Friday, December 10, 2010

Through the Looking Glass at Gallery 21

Alice's Consequences" by JACK WADE, Glass Artist
Uroboros 1st Place


Hello All.

It is amazing how busy this time of year is. People find themselves racing to keep up with the everyday things, while participating in the holiday hustle and bustle. I am certainly no exception to the mad dash. My friend, Alane Gray (Lord High Mistress of Twitter and Facebook for Spanish Village's social connection), keeps asking me, "Where did you go"? My answer, "Oh, just the usual places this time of year".

But, I'll tell you, I did go to one place recently that was nowhere near "Usual"... anything but! That was my visit to Gallery 21 for the, "Through the Looking Glass" annual exhibition of the Art Glass Association of Southern California (AGASC). The association held its 29th Annual Show November 11- November 22, 2010 at Gallery 21 located at 1770 Village Place, San Diego, California. The art glass was on display daily from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. where visitors were invited to come and marvel at the expert craftsmanship and originality of this amazing group of artists.

When you think about glass, it is a pretty amazing thing. I mean, what is it, really? Silica? Infused with color, mixed and blended with swirling canes, dichroic flashes, dots, bumps, and globs of other fusible ingredients or matter. Or, left crystal clear and pristine to reflect or refract all the prismatic light of the spectrum. Cut, crushed, slumped, encased, molded, folded, twirled or pulled molten and glowing from the "glory hole", this is a medium that commands respect and demands attention to detail and precision. Gosh, I'm feeling a warm flush just thinking about it. Just imagine the actual "rush" that these amazing people must get while going through the process.

"Jellies" by MARCI STINTON, Glass Artist

As "Glory" as the glory hole may be, I think that this an art that I would much rather view from the spectator's seat rather than pick up the challenge. You've got to be pretty "gutsy" to stir that pot, if you ask me. But, gutsy and "glory" they are, these "masters of radiant, fiery matter pulled from an infernal vortex". Wow! Does that describe it or what? Dante's got nothing on them.

"2 Pieces of View" by VICKI LEON, Glass Artist

The masters of "fire and light", as I like to call them, are a group of artists "interested in promoting and educating the public in all areas of art glass creation and endeavor". Founded in 1981, the small group of local artists has grown into an organization of more than 125 members that pride themselves in belonging to AGASC. It is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to promoting all the art fields from traditional stained glass to repair and refurbishing of antique stained glass pieces, glass blowing, glass fusing and lamp worked glass. The Art Glass Association of Southern California is proud to be recognized as one of the oldest active memberships in the United States.

All of the members of AGASC were invited to participate in the exhibition. The categories that they competed in read like a list of gauntlet running immense challenge to me. As mind blowing as the art glass created by the masters was, the designated categories for the awards were widely varied and extensive, which sent me scrambling for a thesaurus for clarification, not to mention pronunciation. The title categories for this year's art glass entries were as follows:

1) Uroboros Special Theme Category: for best representation of the title
2) Coatings by Sandberg, Inc. Category: for the best endeavor in dichroic glass
3) Cold: Stained Glass, Mosaic, Sandblasted or Etched
4) Kiln-formed: Fused or Cast
5) Hot: Blown or Pour Cast
6) Wearable: Anything that can be worn
7) Mixed Media: Must contain at least 51% glass and anything else
8) Masters: This category is reserved for those artists that have previously won 3 or more awards in a category or "Best of "Show".
9) People's Choice: This category is voted on by the public for their favorite piece.

To congratulate the members, ribbons were awarded in 1st, 2nd and 3rd Places.

The winners in each category were:

Hot: 1) Baby Bear Rescue by Carlson Potts, 2) Piano Sconce by John Gibbons,
3) Kaleidoscope Platter by Patricia Yockey

Cold: 1) Hexagon by John Gibbons, 2) I Love Circles! by Pam Horn,
3) Reflections of Funkytown by Gina Meyers

Masters: 1) Dreams of the Dead by Kathleen Mitchell, 2) Splash Bowl by Joel Bloomberg, 3) Too by Leslie Perlis

CBS: 1) Jellies by Marci Stinton, 2) 2 Pieces of View by Vicki Leon, 3) Swimming
with Turtles by Cathy Coverley

Mixed Media: 1) Spiritual Regeneration by Rick Knight, 2) Alice's Cubistic Bird Bath
by Patricia Yockey, 3) Green Faery Revelry by Laddan Hashemian

Wearable: 1) Surya Chakra by Vicki Leon and Mili Shah, 2) Radiant Vortex by Vicki Leon, 3) Amor/Amore Deux by Leslie Perlis

Kiln-formed: 1) String Theory by Jack Wade, 2) Why the Long Face? by Jack Wade, 3) She's Not the Right Alice by Marti Blair

Uroboros Special Category: 1) Alice's Consequence by Jack Wade, 2) Falling Daughter by Leslie Perlis, 3) Queen's Target Practice by JoAnn Pastori

People's Choice: Jellyfish Sculpture by Joel Bloomberg

"Jellyfish Sculpture" by JOEL BLOOMBERG, Glass Artist

Holy Cow, I am "plumb wore out"! This is not an art for the lax and uninspired. Is anyone feeling a bit like Alice trying to keep up with the prolific creativity of this group? Thank you all, AGASC for taking us on a whirlwind trip "Through the Looking Glass" by way of the "glory hole", torch and kiln. And as for you, Alice, "...Honey child, you and the Art Glass Association of Southern California glass masters, ROCK"!

"Falling Daughter" by LESLIE PERLIS, Glass Artist

Oh, the glory of the miracles brought forth from the Glory Hole! "It's gettin' hot in here..."

The Art Glass Association of Southern California (AGASC) is a working group of glass artists in San Diego County, founded in 1981, and can be contacted through Jon Simpson, the 2010 AGASC Show Chairperson. Additional information may be obtained on the group at or (619) 229-1243. Send e-mail correspondence to

Written and posted by Cassandra Shepard, Studio 32
text and content copyrighted, 2010, all rights reserved

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