Artist Interview: Reflecting on Pearl Dick’s First Visiting Artist Residency

Pearl Dick. Us, 2017. Blown, sculpted glass; 12 1/2 x 16 x 6 inches. Photo by Randy Korwin, courtesy of the National Liberty Museum.

Pearl Dick’s Visiting Artist Residency was initially scheduled for 2020, but was postponed due to the pandemic. With this being her first residency at Museum of Glass, which began on July 14, 2021, both parties were anxious to join forces. During Dick’s week-long residency, she worked on pieces from her Sculpted Heads series. Her previous work from this series is currently on display in Transparency: An LGBTQ+ Glass Art Exhibition, available to view through summer 2021. Luckily before Dick had left the Pacific Northwest to head back home to Chicago, we had some time to reflect on her first residency at Museum of Glass.

Pearl Dick working with the Team in the MOG Hot Shop.

How about a few fun questions to start? Did you do any exploring while here in Tacoma, WA? If so, what was your favorite spot?

Pearl Dick: I was really excited to visit Hilltop Artists while I was in town. I have been aware of and working with folks from that program for a while now, so was great to get to see it all in person!

What is the first thing you have planned to do when traveling back to Chicago, IL?

Pearl Dick: We had a community bike ride the day after I got back to Chicago, visiting historical sites on the South side of Chicago as part of an initiative we are involved with acknowledging and commemorating the Chicago Race Riots of 1919. Over 400 people showed up for the ride. Firebird presented prototypes of the memorial glass markers we are creating to be installed in city sidewalks where people were killed during this atrocity.

Can you tell us more about the organizations you work with back in Chicago? Specifically, Project FIRE and Firebird Community Arts?

Pearl Dick: I am the Artistic Director of Firebird Community Arts, a non-profit organization based on the West side of Chicago. We work to connect people through the healing aspects of art-making and community-building. We are a woman-led, all-inclusive studio providing access to glassblowing and ceramics. Project FIRE is our flagship program. F.I.R.E. stands for Fearless Initiative for Recovery and Empowerment. This program is designed to promote healing through glass and ceramics for young people in Chicago who have been injured by gun violence.

Now let’s talk about your residency! This was your first Visiting Artist Residency here at Museum of Glass. What did you enjoy most about working in the MOG Hot Shop, and how did the atmosphere shape your work?

Pearl Dick: Oh man! I can’t say enough about this MOG Hot Shop team!! They are truly remarkable artists, technicians, and all-around wonderful humans. I was able to make pieces that had eluded me with their expert help. The whole MOG crew, in fact, was on point. This was a pinnacle of my artistic journey so far and really refreshed my love of making my own art since so much of my energy over the last decade has been devoted to my community work. This residency was truly a gift and I feel even more inspired to bring that energy home.

Your work is currently featured within Transparency: An LGBTQ+ Glass Art Exhibition, and you took some time to discuss these pieces on Transparent Conversations last week. Could you tell us about the art you created during this residency and how it relates to other pieces within this body of work?

Pearl Dick: It was an honor to be included in this show and amazing to get to see it beautifully displayed at MOG–and to get to create my work in the residency with Sarah Gilbert in the hot shop, who was also a part of this exhibition was extra special for me. All of the work we made during this residency spoke to the themes of connection and relationship, which is what my work in Transparency was about. We added some elements of color and connection and scale that elevated this message.

Lastly, can you let everyone know where they can see your art or plan to see the work you completed during this Visiting Artist Residency?

Pearl Dick: One of my favorite pieces created during this residency will stay with you all at the museum, which is also a huge honor to have my work created with your team become a part of the permanent collection. One of the pieces has a technical anomaly so I get to keep that one, which I am not sad about. I have yet to see the other finished pieces so I will wait to get them back to Chicago and decide where they go from there, but I imagine I will probably live with them for a minute and replay the awesome experience I had creating these before I send them out into the world.

Pearl Dick’s work ready to be worked in the Cold Shop after her Visiting Artist Residency.

About The Artist:
Artist and educator, Pearl Dick specializes in glass and art making as a means for expression and healing. Drawing from her life and observations, Dick’s work speaks to our human connection. From the relationships that span a lifetime to the casual interactions that last only an instant, no connection is insignificant. Her work, whether in glass or paint, is meant to spark a memory, feeling, or emotion within the viewer that is deeply personal—in those moments, her work becomes universal. 

Dick’s work is featured in Transparency: An LGBTQ+ Glass Art Exhibition, currently on display at Museum of Glass, and open through September 6, 2021.

Learn more and view Dick’s work at:
pearldick.com/studio

Five Minutes with David Huchthausen

David Huchthausen is renowned for his use of cold-working techniques in glass, currently demonstrated in his exhibition, David Huchthausen: A Retrospective Selection. This week, however, Huchthausen will return to working with hot glass as the Visiting Artist in the Museum’s Hot Shop.

David Huchthausen in his retrospective exhibition.
David Huchthausen in his retrospective exhibition.

I began focusing on cold working glass when…

I had always been interested in light transmission in architecture and think very three-dimensionally. After blowing glass for a few years, the limitations of the process became apparent and I began to combine hot-worked components with architectural glass in my sculptures.

My pieces are inspired by…

Science and science fiction, architecture, space exploration, and optics.

When I’m not in the studio working, I am…

Either out on my boat or at an antique show.

During my residency, I hope to demonstrate to Museum visitors…

I have not worked with hot glass for 35 years, but I intend to create experimental work during the residency, some of which will be based on my current work with the spheres. I also have plans for a group of vessels with floating figures, which expand on a direction I pursued back in the mid 1970s.

David Huchthausen (American, born 1951). Sphere 3, 2010. Cut, laminated, and optically polished glass. 12 inches. Collection of the artist. Photo by Lloyd Shugart.
David Huchthausen (American, born 1951). Sphere 3, 2010. Cut, laminated, and optically polished glass. 12 inches. Collection of the artist. Photo by Lloyd Shugart.

If I wasn’t an artist, I would be…

Possibly an architect or a museum curator.

Plan a visit to Museum of Glass to see Visiting Artist David Huchthausen working in the Hot Shop from October 12 through 16, or watch his residency online.

Five Minutes with Claire Cowie

Inspired by man-made cairns found in the great outdoors, artist Claire Cowie has been creating sculptures, based on these landmarks, out of papier-mâché, carved foam, urethane resin, wood, and more. During her Visiting Artist Residency at Museum of Glass, she plans to continue this series of cairns by incorporating glass into her sculptures.

Take five minutes to learn a little more about our Visiting Artist and what she hopes to accomplish at Museum of Glass!

I began making sculptures based on cairns…

After a family reunion trip to Kiawah Island, SC, a few years ago. My family has always hiked and my parents are great discoverers of all kinds of landmarks in the natural world. I have been thinking about using cairns as a psychological marker as well as a locator of pathways.

When I need inspiration for my work I…

Look to my sketchbooks. My biggest problem is really more about focusing and choosing what to resolve. I usually have too many scattered thoughts and I’m so interested in process that my challenges are with resolution and editing rather than inspiration.

My favorite material to work with is…

So many it’s hard to pick a favorite! Nothing beats pencils, pens, and paper. But I also really love learning about new materials. Anything that gets my hands dirty.

During my Museum of Glass residency I hope to…

Build on what I recently worked on at Pilchuck Glass School. I’d like to make some pieces that use color, texture, and asymmetry. These will be elements in mixed-media sculptures that I’ll continue to develop in the up-coming year. I have also been making some glass pieces based on plant dissections, and I’d love to see how some of those would be interpreted in this situation. I recently got to be an artist-in-residence in the Nemhauser Biology Lab at the University of Washington and I like the similarity of the fish-out-of-water state that both residencies provides as well as the notion of translating concepts through another person.

When I’m not working, I am…

Biking, hiking, camping, swimming in Lake Washington, reading, and crafting with my daughter.

Plan a visit to Museum of Glass to see Visiting Artist Claire Cowie working from June 29 through July 3, or watch her residency online.

Five Minutes with Ann Gardner

Catch up with Visiting Artist Ann Gardner before her second residency at Museum of Glass!

Ann Gardner working on the Long Day/Long Night installation for the Fairbanks International Airport, Alaska.
Ann Gardner working on the Long Day/Long Night installation for the Fairbanks International Airport, Alaska.

The last time I worked with hot glass was…

My last residency at MOG, so that was around 10 years ago. It was great and I am looking forward this week.

During my Museum of Glass residency I plan to…

Experiment with breath, using blown glass as a barrier to breath. I am asking the blowers to blow organic shapes, a little off center, exploring how to do this to create unusual off-centered shapes. We will be experimenting—I’m excited.

I am inspired by…

Materials, ideas, trying new things, and the natural world and beauty. Honest work, whatever the medium.

If I wasn’t working in glass, I would…

Probably be painting, however, I always told my husband If I wasn’t an artist I would be a detective, so who knows.

Plan a visit to Museum of Glass to see Visiting Artist Ann Gardner working from June 29 through July 3, or watch her residency online.

Five Minutes with Vivian Beer

This week’s Visiting Artist at Museum of Glass is “Ellen’s Design Challenge” winner, Vivian Beer! The furniture designer will be experimenting with glass this week, exploring its luminous quality to create lighting fixtures.

Beer worked at Pilchuck Glass School for two weeks prior to her arrival at the Museum. MOG had a chance to catch up with the busy designer as she starts her Hot Shop residency.

Photo courtesy of Vivian Beer.
Photo courtesy of Vivian Beer.

The most challenging part about designing furniture is…

Balancing all the requirements. It needs to be very cool, clever, or beautiful while also functioning really well. The best pieces challenge material, idea, and engendering all at the same time.

The most rewarding part about my job is…

Getting to constantly explore new materials, places, and ideas.

VBeer v2 blog
Photo courtesy of Vivian Beer.

During my Museum of Glass residency, I plan to use glass to…

Continue my explorations started at Pilchuck Glass School over the last two weeks. I’ve never worked with glass before and am fascinated by how it can carry light. This is the perfect opportunity for a furniture designer, like myself, to dig deep into lighting design.

If I could have only two pieces of furniture in my home, they would be…

A couch and a kitchen table because that is where we spend so much of our time at home and are the most social.

Competing on “Ellen’s Design Challenge” taught me…

How much you can truly get done if you don’t second guess yourself. I’m excited to see what we can do this week at the museum!

Season winning designer Vivian Beers (right) and finalist Sef Pinney (left) with Ellen (center), as seen on Ellen's Design Challenge. Ellen DeGeneres puts eight furniture designers to the test when they come to Los Angeles to compete in various challenges designing and building amazing furniture creations. With a workshop, a lead carpenter and all the tools they’ll need, the contestants will be tasked with a new build each episode. A panel of expert judges along with appearances by Ellen will eliminate them one by one until one designer is left standing to take home the cash prize and win “Ellen’s Design Challenge.”
Season winning designer Vivian Beer (right) and finalist Sef Pinney (left) with Ellen (center), as seen on “Ellen’s Design Challenge.” Ellen DeGeneres puts eight furniture designers to the test when they come to Los Angeles to compete in various challenges designing and building amazing furniture creations. With a workshop, a lead carpenter and all the tools they’ll need, the contestants will be tasked with a new build each episode. A panel of expert judges along with appearances by Ellen will eliminate them one by one until one designer is left standing to take home the cash prize and win “Ellen’s Design Challenge.”

Plan a visit to Museum of Glass to see Visiting Artist Vivian Beer working from June 1 through 5, or watch her residency online.