Preston Singletary will be working in the Museum of Glass Hot Shop from May 11 to 15. Museum of Glass caught up with the Visiting Artist before his residency to talk a little about glass, family, and music.
I started working in glass when…
I got a job at Glass Eye Studio in 1982. I started as a “night watchman” filling the furnaces up and sweeping the floor. I started on the production floor four months later and made Christmas balls and paperweights.
The most rewarding aspect of my career is…
When I figured out how to connect my glass making to my Tlingit Alaskan Native heritage. It opened up many new perspectives and connected me to my roots.
When I’m not in the studio…
I’m busy being a father and raising my two youngest kids. I also moonlight as a musician. I have been recording two different projects which connect to Tlingit culture in a contemporary way, the same way my glass does.
The last place I traveled to was…
Alaska to work on a piece I had installed last spring.
The best part about living in the Pacific Northwest is…
The community of artists and musicians. It’s a beautiful place that I’ve never found a reason to leave!
Plan a visit to Museum of Glass to see Visiting Artist Preston Singletary working or watch his residency online.
It’s an interesting blend of pieces created by Native American resident glass artists over the past decade and the written art of Sherman Alexie.
The special display will include artist Corwin Clairmont’s piece, Traditional Cedar Bark Berry Basket.
Here’s something he wrote about it: “The cedar basket is a reminder of the place we live, and a direct connection with our ancestors and the important lessons embedded in this wonderful form.
“Creating the cedar basket in glass is also a reminder of the fragileness of many things that the natural world provides, enabling the human being to survive. We need to be respectful of each other and that which makes up the natural world we live in. All is connected and a part of the great circle.”
We asked Clairmont a discussion question, inspired by Alexie’s best-known and most controversial book, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.
Can you have the same relationship with your home when you’ve moved beyond it?
Clairmont answered (in part) this way: “Not sure if you can ever completely move beyond home as we are tied to the land/place, family, friends and tribal community.
“Leaving home can give you new and exciting experiences and provides insight and a variety of perspectives not found at home. It invites adventure and limitless growth potential.”
I’m looking forward to exploring what connects these two people and the other glass artists represented, including Preston Singletary, Raven Skyriver, Marvin Oliver and Joe Fedderson.
The Made at the Museum: Native American Artists and Pierce County READS book presentation takes place on Third Thursday, March 17, from 6 to 8 pm. Admission to Museum of Glass is free.
On a rainy Tuesday morning, five docents (Carol, Annette, Mary, Lysa, and I), two staff
members (Elisabeth and Bonnie), and two guests made our way to the Traver Gallery in Seattle using our Sound Transit bus system. We did not all ride the same bus, and in fact, two didn’t ride the bus at all. For those of us who did, it was a lot easier than driving, once we had figured out which bus to take, where to park, etc.
Bill Traver gave us an excellent tour of his gallery. We went to see two of our favorite artists, whose exhibits were closing soon. April Surgent spent time in Antarctica and used a time lapse technique with pinhole cameras to capture the light and ice and water and wildlife of the area. She then translated the images she captured into glass, using her unique technique of cameo carving into different colored layers of fused glass. She had made quite a few pieces for this exhibit and Mr. Traver told us each were sold already.
Then we went to another area of the gallery to look at the latest pieces from Preston Singletary, another favorite glass artist we were well acquainted with. In this exhibit, one of the new features were that there were pieces done in pastel colors, like golden yellow and salmon pink. There were three extremely large glass baskets that came with their own stands. Many of the hand sculpted figurines on Preston’s rattles now had the addition of locks of real human hair
It was interesting to see other works in the Traver Gallery, from Chihuly, Nancy Callhan, and many others. We were intrigued by fused cane works from Sean Albert.
We also went downstairs and around the corner to the Vetri Gallery. We saw some very nice pieces from Gabe Feenan, as well as many other nice works by different glass artists.
I took these photos, with the exception of the one with the pink and gold heads by Preston. That was taken by Mary Robinson.
After the galleries, most of us headed to Pike Grill Brewing Company for lunch and a chance to talk everything over. I learned a lot about Corning from Bonnie and her guest, Lee, who works there. The bus ride home was so much easier than a drive on I-5 south at that time of day.