Like all artists, glassblowers delight in the process of creating their delicate objects from beginning to end. Whether it's a painter applying the first stroke to a canvas or a glassblower placing the first sheet of glass in a kiln, the result is always the same: an individual piece of art that can never be duplicated. And this Saturday and Sunday, art lovers will have the chance to admire the works of regional glass artists at Arbor Crest Winery and learn more about the craft of the glassblower.
"The main purpose of this weekend's show is to serve as a network for the local glass artists," says Conrad Bagley, owner of A Cat's Eye Gallery. "It's handy for me because I can meet different glassblowers with different skills."
For the eighth year, Glass on the Grass will showcase stained glass windows, marbles, beads, bowls, plates, glasses, kaleidoscopes, cups and multi-media. And for those who are interested in learning how the artists create their masterpieces, various glassblowers will give demonstrations and share their resources. Twenty-five local and regional artists are expected at the event, which will also have live music and a wine tasting.
Featured artists at the event include, Dr. Robert Powers, whose marbles have been showcased at the Smithsonian Institution, John Stokesbury, a mosaic glass artist whose work is featured at the Flour Mill and in Sandpoint, and Susan Kim, who uses the marbles of other glass artists to create her kaleidoscopes. And local scientific glassblowers David Gover and Wayne Myers, who create glass tubes and equipment for science labs, will give live torch demonstrations. Local artist Susan Girten will also be at the event to show her hand-painted glass bowls and goblets.
But half the excitement of the event is learning the technique the different artists use.
"You have to be really careful when you work with glass," says Bagley. "It's very sharp, and it's hot. But it's a beautiful medium to work with."
The process of creating and shaping a piece of glass is almost as fascinating as the finished work itself. Most of us can only imagine the work that goes into creating a blown glass figurine. A sheet of glass is first placed into a furnace in order to change the shape. The consistency of the glass when it is first gathered from the furnace is like honey. Colors are added throughout the process and the molten glass is shaped by heating at temperatures in excess of 650 degrees, cooling the glass and using traditional glass blowing tools to form a beautiful piece of art.
And for the first year since the show began at Manito Park, the brainchild of local artists Sherry Yost, Paula Greyhek and Molly Valente, the event will have a food booth by Mizuna.
"It's just great for people who want to come up here and have a picnic, listen to music, watch the sunset and look at the art," says Bagley.
"And people can sign up for glass lessons on blowing, making beads, painting and infusing. Whatever you like, someone will give you a lesson."
Glass on the Grass runs from 11 am to sunset both Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 19 and 20, at Arbor Crest Winery, 4703 N. Fruithill Road. Admission is free and open to people ages 21 and over. Call: 389-2930.