Thursday, February 2, 2012

the workshop at Helios

We're home, back from our week long workshop in Austin. We pulled into the driveway shortly after 9 PM to find Emma the cat waiting by the door. This is the longest we have ever left her alone having previously parked her with our daughter when we went out of town to teach though my sister came over every day to make sure she had food and water and love on her some.

To say that she was glad to see us would be a bit of an understatement. Purr, purr, purr, pet me, pet me, pet me. She wanted to go outside, having been house bound for five days, but would run back in every five minutes or so to make sure we were still here. Eventually she did go out for the night and was waiting by the door this morning when Marc let her in at which point she insisted I get up.

I thought we probably wouldn't see her much for a couple of days except for meal times but she hasn't left my side, as much as she is ever by my side, her idea of being affectionate is sitting in the same room as you, and she is currently camped out in the old worn out recliner in my workroom.

We left last Friday early afternoon less than an hour past our target time and only had to return to the house once to get something I had forgotten. Fortunately we hadn't gone very far when we had to turn back.

leaving the coastal plains for the hill country

Nearing Austin we got to see the devastation of the Bastrop County wildfire that consumed nearly 1400 homes last summer. The air still smelled like old soot and ashes. They are slowly cutting down the burned and dead trees revealing slab foundations, the only thing left to tell you a home once stood there.

miles and miles of this

We arrived at Helios Kiln Glass Studio in Austin late afternoon with time enough to unload the stuff we brought for the class, check into the motel, and return for the Friday Night Fusing session where Marc gave a talk about the the history of pate de verre and then we showed some slides and talked about our own work a bit.

The next day, Saturday, was the first day of five with 8 students, three of whom are working artists with studios of their own; a multi-media sculptor, a mosaic artist, and a fused glass artist. Most were local to the Austin area although we had one student from San Francisco (the sculptor) and one from San Antonio.

hard at work on their models

They had one day to make their models, one day to make both parts of their mold and steam it out, and one day to fill it and get it in the kiln.

We covered reproduction molds and made waxes on the fourth day and the last day was the big reveal.

Since all three of my sample cups didn't have enough glass to completely fill the molds, I had the students add extra to theirs to make sure, you can always grind excess glass off but you can't add any, and all the finished cups had excess glass. Though I demonstrated my finishing techniques, the only coldwork the students did was grind off the excess from the rims (or mostly) on Paul's wonderful big loose grit flat lap.

In the photos below, the camera was tilted, the cups were level. I just didn't PS them beyond cropping and sizing. As usual, my students amazed, impressed, and delighted me with their work.

In the florescent light of the studio, this one looked blue because she used a glass that shifts from blue to lavender depending on the light. In the front of the studio where the windows were and where these pictures were taken, the natural light turned it purple.

Unfortunately, this is the only slightly out of focus pre-coldwork picture we have of this cup as before we could get it photographed, it slipped out of her hands and broke.  


  1. oh, i know the artist at the end was heartbroken! what GREAT designs! how cool!!!

    glad your kitty cat is okay again, too! :)

  2. Cats do miss us even if they don't want to admit it most of the time.

  3. You are such a good teacher! The bowls are beautiful.

    Also love the road pics. Ive never been to your corner of the world. Fun to see the landscape through your eyes.

  4. Oh, the break was a tragedy! But beautiful, beautiful work. Wow. I especially loved the green and cream lily (calla?) piece. Congratulations!

  5. Neat-o! They produced some beautiful work. Nicely done.

    And I had to laugh at your line "Her idea of being affectionate is to sit in the same room with you." heehee Such a cat.

    I go and get the mail and our dog acts like I was gone for months. She'll follow me around the rest of the day, whining.

    Cats do have their bonus points.

  6. Isn't it good to get away? Makes you appreciate home. Poor kitty missed you. The bowls are beautiful.

  7. What lovely work. I hope all your students were inspired to carry on.

  8. Wow!!! I wish I were closer, I would sign up for your next class.

  9. It looks like they produced some great work, and it sounds like it was fun for you guys.
    But oh gosh, poor Emma kitty. You must never leave her alone again?

  10. Baaah on things breaking! But it happens, and I'm glad you got a photo. What beautiful work your students have done.

    Emma is a honey.

  11. some amazing creations I am impressed!

  12. Your cat sounds as affectionate as ours - which I quite like, that independant streak.

    I am so sorry I missed your blog birthday last post. Blame it on the head injury.

    I loved the bowls your class made, shame for the artist who dropped hers it was beautiful.

  13. Those bowls are awesome! That kiln is huge!Thanks for sharing the pics.

  14. I love how each bowl is so different - and they're ALL lovely. Looks like a successful workshop!

  15. What beautiful work your students did. I'm wondering how they reacted to their finished pieces ... Were they pleased?


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