If you live in or near Santa Fe, New Mexico, or you are planning to attend the SOFA West exposition (sofaexpo.com), we hope you will join Allison and Ivan Barnett of Santa Fe’s Patina Gallery (patina-gallery.com) for a relaxing afternoon reception with Friends of Penland School on July 10. Meet Penland’s director, Jean McLaughlin, instructor Gail Reike, and student Cary Stickney. Gail is book/paper/mixed-media artist and Cary is a tutor at St. Johns College. They will share their stories and insights into Penland.
July 10, 2010
4:00 – 6:00 PM
131 W. Palace Ave.
Santa Fe, NM 87501
There are quite a few ‘do not touch’ signs in the gallery, and most of the time people are pretty good about exercising restraint. George’s Pond Bowl is the exception – allot of fingerprints on a piece that has a Please Do Not sign nearby – but – it is SO inviting. All that cool, clear watery glass with the koi and leaves just beneath the surface; who can blame them for trying to satisfy their curiosity?
Whether it is the pond bowl or the luminous font bowl, George’s work is much admired and respected in the gallery. Technically, the work is beautifully crafted with polished surfaces and crisp details. Aesthetically, the work is calm and inclusive – the weight and solidity of the work combined with the imagery and delicate coloring is extremely approachable. Nothing shy about it either, since the pond is nearly two feet across.
George has been a friend of the school for many years and has had work in our gallery as far as our records and memory can go back. His craftsmanship, work ethic, professionalism, and sense of humor make us happy that he is still producing beautiful work for us to show in the gallery.
I enjoy and appreciate many aspects of hot glass, but it’s the aesthetics of cast glass that has held my attention for the last 26 years. I love the whole process of designing work and overcoming the technical challenges that seem to come with each piece. In the end, it’s simple beauty that moves me most, and I feel successful and grateful when it moves others.
George Bucquet began casting hot glass at Penland School in 1984. During his seven years spent at Penland, he became a Resident Artist. After completing his studies and residency, George moved to Arcata, CA, where he has continued to develop new and innovative techniques for creating his cast glass. George’s work is found in galleries around the world and in the private collections of Rupert Murdoch, Bill Gates, Irvin Borowsky, Noel and Janene Hilliard, and the estate of Jerry Garcia. His work can also be found in the permanent collection of the U.S. Embassy, Ottawa, Canada; the Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Lausanne, Switzerland; the Asheville Museum of Art, NC; the National Liberty Museum, Philadelphia, PA; and the White House.
From an article in World Art Glass Quarterly Magazine:
George Bucquet makes what he wants, and if you like it too, well, that makes his job even easier. And Bucquet’s “job,” as he sees it, is not centered on selling as many pieces of his art as possible. Rather, as Bucquet states, “I try to stay focused on the work that is in front of me, or better yet, the work that is in me. Of course I care very much if people are buying the work. However, it is important to keep in mind that selling the work is not the end, but the means.”
Fortunately, Bucquet has had ample financial success and collectors’ acclaim to keep his studio running. His cast glass pieces have found homes with the likes of Rupert Murdoch and Bill Gates. He doesn’t care much for throwing around those names, however, and is quick to point out that “they’re just people and nobody’s more important than anyone else who buys the work.” Rather than dwelling on commercial success, which he says has come by the “Grace of God,” Bucquet’s priorities are on glass for the sake of the glass itself.
Bucquet’s artistic journey began in Carmel, California, when he visited a prominent glass gallery and felt for the first time the excitement of blowing and creating artistic glass. From there he went to the Pratt Fine Arts Center in Seattle and then finally to Penland School in North Carolina, where he spent one year as a student and four years as a resident artist.
About the Work
Working together with precision timing, George and his assistants pour hot glass, thick and translucent as honey, into a handmade sand mold, and then carefully press it into shape. A mold is individually created for each casting and the colored molten glass, formulated from scratch, is melted to 2350 degrees F in a custom built furnace. After several days of cooling in an annealing oven, each bowl is hand detailed with copper, silver and gold leaf.
The color black carries all sorts of suggestions and meaning, not the least of which is weight. In fact, it has been shown that when people see two identical objects–one black and one white–they tend to think that the black object is heavier. Artists and graphic designers also know that black suggests areas of weight in their visual compositions. This is the basic idea being explored in a new exhibition at the Penland Gallery titled The Weight of Black. This mixed-media show includes pieces in clay, glass, jewelry, paper, photography, printmaking, and textiles made by artists who have chosen to use the color black as an important thematic or compositional element. The show runs through July 18. You can see more work from the show here.
Chunghie Lee is teaching a workshop second session (June 13-25) on a traditional Korean textile/paper technique called “pojagi.” Here’s a nice video of Chunghie that was made at the Rhode Island School of Design (the class still has some spaces).
Keiko Ishii is a first time Penland student who came all the way from Japan to take Scott Benefield’s glass Concentration. She learned of Penland and Scott from other American glassworkers who have to taught at Tama Art University in Tokyo, where she takes classes. In particular, Karen Willenbrink-Johnson and Jasen Johnson both recommended that she attend Penland specifically because of the two month Concentrations sessions. In addition, she hoped that the American style of glassworking would breathe new life into her work and that the diversity of students would be beneficial as well.
Keiko first started working with glass six years ago after she recovered from a serious car accident. Her recovery and rehabilitation was a six year process during which she knew that she wanted to switch her artistic medium and career from graphic design to glass, but had to wait until her body was ready for the physical demands of the glass studio.
After Keiko completes the spring glass concentration she hopes to visit the Corning Museum of Glass and take a workshop there as well. She also plans to take some time to travel around the United States before returning to her glass studies at the Tama Art University in Tokyo.