An almost-sleepless week At Pilchuck + more

glass Los Angeles Pilchuck Glass School

Everyone warned me that my experience at Pilchuck Glass School would involve extended days and short nights, so I came armed with supplements galore to stay healthy and energized, plus a creative gameplan to help minimize hours spent developing concepts when I was already exhausted. (My instructor Silvia Levenson looked in wonder at my big binder of digital negatives, created for my cyanotypes and hauled to the school for use with our fotovidrio experiments.) 

Surprise wins for the week included:

  1. Learning almost as much from my fellow students as from my instructor Silvia Levenson and TAs Maria Scarognina and Sarah Vaughn. Because I'd learned from her via Zoom (and subsequent Instagram questions), I already knew that Silvia was not only an extraordinarily-talented artist, but also a patient teacher always willing to explore new ways to better help us learn. What I didn't expect was to be learning alongside so many fellow students with multi-decade glass creation and teaching experience! One of them was Don Friedlich, who creates stunning jewelry and teaches at Corning Museum of Glass, and was a constant resource throughout the week. 
  2. More learning at breakfast, lunch and dinner. I learned about the history of Pilchuck and the personal art practices of noted artists Therman Statom and Toots Zynsky while dining at the lodge. I also chatted with creatives who are driving current trends in glass and art, including Corey Pemberton, who not only creates stunning works, but founded Crafting the Future, designed to connect BIPOC artists with opportunities and networks that will help them thrive.

One of Pilchuck's many secret enclaves, hidden in the woods, but only a few hundred yards from my cabin.

One of Pilchuck's many secret enclaves, hidden in the woods, but only a
few hundred yards from my cabin. 

Fotovidrio work in progress. This process has many parallels to my cyanotype work, in that one paints an emulsion onto the glass, then creates a contact print using either halogen or UV light. Plans are to continue advancing this specific work with color and/or coldwork, and to continue to integrate this technique into my practice — I envision possibilities of installations. 

Undercurrents in Los Angeles
From the sea #1 cyanotype, by Karen Johanson

My cyanotype From the Sea #1 was part of the Undercurrents exhibition curated by Los Angeles Center of Photography that was included in the Summer on 7th Festival from Inner-City Arts, which supports equal access to arts education for underserved young artists of Los Angeles.

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