To say I'm having a ball is an understatement. I am a studio monitor in the flameworking shop. NCGC has a hot, cold, and flameworking shop. We also have a gallery that is filled with the art of 30 different glass workers. It's simply filled to the brim with talented and sharing people.
To this end the Executive Director, Gallery Manager, and Shops Manager (maybe others) designed a program for the in house people called a "skill-share". As I said, there's a plethora of talent and many have stepped forward and submitted a specific skill they thought the group might like to learn or see demonstrated. For being willing to jury and demo the artist gets to be the "featured artist", and have one person show in a section of the gallery, complete with announcement and opening.
With NCGC being in the Arts District of Asheville it's very much a sweet deal for all of us.
Honestly, how many of us artists have longed (glass and other wise) for the good old days when techniques, glass types, and reactions were shared openly. I know I have. It has gotten to a point with the general glass community of beadmakers that I feel bad if I ask about something I see that I feel is done well or has a stunning color combination. Within a large part of that community things have become guarded, tutorialized, or become class driven. Honestly, with some techniques I can most certainly understand this. There are artists who teach who have a style that is simple so unique to the genre that they deserve and have earned the right to offer it as a class. Their skill level with this style or technique is so unique among us that this is the correct way to offer it to the rest of us.
But, I've been around long enough to know when something is a "repeat" of a technique that has been around the block since the beginning. Do I think there are those that still deserve to instruct others, absolutely. But I also don't think so many interested newbies/ or ancient beadmakers should be rebuffed for asking questions.
Okay, that's my Op Ed - I'm off track a bit. The NCGC is a breath of fresh air on this. They are a sharing bunch. And once again I feel as if I have something to contribute AND something to learn!
First skill sharer was in the flameworking shop. Matt Tyner. Let me tell you - he is beyond talented and incredible sweet to boot. I enjoyed the first skill share. I will enjoy many more. He showed us how to do wig-wags and blowing techniques. I had extensive torch-envy. Not only for the torch but the way he set it up to move. I was blown away. Here are some photos from that first session.
As you can see by the white board we learned a lot. Matt uses these techniques on many things. I first saw a wigwag design early in my career by Fred Burkhill. But that was nearly 30 years ago and it was so beyond my comprehension. Matt was a joy to watch and I'm looking forward to seeing many others.