This is what the studio of Penland resident artist Micah Evans looked like last week. Normally Micah works by himself, but he was hosting a collaborative work week with Japanese flameworkers Akihisa Izume (left) and Takao Miyake (center). This involved two torches brought from Japan and a lot of red and green hoses for propane and oxygen. Micah’s studio motto is “hustle!” and, despite the room being almost quiet (except for Phish playing at a low volume), it was clear that there was calm but intense hustle — and some high-level work — going on.
Akihisa and Takao were both working with a technique that involves making patterns on the top of a domed piece of glass tube and then transforming the top of the dome into a disk that encases the pattern between two layers of clear glass. Akihisa was using thin glass cane to make patterns of white lines.
Takao was creating designs by applying thousands of tiny, colored glass dots. Here he’s working on a piece that Akihisa had already partially covered with a twill-like pattern of diagonal lines.
This is the last step of the process, in which the patterned dome is shrunk, flattened, and encased in clear glass. Although I watched Takao do this, I have no idea how he made this happen.
The finished disks are generally made into into jewelry or large marbles. But this week, Micah was incorporating them into his existing glass designs. Here’s one of Takao’s disks that’s now part of a glass yo-yo. (This was all done freehand.)
This yo-yo was made around one of Akihisa’s pieces.
This is the collaborative disk that Takao is working on in the pictures above.
As if that wasn’t enough, they made this off-the-hook three-way collaboration — a large bottle that houses a chameleon skeleton sculpted by Akihisa and has a stopper topped with one of Takao’s disks. (This picture was swiped from Takao’s Instagram feed.)
Thanks to Micah, Takao, and Akihisa for letting me invade their quiet hustle and take these pictures (after I got my jaw off of my chest). -Robin Dreyer
Micah Evans on Instagram: @micahglass
Takao Miyake on Instagram: @takaomiyake
Akihisa Izumi on Instagram: @a_k_i_o