What you might expect…
Interactive Light with Patrick Collentine
Session 1: May 19th to 30th 2014, Pilchuck Glass School, Stanwood Washington
We will be building interactive light sculptures with one neon electrode using radio frequency transformers to illuminate our blown forms. If you’ve never worked with neon or plasma at all, this is your class, we’re going to cover all the basics and beyond. We will be working both Boro (Pyrex) glass using torches and blowing hot glass (soft) in the casting studio then putting neon electrodes on both. I don’t expect everyone to have experience in both glass working processes but as a class we’ll cover both processes beginning to advance. That’s a lot to cover in just two weeks. The plasma neon class is certain to be one of the busiest groups on the Pilchuck campus. Our classroom is where the boro torches are located so you’ll have constant access to flameworking but limited access to hot glass. We’ll be using a multitude of inert gases (no health risks), neon, helium, krypton, argon and possibly xenon ($800/ 10 liters). Work often runs late into the night because the darkness amplifies the plasma light effects. There is something magical about this process of making light sculptures.
I’m a big believer in collaboration between students, even students in other classes. You’ll find everyone on campus wants to fill his/her blown glass with light. Pilchuck is a fermenting incubator of glass skills and technique, it’s in the air and everyone wants the share. We’ll be using the wood and metal shop in addition to every other campus resource available.
I won’t be teaching this class alone, I’ve got two highly knowledgeable TA’s; Aaron Blendowski and Julie Conway both are working art professionals from diverse experience and I feel lucky to have them. I plan to dedicate my next blog entry to introduce them to you. I enjoy the group class experience, for the first week we’ll meet twice every day for 1-2 hour class meeting with a demo and discussion. Then I’ll work with each student individually to setup a work plan that meets your needs and expectations. Plasma neon is a multi- media class so we’ll cover how to finish the light sculptures with a base or discuss strategies to display the work. The second week will be finishing work and getting ready to share the light sculptures with the campus on the last night of the session.
General things, bring photos of your work, everyone is curious and its professional, but we won’t be sharing them in class. The computer is a powerful tool for today’s art maker, I have experience with CNC driven machines, 3D printing, CO2 laser, router, waterjet cutting and CMYK digital printing this will be a class discussion. Bring what tools you need to communicate your ideas with others, drawing pad, computer or caulk on the concrete. Bring cameras for sure, I make 2-minute movies all the time, they’re fun and you’ll certainly to want to document your work at Pilchuck. The school provides basic materials particularly molten glass and basic boro tubing for flameworking. You’ll need to buy some of your own materials for the class; 5-8 neon electrodes $2/soft -$5 boro/each; fancy or large diameter boro tubing; and your own neon transformers $50/each. The school has a well-supplied art store with lots of specialized neon materials available for our class. In the past the school provided a loaner transformer to each student, which is then available for purchase at the end of the session. For fun check out: www.amazing1.com look at the ‘Neon, Plasma, LED’ section.
Its best if you don’t come with too many pre-conceived ideas on what you want to make in these two weeks and let your ideas evolve here. Pilchuck is a constant play of opposites, cool rain-comforting warmth, exhilarating-exhausting, engaging to distraction, creative-conforming, I could go on but you get the vibe. You’ll have at least two types of experiences here at Pilchuck, the glass skills and technique development thing and the serendipity of contact with 100 people cloistered on a forested hillside sharing a passion for art and glass for two weeks, it’s always a transformative experience. I have come to value both experiences equally.
I am looking forward to having fun and working together with a little magic of the cosmos mixed in.