Wimberley Glassworks: Hill Country’s finest glassblowing studio, is proud to announce our upcoming event; In Cahoots, an exhibition featuring the collaborative efforts by Tim de Jong and other artists whom the Glassworks have partnered with over a twenty year span. Exhibit runs May 25th – June 1st. Please join us May 25th from 5 to 7pm at the gallery for this insightful occasion along with an exclusive treat featuring beers crafted by local brewing sensation Middleton Brewing. After 7pm, the event will mosey on over to the Middleton microbrewery down the road for the after party and more hand crafted brews… see ya then.
Continually exploring the boundaries between form and function, the studio entertains a variety of interior designs. For twenty years the Glasswork’s reputation has been founded upon creating the best, hand blown glass in Texas. The studio’s business model hasn’t changed much since its inception in 1992.
Tim DeJong was born out of the wilds of Saskatchewan, Canada sometime in the mid 20th century. Like others at the Glassworks, Tim began his studies at Alfred University in upstate New York where his fascination with glass began to take hold. He continued his academic career at the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, where he continued his studies that inevitably led to a bachelor’s degree in glassblowing. Utilizing the medium as a vehicle for artistic exploration and with visits to such countries as Europe and China, Tim DeJong has since traveled the world in efforts to obtain as much experience with glass as possible.
It wasn’t until 1998, combined with the serendipitous collaboration with local art fixture Jimmy Harwell, that the Wimberley Glassworks began to really make strides within the region. A native Texan, Jimmy Harwell embodies the best of the spirit of the old west. Born in 1946, he was raised on a ranch near Wimberley where his great, great grandfather, William Henry Harrison helped settle Alpine, Texas after the Civil War. Jimmy Harwell sculpture range from public pieces to those residing in numerous private collections.
As I heat, bend and work steel, or pour bronze, I try to create something that goes to the core of who and what we are… All the work I do comes from my head, my heart and my hands.
- J. Harwell
Harwell’s work evokes a time in blacksmithing when hands on craftsmanship was the measure of quality and technique.., not the type of machinery they use. Whether private or commercial, Jimmy Harwell fundamentally approaches each project with the same philosophy. It was just a matter of time before his and Tim’s way of thinking would converge and foster a prolific collaborative partnership that is still working to this day.
Kirk Tunningley grew up in western New York where he received a BFA in Sculpture from Alfred University in 1981. It was at Alfred University where he was first introduced to neon, fabricating, and three-dimensional neon sculptures. It was after he graduated when the artist moved to Austin, Texas, in 1981 and learned neon sign bending. He started his own neon business and studio with a classmate in 1983 and after spending a decade in Hawaii he restarted his operation back in Lockhart, Texas where he continues to work today.
My sculptures are representational of objects familiar to children. A dog, a guitar or a boat: images that are easily recognizable or accessible. The color flow of the glowing tubing is rather whimsical and makes the images fun and dreamlike in nature.
- K. Tunningley
Currently, Kirk Tunningley fabricates neon for several artists in central Texas. Art as a reflection of its surroundings is nothing new, but such communicated through the use neon glass is something else entirely, if not novel.
Wes Sweetser started working with glass in the fall of 2000 at Alfred University in upstate New York. It was there where he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Glass Art and Printmaking. In 2004 he captured the attention of the studio and the powers that be and before he knew it, he was Wimberley bound. Wes’s work typically extrapolates off of the mundane. Pushing the proverbial envelope is what most artists aspire to, Wes in no different. Taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary is a feat few have the luxury of doing but for this artist it comes naturally.
I like making stuff…
- Wes Sweetser
Never at a loss for words, Wes Sweetser has worked his way up over the years and is now an integral part of the studio. For eight years now, Wes Sweetser and Tim DeJong have shared a somewhat symbiotic relationship and their current efforts in the studio are a testament to that. Technically they collaborate more together than any other on account of Wes’s direct affiliation with the company. His work has been exhibited in galleries throughout New York, Massachusetts, Colorado and Texas.
Last but by no means least; Geoffrey Koslow has burst on the scene with vigor reminiscent to that of a racehorse starting out of the gate. As with most freshly minted graduates, Geoffrey Koslow’s ideas and aesthetics lend a contemporary lens to the studio’s endeavors. Like Kirk and Wes before him, he earned his BFA from Alfred University in 2010. He currently lives amongst the Texas hills where he works as a glassblower and production manager for the studio.
My work is greatly influenced by materials. Glass is a traditionally utilitarian material originating for the necessity of consumption… Capitalizing off traditional techniques I push my work into a post modern context with meticulous care and intention in every aspect of my work.
- Geoffrey Koslow
In several ways, Koslow’s work is something more reminiscent to that of sculpture. Riding that fine line between form and function, his vases, bowls and other shapes evoke tangible, utilitarian characteristics while provoking the eye in discerning something to the contrary. Whichever the outcome, his glasswork challenges initial thoughts and perceptions regarding glass and inevitably invigorates new ways in which we view the medium.
In the fruitful years succeeding 2009, the studio has experienced numerous commission based projects that have fostered global interests and national recognition. In the coming years, Wimberley Glassworks anticipates an exciting future with promising collaborations, dynamic installations and artist based designs therein. Reinforcing previous efforts in the business, the Glassworks aspires to maintaining a standard recognized for the highest quality craftsmanship in glass, client services and of course collaborative efforts.
When lighting any kind of artwork; let alone glass, the recipe for success generally requires a hint of patience, about a dash of fundamental know-how and a good pinch of perseverance. Once properly positioned and lit, the finished result should usually have the viewer aesthetically pleased and begging for more. Like with most recipes, sometimes you have to just go with it as opposed to second guessing yourself, let alone the instructions.
In regards to lighting any two or three dimensional object, there are some basics that have become somewhat indoctrinated over time. Every artistic medium; whether paint, bronze, ceramic or glass, each necessitates a certain approach to successful illumination. However different the approach, the fundamentals are all the same and are easy to learn.
Lighting can arguably be seen as a science of sorts and there are many who take it very, very seriously. Whatever the context, lighting in general can be an exciting element of owning an original piece of art, whatever the medium. Although some modes of artistic expression might be harder to successfully light than others, most can be done in a way that should be enjoyed and not feared.
So without further ado, here are some of the meat and potatoes that should prove helpful in your aspirations to successfully light glass or other objects of art. For starters, if there is one golden rule that can be applied to any lighting situation it is this: No Hotspots! Unless intentional, the hotspot dilemma is one that is always an issue and applicable to any and every medium. Essentially, the term hotspot, is another word for reflection, but with a more negative connotation. Ahhhh the hotspot, the proverbial thorn in every gallerist or exhibition coordinator’s side is such that should not be taken lightly. Especially with regards to glass, the hotspot is everyone’s enemy and can be remedied with ease, as long as you know how to approach them.
A hotspot occurs when the pathway of light from the fixture is hitting so directly on the piece that it creates a literal spot of light on the work itself. The easiest and first line of defense against such an eyesore is to light the focal point from angles as opposed to lighting directly from the front or from straight above. Angles help to deflect the light and thus diffuse the overall effect. By utilizing angles one can create a more even and overall wash of light thus covering the entire object. Depending on the position of the piece, by angling the light you can cover more surface area and inevitably highlight the details and nuance within the work, something even more relevant with regards to glass.
If using angles still isn’t enough and the piece overall is still a bit too ‘hot,’ then perhaps another small modification is in order. If this is the case, then something as simple as changing out the type of bulb is worth exploring. The bulb itself is just as responsible for the end result as the angle of the fixture is in relation to the piece. Most bulbs used in lighting objects usually come in two distinct types, a spot bulb or a flood bulb. Each serves a particular purpose in lighting and can either be used independently or in conjunction with one another. The breakdown is simple; where the spot bulb employs a focusedstream of light the flood creates a much more diffused andspread out arc of light in efforts to cover more surface area. When used alone, each have their pros and cons but when combined they collectively can handle just about any situation. Sometimes it’s almost impossible to light glass with a single spot bulb because of the problematic and now infamous hotspots they can create, whereas the exclusive use of a flood light can wreak havoc with the shadows they often foster. Whichever the outcome when used in unison they allow the viewer greater creative freedom to light the work. Please understand that shadows however are not to be feared and when utilized properly can add some dramatic and often serendipitous effects… go ahead and experiment and see what happens.
Please understand that just because you have a hotspot, doesn’t mean that it’s lit improperly. Curvatures, undulations and imperfections can all contribute to small hotspots and any effort to try to completely get rid of the eyesore could lead to some very frustrating experiences. Remember what we discussed at the beginning of this article, sometimes you just have to go with it. Now, with regards to the arc of light that is emitted from the bulb, one last thing to consider when putting the finishing touches on a glass, wall mounted platter, vase, or bowl is to keep the light in bounds. By this I mean to keep the light within the boundaries of the piece itself. In other words, try not to allow the arc to bleed out and wash everything around it with unwanted light. Intimacy for lack of a better word is a key element when it comes to lighting a work of art. The more focus of light on the object itself, the better.
Of course, the end result is entirely subjective and purely up to the person lighting the piece. To encourage the idea of going with your gut, is putting it mildly and is precisely what we want to inspire. You don’t have to be an artist or someone in the arts to properly light artwork. Use your own creativity when it comes to illuminating your glass artwork. Just knowing a few basics can really go a long way in successfully illuminating your own personal collection. Lighting can foster a wide array of wonderful effects, they can bring out the best and sometimes the worst in objects, it’s entirely up to you…
Good luck and Bon appetit!
CARNIVAL VASES | CUMULUS CLOUD BOWL | SQUIGGLE VASES
A menagerie of color awaits you at the Wimberley Glassworks! Please drop by and view our newest additions to what is going to become one of our best years yet. New for 2013, the Carnival Series is sure to keep a smile on your face with its unique interplay between color and whimsy. In addition, our new, eye catching Squiggle Vases will tantalize the senses with their almost gravity defying, free form shapes. If gravity isn’t your thing, then by all means elevate your interior with one of our fresh flowing Cumulus Bowls. Here’s to a new and exciting year, so please stay in touch as we’ll look forward to seeing you soon.
One of the wonderful things about art in general is that they all fundamentally share
the ability to invoke an emotional response or feeling. No matter how similar the work
might appear on the surface, every work of art is unique in its own way. Whether
created in the same medium or not, all artwork typically transcends discrimination and
the same can be applied to one of our hallmark pieces… the gorgeous and ever colorful,
wall mounted platter.
Upon entering our studio, one can’t help but admire our illustrious platter wall. Vibrant
and gleaming, the wall demands attention and if you haven’t seen it in person, perhaps
you have seen something like it somewhere else. Whichever the case, they all invoke
distinct feelings of fascination and splendor wherever you might experience it… thus is
the beauty of hand blown glass.
In writing, there is no true way to communicate the ‘how-to’s,’ in creating your own
composition of glass platters. Just think back to when you were in grade school, when
the teacher asked you to create your first drawing or painting. The focal point is just as
important today as it was back then. Once the focal point is established, the rest usually
falls into place.
We always recommend starting with one piece and working the composition out
from there. Whether you choose to match or not is up to you, however correlation
is important if you want to maintain a certain aesthetic. Keeping certain patterns
together is one way to go about it, but there are a multitude of other options to
entertain as well. A good start would be to match nuance or base colors amongst the
platters. From there you can correlate other things such as patterns and shapes. We
like to inter-mix round or oblong platters with what we call ‘scalloped,’ or ‘fluted,’ ones
in effort to create more dynamic outcomes. Slightly overlapping the pieces to minimize
the back wall showing is also a nice touch so as to maintain a tight grouping and overall
composition. You should by no means feel limited to wall arrangements alone; their
versatility extends well onto flat surfaces as well. You can literally translate your wall
aspirations onto the table with beautiful effect. Clustered or displayed as a center
piece, inevitably you’ll find that table accents can go a long way by adding a punch of
color to any lackluster interior.
However the old adage about strength in numbers might apply, the great thing about
each and every platter we create is that they each are imbued with the power to stand
on their own. So why not add a nice sense of movement across the wall? Why not
cluster a few platters and have a few others stand on their own traversing across the
surface? Of course we can’t forget the simple fact that you can always utilize an nice
platter stand to support your platter upright and position it pretty much anywhere
you like… a well lit nook perhaps. Wherever you decide to put it, lighting will always
accentuate the work and put the proverbial cherry on top of your creation. What’s
great is that the result is purely original, subjective and entirely your own.., thus
releasing the artist in yourself.
We could potentially create a small novella communicating all the possible options one
could pursue, so with that in mind we are writing you merely to inspire creative thought
within yourself. Is creation truly a subjective affair? Perhaps, but most inspiration is
usually derived from something or somewhere else… you’re welcome.
Gilbert Barrera, Gallery Manager
We were recently in the Texas Society of Architects Trade Show in Austin a few weeks ago.
This is what our booth looked like!
You can now view the inside of our studio with google street view! So come on in! Take a virtual tour of the gallery if you can’t make it in person. You can even see inside our hot shop!