Are you self taught?
I learn by doing, and mostly just by playing. I like working with soft glass because it’s affordable. I can afford to screw up and learn something. Mistakes can be a path to creativity. If you want to produce, you work your strengths. If you want to take an artistic adventure, work on your weaknesses. Your strengths are going to be there when you get back, so go off and screw up! You’ll learn something.
Why do you teach?
When I see a student nervous at the torch, then they realize they can do it – that moment right there is why I teach – that’s my payoff. They are empowered. And that brings me back into the classroom every time.
Tell us about the monsters.
Years ago, I was unable to make a good hollow bead. I kept slugging at it, but at the time I couldn’t get it to work. Then I realized I could put eye on it! So I took that and ran with it. That’s the stuff nightmares are made of.
I am always manipulating the glass, grabbing it, mashing it, pulling and squeezing and experimenting with it. That’s what the monster class is all about – manipulating the glass. I try to get my students to visualize their inner demons, and they usually come out pretty whimsical.
Is there a single word you would use to describe the Crucible?
Energy– the energy in this place is what draws me here. You can never be 100% sure what you’re going to encounter when you walk in the door. I love that. It recharges me, spiritually and creatively.