|Ebey Landing, Whidbey Island|
While we were all there to explore a new technique, learning from an instructor in their own studio is about a lot more than the technique. Richard started working with fused glass in the 1980s, at the inception of the studio glass movement. He has been there "since the beginning", which in the fused glass world translates to a time before there was compatible glass or widespread availability of kilns and other tools. When you are working with an artist in their own environment, you benefit from their years of experience and get a glimpse into what inspires the artist to create their work. You take away a lot more from the workshop than a new technique to add to your skillset.
|Mandala design layout, Dana Worley|
By the end of the day, we had done the prep work for the corner tiles for our mandalas and the center of our panels were ready for the kiln.
|Center tile, almost ready for the kiln|
Day 2Most of our studio time on day 2 was spent creating the tiles for the outer edges. These tiles used a similar, but different, technique than was used to create the center panel for the mandala. Mid afternoon we took a break from the studio for a tour and discussion of Richard's collections of work by other artists and his personal artwork.
By the end of the day, the kilns were filled with a second firing on our center tiles and the firing for our border tiles.
|Richard, explaining some of his work|
On day 3, we opened the kiln to the fired center tiles, and a kiln full of colorful border tiles. These border tiles were beautiful enough to stand on their own.
|Border tiles for mandalas|
Gallery TourIn late afternoon we headed off on the gallery tour that Richard had arranged for us. Our first stop was Rob Schouten Gallery at Greenbank Farms, where we saw Rob's work, and the work of glass artists Rob Adamson, Katrina Hude, and Steph Mader, as well as other artists. Rob describes himself as a Magic Realist Painter. Check out his work on his Gallery website (link below). His work is mesmerizing.
|Colorful glass flowers |
at Island Art Glass.
Later in the evening, as the group gathered at Richard's house for pizza and conversation, Fritz joined us for dinner and continued the tales of his years working with glass and some of the history of the studio glass movement.
|Fritz Dreisbach entertains the group with|
one of his trick glasses.
|Getting ready to go off the|
high dive, or taking a picture.
I'm not sure...
Day 4On day 4 we finished our mandalas by securing them to our mounting system, and then learned an additional technique which we used to create primitive "cave paintings".
Once the cave paintings were in the kiln, the group gathered to take pictures of our finished mandala pieces. This exercise consisted of the "do not try this at home" warning, as Richard attempted to get a photograph of all the beautiful mandalas assembled in the drive.
|Pole carving, Rosario Beach|
There's always a bit of sadness when it's time to wrap up a workshop and head for home, after spending several days immersed in learning, creating, and sharing experiences with other artists. While all of us used the same techniques for our mandalas, each creation was unique in its color and design, expressing the uniqueness of each of us as individuals. The experience of learning from an artist whose work you admire, hearing stories from those who have devoted their lives to an art form that is your passion, and sharing your passion with others is priceless. And experiencing all of this in an environment as beautiful and inspiring as Whidbey Island is beyond words.
|Here I am with my finished mandala.|
Let's just say I was meditating!
Note: The talented Di Faria assisted Richard in this September workshop. What a treat to have the expertise of another great artist! Thanks, Di!
Resources:Richard La Londe offers workshops at his home studio (check his web site http://richardlalonde.com/ for the schedule), as well as on-site at other studios. Upcoming classes include D&L Art Glass http://www.dlartglass.com/education/schedule, and Paul Tarlow's Helios Glass Studio http://heliosglass.com/classes.htm#visiting.
Check out Richard's book http://richardlalonde.com/books/ for a history on glass, more about Richard, and detailed information on his techniques, molds, and other equipment.
Rob Schouten Gallery web site, http://www.robschoutengallery.com/
Rob Adamson's Island Art Glass Studio http://www.whidbeyworkingartists.com/island-art-glass.html
Fritz Dreisbach web site, http://www.fritzdreisbach.com/
Di Faria web site, http://difaria.com/
Want to learn more about fusing?Check out Bullseye's On-Line Educational Videos! (small subscription fee required)
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