Birgit was living as a “guardian” without tenancy rights, meaning she was not permitted have unattended guests in her apartment. (But the benefit was that her rent was incredibly low.) Long story short: I couldn’t stay at her place during the day while she was away studying on her postgraduate program at Goldsmiths University.

When she left the flat in the morning I, too, set out but not to the comfort of a heated space. I packed my bag with a thermos of hot tea, some flapjacks (let me know in comments if you would like the recipe), a folding stool, my drawing supplies and many layers of clothes. It was a rare winter in which it snowed in London and the snow actually stuck. For the first time in about 10 years it snowed so much that the city just about came to a standstill because the British don’t know what to do if it really snows. You might think England would get more snow being so far north but the warm, salty ocean currents bring warm and salty air to the country, creating a climate with little snow fall. Being from Ohio the snow didn’t bother me and I spent many long days drawing in some of London’s parks. The following images are of trees drawn in the parks & outdoors in London.

I already had some sense of the city having visited Birgit in London months earlier in August, shortly after we first met in Venice in Italy. What struck me was the abundance of parks and green spaces in this vast world city. I formed my regular routines, as one does, and slowly became friends with the cold and a companion to the trees I was drawing.

There is something very special about drawing in nature, even in the cold of winter. Staying in the same spot for an extended period of time had an effect on me and the way I was seeing the landscape, the trees and their textured details. Much to my relief I also took photographs to draw from in the warmth of the apartment when Birgit was at home.

Here are a few drawings made from my photographs in the comfort of a warm space. This is when I started to experiment more with different perspectives and would go for evening walks to photograph in the more dramatic, contrastive lighting provided by the street lamps. 

Looking back I can’t believe I stayed outside for as long as I did in the dead of winter! I think I earned my fish and chips at the time. 

My takeaway from this experience is this: There is not always a right time or a good time to start something. All that matters is that you start and sometimes we all need that little push to get us going. Birgit’s rental situation certainly provided a push.

Is there something you are procrastinating with? What was it that gave you that little momentum to get an action or project rolling? I’d love to hear how you overcame those hurdles in the comments below.

– Jason

For purchase inquiries, please write to me via my website contact form, or send a DM on Instagram & Facebook.

Modern design with Melanie Abrantes

Melanie and I met in person to discuss her designs, dimensions and color questions. After explaining my glass making process and color applications, Melanie set off to the glass color shop to look at sample colors. Our next meeting was in the hot glass studio, my office, where I would shape Melanies designs into life. 

I have had the good fortune of working with studios in California, Ohio, England and Italy, often filling the role of head maker or head gaffer. As head gaffer my job is to make the studios designs, ideas and product line to specific dimensions and color requirements, often with a team of assistants. This can be a very demanding role and requires in-depth knowledge of each aspect of the glass making process from start to finish. Throughout the years and thousands of hours in such possitions I have honed my skills and abilities to be able to make work for designers like Melanie. 

When looking at Melanie’s Marais Vases it is important to understand and appreciate the level of craftsmanship that went into each piece. Each piece embodies the culmination of Melanie’s experience wood turning, her growing designs and my 16+ years of experience making glass and my ability to listen and understand what Melanie is trying to convey and achieve. The Marais Vases are a brilliant example of what can happen when experienced makers come together to create something beyond their own capabilities. 

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Jason’s Glassblowing Classes!

Just a super quick note to say that we just noticed that it isn’t immediately clear that Jason’s Date Night Glassblowing classes cost $345 and that the price is for 2 participants!

We just checked the Glassblowing Class tab on Jason’s website and it leads (as it should) to a booking calendar however doesn’t show until 2 clicks later that the price is $345 (which incidentally is a great value price, you will understand it when you arrive at the studio!) and then the booking form makes it appear like the price is for only 1 participant. While in fact $345 covers 2 participant for a glassblowing class with the one and only, amazing glassblowing instructor: Jason Stropko!

Below are pictures of Jason’s glassblowing classes, some students in the studio and some student work as well as some of Jason’s wonderful work!

   JASON STROPKO WEBSITE HOME PAGE

Christmas Ornaments by the hands of an Artist

 

Jason Stropko Glass

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Jason Stropko: The start of another glass piece

Large Stemware Vessels by Jason

Keep in touch during 2016 and be the first to see the development of another new project by Jason Stropko. These vessels are already available to order, dimensions variable and subject to client choice!

The lowest of these vessels in this image is approximately 20cm high, and makes a stunning display for precious objects, truffles, fruit and bakeware.. As always your imagination is the limit!

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sizes can be completely modified to suit your display area. Prices: vary depending on size, number of pieces and technical difficulty! The pieces that you see here range from $400 – $750 each, depending on colour work, size and your timeframe. Individual pieces in a rush order can be delivered as soon as 72 hours from the time of order.  Please use the contact form tab above for enquiries.

It is time to begin thinking about Christmas / Season ornaments…

We agree, it feels like it is just a little bit too soon to say those words, but knowing how time can fly and how making glass to meet orders can take a little time we decided to join the and shops that already play Christmas Music, except we aren’t playing the music (just yet), we will wait until December before we do that!

Jason blowing a huge clear glass bubble...
Jason blowing a huge clear glass bubble…

Just playing around making a large clear glass bauble, thinking about larger than life christmas ornaments made in glass! These will only be made by special order and cost from around $95 for a clear/transparent colour and around $125 for an optic mould blown one.. Orders should ideally be received during the month of November. It will be possible to make some in December, too. But the sooner you dream up your christmas ornaments colour choices and designs the sooner they can be in production!

more possible Christmas ornament designs..
an idea for possible Christmas ornament designs..

But here an early offering of: place your order early and be guaranteed a timely delivery (in good time to send gifts as ornaments to friends around the world even!)

Jason’s colour samples for a blown & sculpted glass project…

To get ready to make additional seeds for the ongoing nut and seed project it is necessary to try out different glass colour batches, blow them out and see how different colours react with each other. It takes trial and error and educated judgments to find those glass colours that work best to make life like blown glass seeds and glass nuts.

Glass colour samples in Jason's studio, getting ready for a range of seeds and nuts to be made soon.
Glass colour samples in Jason’s studio, getting ready for a range of seeds and nuts to be made soon.

introducing glass making colleague: Evan Kolker

Glassmaker and Artist Evan Kolker at work in Glow Glass Studio in Oakland, working on a pitcher plant, September 2015. This is very technical work requiring years of glass working experience. Evan is regularly assisted by Jason Stropko and sometimes assists with Jason’s projects, too. There are some things that are very difficult if not impossible to create without having a competent assistant who also has a thorough understanding of how glass works.

Evan Kolker at work, making a pitcher plant, September 2015 @ Glow Glass Studio in Oakland
Evan Kolker at work, making a pitcher plant, September 2015 @ Glow Glass Studio in Oakland

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Glassmaker Evan Kolker at work @ Glow Glass Studio, assisted by J.Stropko (September 2015)
Glassmaker Evan Kolker at work @ Glow Glass Studio, assisted by J.Stropko
(September 2015)

Evan Kolker at work, making a pitcher plant, September 2015 @ Glow Glass Studio in Oakland

Sunday special: Introducing a new elegant glass bowl

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This handblown glass bowl takes a total of 26 hours to create. There are 2 separate hot glass blowing processes used, each requiring a 12 hour annealing (precise temperature controlled cooling) and a cold worked engraving process, which takes another craftsman up to an hour for each bowl.

The making of these bowls requires a high level of competent glassmaking craftsmanship, something that Jason has dedicated himself to full time for the past 12 years..