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.
… there was a hive of activity, everybody was working.. David worked on his line of drinking glasses with rocks embedded in them, Evan assisted, Jerry worked with a group of clients with another glassmaker assistant, Heather was just outside the field of vision working on a deadline…
..but where was Jason?
As an outsider I just keep finding it amazing how much physical energy and simultaneous fine tuned technical skill goes into making each object that emerges from the hands of any of the glassmakers here at the studio.
Alex Abajian has some serious skills and a few more years of experience than most of the other glassmakers around the studio. It is always additionally exciting when two or more talented makers work together!
(written from the perspective of a glass-layperson)
This was one of the most exciting projects that I have been able to witness at the Glass Studio so far. The teamwork among these glassmakers is really great, there is a huge amount of competency coupled with fantastic working atmosphere. The day is spent working incredibly hard with serious concentration and yet there is always a surprise moment when Alex’s intelligent sense of humour gives occasion for laughter and short refreshing relief. I have rarely seen people work so incredibly well together as here at Glow Glass Studio in Oakland.
Witnessing this process and the attitudes the makers and artists here have with each other has done a lot for my appreciation of the craft and technical skills-manship but also is taking dusting influence over both Jason and my (Birgit’s) future choices of places to live and creative paths to pursue.
Having this opportunity to be here is incredible. Seeing all this hard work affects hugely how I, as an artist and glass-layperson, am able to appreciate this material and the possible forms of expression. Coming from a conceptual arts background it is refreshing to be surrounded by the down to earth labour these creatives are bringing to the table each day.
After witnessing just how much dedication and years of skill are required to excel in this field, seeing the amount of dedication as well as equipment required to build a smooth running glassblowing workshop changed my perception a lot. The value of glass in our society is huge, this is an age old but simultaneously incredibly fresh and contemporary medium that can teach us something about the value of an object that a China or Mexico produced (knocked out) mass ware item will never be able to.
When you see or hold handblown glass there is a connection that you will not experience with mass market products. In theory wine, juice or water should taste the same out of every drinking glass for example, however in practice: if you have any sensibility at all then the experience of drinking from a handmade vessel will be far superior and infinitely more pleasurable than from a throwaway valued glass or paper cup..
Alex Abajian holding the blowpipe with the large body cast glass (project for Ivan Mora)Don’t let the price fool you: you will receive what you pay for. A lifelong heirloom treasure or an anonymous object that is the same the world over…
Back to Ivan Mora: look him up! He is a really successful artist making his way in the world; quite literally globally! And all the while he is also a real pleasure to speak with. This is the best combination in an artist isn’t it? Talent, success and absence of attitude. Brilliant stuff!
Watching the casting process for a large glass art piece for Ivan Mora, another inspired and talented glass artist who works internationally! Today we had the opportunity to catch up with him a bit and I learnt that he was artist in residence for an extended period of time at the glass studio Berengo in Murano, Venice, Italy.
In Spring – summer 2013 Jason spent some time at Berengo Glass Studio before moving on to getting more hands on involved at Zanetti (practically around the corner from Berengo).
These are some of the world’s utmost renowned glassmakers and it was really exciting to hear personal stories of Ivan’s time there as well as to get to know him a bit better over a cup of coffee.
Yesterday Jason assisted Jess Wainer creating her beautiful luminescent large glass lampshades for a client commission. In the light these shades virtually glow and diffract colour into these gorgeous washes of green, yellow, red.. When not hit by direct sunlight the shades are a warm golden honey yellow with a whitish fog over towards the rim.
The picture shows Jess’s work straight from out of the annealer after their overnight controlled cooling process; before the items are cold worked and finished, hopefully we can show her final pieces, too.
Each lampshade will sell for $1000, 3 were ordered.