Saturday, March 3, 2012

From Teacher To Student

    I believe I made a very good decision.  Actually, I think I have made a series of good decisions.  I am getting accustomed to the altitude here.  The air is such a joy to breathe.  What seems to be taking a bit longer for me is adjusting to the attitude here.  I left a lot of my baggage behind - in Philadelphia and along the trail, but there is plenty left that needs sorting out.  The layers have taken a lifetime to put on, so I suppose it'll take more than a year or two to get through to the core.  I know I am on the right path, anyway.  The travelling has been extremely healthy in that respect, I a becoming very aware of the crap I walk around with.

    Back in January I stopped at Mountain Arts Pottery on a week day evening to check it out.  It is  just down the road from Silica Styles (the glass shop) in Four Corners. They are a hand made pottery company, the work is made there, they have a gallery and a coffee shop on the premises.  I started chatting with the woman behind the counter, and a couple of minutes into the conversation, was invited to dinner at their home!  The woman is Jennie Lockie, who, with her husband David Lockie own the pottery business.  I had a very lovely evening.  Great conversations, in a very relaxed atmosphere.  Made me feel very comfortable and welcome. They have a vibrant business - and make some beautiful work.  Click on this Link to visit their website.
    I have been working very long hours in the glass studio honing my skills - have to get the quality of the work up to snuff - and quickly!  I have been enjoying the learning process, it has been a while since I have learned a drastically new way to work with glass. (Photo album click here!) There are many skills that transfer over, but there are many things that can be done with this type of glass & process that I didn't really understand.  The way this stuff can withstand temperature shock is still blowing my mind.  While my forms are still quite basic, I have been working with some more complicated color applications to make up for it.  Lots of twisty cane and murrini work.  Morris showed me a process called coiling - where you take a rod of glass with colored stripes on it, and as it is heated, you twist it and wrap it onto itself to create a tube. This gets melted in and creates a very attractive effect that reminds me of the look of weaving or knitting.  The best part is that I have been able to use scraps of cane that would otherwise be waste to create effects that are definitely unique - I like that.
    It feels great to be learning every day.  I am revisiting a mindset that I had long ago (in the late '90s), before life got so heavy.  There is a playfulness in the work I am creating now.  I am not bound to a style or specifc sequence of form.  I get to explore.  There is only my own whip cracking - Morris' teaching style is much like my own - he gives plenty of room to play and explore, then steps in when he notices something or is asked a question.  What is really interesting, is that while being the student, I am also teaching.  The habits & way I have been working with glass for the past 18 years are still there - most of which are not traditional flameworking techniques.  Often I will do something - and get to explain it & show the guys a different way of doing something.  The glass is still kicking my ass occasionally, which means I am pushing the limits of my skill level. And that is a Very Good Thing.  Here is a link to some pics that represent a progression of 4 weeks of work.