Showing posts with label university of sunderland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label university of sunderland. Show all posts

08 August 2013

UK Artist Susan Ratliff Residency at Washington Glass School

UK Glass artist Susan Ratliff in Washington, DC
UK glass artist Susan Ratiliff has recently completed her Residency at the Washington Glass School, and we catch up with her for an interview about her experience.

Why an artist residency?
Studying Glass at Sunderland University while an amazing opportunity, is driven mainly by the acquisition of skills and knowledge. Work is created to titled assignments until the second semester, where self directed work begins. Even self directed work is overseen and influenced by tutors. By undertaking this residency, I feel it has allowed me to breathe and focus on what I wish to explore and gain confidence in myself as an emerging artist. That is not to say I wish to work in isolation and certainly within the community of artists that work out of the Glass School, artists do seek others perspectives on their work.

Why did you apply to Washington Glass School specially?
Almost eighteen months ago Michael Janis and Tim Tate, Directors at Washington Glass School were awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and came to Sunderland University where they ran a series of Masterclasses and Seminars.
Michael Janis (left) teaching Masterclass in glass at University of Sunderland, 2012.
I was fortunate to attend all the Masterclasses and the Seminars. I found the workshops very informative and interesting and was excited by the new techniques shared. More specifically I was very impressed by Michael and Tim - the quality of teaching, preparation and expectations were outstanding. I do not use these words lightly, having been a school’s inspector in my previous career. Their passion and dedication were infectious and I wished I could emulate these traits as an artist. We have had various international artists visit University but these two stood out for me as exceptional. I also felt there was a cultural difference in the attitudes to glass art in America as compared to England. I wanted to learn more, and at all the levels and nuances. All of these factors contributed to me wanting to apply to Washington Glass School. 

Did the residency live up to the expectations you had?
Prior to coming to the US, I was filled with a combination of equal parts nerves and excitement. I wasn't sure what to expect and didn't want to let them and myself down.I knew I was prepared to be positive, and to do the best I could and work hard.
Studio artist John Henderson.
The residency has certainly exceeded what I had ever envisaged. I have been given so many opportunities and such valuable mentoring that I am shocked that in such a short time, I feel more confident in myself as an artist.
I have seen at first hand the diversity of work that exists in a working artist studio, and also the hours that are needed and a glimpse of the challenges to be faced.

How did you find the living and studio conditions DC? Did you feel at home?
One of the biggest challenges for me had being finding somewhere to live that was both affordable and safe. Washington, DC is the capitol of the United States and is an enormous and diverse city. I emailed Michael earlier, asking the specific location of the Glass School as I wanted to look at commuting and not trying to get across the city. From this point I can only say “God bless Google”! I asked how safe certain metro stations were for single white females and got great answers online. I went for a Guest House in Columbia Heights and it has been fantastic, I feel I am living in a neighborhood, yes there is an energy and a vibrancy but it feels great! It is down the street from interesting shops and restaurants and a DC metro station. I would return to it and recommend it to others too.
Susan Ratliff talking with Sean Hennessey; getting studio supplies at Home Depot, enjoying the sweeping compound, and making kilncast glass artwork.

On my first day Michael was here to welcome me and began by giving me a tour of the studio. Within the first few minutes he had identified a working space that was designated for me alongside Audrey Wilson, Artist and the Glass School Studio Coordinator and also amongst the other studio artists. This really made me feel very welcome and I hadn't expected it. Having worked at Sunderland it was lovely to see familiar equipment and the sweetie-like jars of Bullseye frit. One thing new to me was sweeping compound and I am the first to admit I think I got a little too excited by this! Audrey made me feel very welcome,she is very approachable and patient. When practicing skills as simple as glass cutting, she was so encouraging - she enables you to believe you can do it.
Susan Ratliff and Tim Tate discuss glass art.
Tim Tate - who had a very exacting schedule, was preparing to be out of state on an art tour with the Smithsonian’s James Renwick Alliance group, was very generous in giving his time when he was here. And Michael made a point of introducing me to all the artists in the School and encouraged me to inquire and discover more about their work.
I found the School very well equipped and well resourced. It has seven kilns of various sizes, cold shop and mold making areas, as well as some metal work facilities too. I think it is extremely well resourced.

What was your day like?
My days were varied but generally we began the day at 9:30 and worked through till after 5:00.
Audrey Wilson and Susan Ratliff make the 2013 International DC Short Film Festival Awards.
Some of the studio tasks included assisting Audrey in making the glass awards for the DC International Short Film Festival. Cutting glass, cleaning out kilns and talking to artists about their work. Making my own work. Going to Galleries, Museum exhibitions and lectures. Learning to blog and be a photographic model....I felt these last two weren't my strengths.
Susan was able to take advantage of the different museums, and loved the National Gallery of Art.
On a studio-based day, I would generally start by asking Audrey if she had any tasks. If not, I would update my blog and then talk to one of the resident artists, including artists from some of the adjacent ceramic studios, about their work.
Susan works at the dry plaster casting technique to create some glass studies.

Audrey mixing plaster.

Following on from this and after a quick bite of lunch, I would work on a piece of my work to go into the kiln. While here I have been working on the Dry Plaster Technique for kilnforming glass, following on from the Fulbright Masterclass in Sunderland. On days when my work was out of the kiln in the morning, I would take it out and prepare the kiln in case anyone else needed it.
How did you make use of the facilities?
Our final year is a self directed module and so I to the opportunity to make a start on exploring an artwork idea that I had. I was assigned a kiln to use for work and carried out several test pieces exploring size, color and shape,all of my work was using dry plaster casting.
Susan's workspace is covered with glass components made during her residency.
It was excellent to have the time to experiment, it felt quite liberating! I used 1/4 inch window glass and various colored frit and colored plate glass. I made the dams, sifted the plaster, cut the glass and used various found objects -some were more successful than others, but that is the nature of testing and the beauty of glass.

Susan notes that the USA has still not switched to metric, and must measure in imperial.
Do you get feedback on your work during studio visits?
I got excellent feedback throughout the process. Whilst setting up the kiln Michael would come over and ask questions such as Why are you doing......? What do you expect to happen if ......? The whole process made me think much more. When the work came out we would talk about the technical aspects what had worked well what not so well and happy accidents! I also felt I really benefited from discussions about my concept for my work. It is the first time I have felt mentored and found it invaluable and something I hope could continue.

Would you like to stay in DC after you've finished?
The ice cream truck arrives in time.
The first reaction is yes! I feel I have gained so much more from the whole experience. On a management course once a speaker described that often we live our lives holding a beach ball in front of us, and only seeing the world from that angle, and we should appreciate other people have a totally different view to us. I think coming here has given me a very different view. The way I have seen artists approach the work here in America is different to what I am used to, and sometimes feel that history and tradition really influences how people think - and I wanted to challenge myself by developing other methods and processes. 

Luckily, I had got a grant from the University that helped offset some of the costs in doing the residency. I am very lucky to have American friends that live in the neighboring state of Virginia, so knew they would support me and they did. Collecting me from the airport and having me on the weekends as well as providing me with food parcels - as though there were no food stores in the city of Washington! My friends and I were able to pop up to New York for a weekend escapade and took in a Broadway show before coming straight back to work at the studio.
Bright lights, Broadway, Big City  - Susan felt like she was in an alternate world.
I have loved it and would love to return......the question is, Would they have me back?!

23 July 2013

Washington Glass School Welcomes UK Artist Susan Ratliff

UK Glass Artist Susan Ratliff is overwhelmed by the Americanness of it all.
Forget all the kerfuffle about the newest UK arrival at Buckingham Palace. The Washington Glass School has its own UK arrival - University of Sunderland artist Susan Ratliff has begun her artist residency thru August. Susan is about to begin third year as an undergraduate in Glass and Ceramics at Sunderland University. Susan came to glass after a career in the field of Special Educational Needs - both as a teacher and as a Head of Service.
Susan Ratliff, "Can You Remember" sandcast glass. The series of cast panels references loss of memory caused by Alzheimer's disease.
Said Susan about her studies in glass: "I have always loved glass but only in the last few years have I learnt how to work with glass,it is an amazing material . I started by taking some classes at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland,which then led on to me studying at the University of Sunderland."
Michael Janis discusses sgraffito techniques with Susan Ratliff at University of Sunderland, 2012.

"During my first year Michael Janis and Tim Tate came to the University of Sunderland on their Fulbright scholarship and taught two Masterclasses on Dry Plaster Casting and Sgraffito. They were amazing and I learnt many new techniques." 
Susan said about coming to Washington Glass School: "I came to learn about the real world of glass, to find out how a studio works, including day-to-day issues like balancing the cost of materials and equipment, setting kiln-firing schedules, dealing with the pressure of commissions and also the sheer joy of creating. I hope through the Internship to prepare myself a little for life after University as a working artist....I inquired with Tim and Michael about internship opportunities and a year on, here I am at The Washington Glass School!" 
Susan Ratliff, "Landscape", kilncast glass, mirrors. The 1st year presentation dealt with self image and identity. Susan had incorporated dry plaster casting techniques for the installation piece.
If you are coming to the studio - make sure you stop by and say "Hi" to Susan, and make the Brit feel at home!

27 June 2013

UK National Glass Centre at the University of Sunderland Reopens

The UK's National Glass Centre at the University of Sunderland reopens its doors this weekend (June 29/30 2013) following an ambitious £2.3m ($3.5 USD) redevelopment program.

The Centre is one of the UK’s leading institutions for contemporary glass, celebrating Sunderland’s unique glass-making heritage, presenting a rich temporary exhibition program and facilitating international level research in new approaches to glass and ceramics. This ambitious redevelopment project will allow National Glass Centre to fulfill its potential as a cultural and education venue.

The Glass Centre houses the University of Sunderland’s Glass and Ceramics Department, the International Institute of Research in Glass and the Ceramic Arts Research Centre at the University of Sunderland. The Research Gallery space will allow the Centre to showcase some of its groundbreaking work in research carried out by its students, academics and visiting artists.

The redevelopment sees a complete overhaul of the Centre’s exhibition spaces and will allow the Centre to present work by the highest caliber artists and to work in partnership with international museums and galleries. The Centre will host three major exhibitions annually and up to 15 smaller scale exhibitions in the new gallery spaces, we will also have a ‘rotating museum’ which will present a selection of high profile glass and ceramics collections on a yearly basis.
Director of the National Glass Centre, James Bustard, said: “Our vision is to be a Centre of national excellence supporting the research, teaching, production and exhibition of contemporary glass – a Centre valued by the local community in Sunderland and whose reputation across the (UK) North East region as well as nationally and internationally.”

Professor Peter Fidler, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sunderland, said: “National Glass Centre is such an important cultural venue for Sunderland and the wider North East region. That is why we took over the running of the Centre in 2010 and put forward a vision that would make it a venue with national significance.”
“We have been supported with this vision by a range of people and organizations. The redevelopment reinforces the Centre’s reputation for excellence and enables us to play a major role in the growing cultural landscape of Sunderland.”
Tim Tate and Michael Janis at the UK's National Glass Centre
Last year, Washington Glass School's Tim Tate and Michael Janis completed their Fulbright Scholar assignment at the University of Sunderland and taught at the National Glass Centre. Click HERE to jump to the University of Sunderland news article.

All of us here at the Washington Glass School are excited to see the ambitious redevelopement and wish it great success as it enters into a new era! We all agree - Glass Is More!

04 March 2013

International Glass & Clay 2013 Opens!

Opening reception for International Glass and Clay 2013 Exhibit in Washington, DC
This weekend, the opening reception for the International Glass & Clay 2013 was a great sucess!
The collaborative show, organized by Artomatic, the Office of the Secretary of the District of Columbia and DC's Sister City of Sunderland, England and the University of Sunderland had a great turnout for the first night of the month long event. A number of the UK artists exhibiting in the show were on hand at the opening, and they were able to make connections with collectors and the DC creative community
Below are some photos of the opening night and of the exhibition:
Colin Rennie (foreground) Michael Janis (L) Roger Tye
Colin Rennie talks about his process and influences.
Washington DC collectors contemplate Megan Randall's ceramic works.
Stephen Beardsell's glass sculptures are always a favorite.
UK glass artist Robyn Townsend answers questions about her glass artworks on exhibit.
Beautiful ceramic sculptures by Novie Trump.
Glass artwork by UK glass artist Jeffrey Sarmiento and beyond, works by US artists Nancy Donnelly and Audrey Wilson.
UK glass artist Phil Vickery chats with DC collectors.

Artwork by UK glass artist Criss Chaney and ceramic work by US artist Tamara Laird.
Ceramic sculpture by the UK's Philippa Whiteside.
UK glass artist Roger Tye expresses surprise at what artist Criss Cheney has to say.
Sunderland City International Manager Catherine Auld is happy as Sunderland's Anne Tye negotiates a sale with a Washington, DC art collector.

The international exhibit will be open to the public thru March 23, 2013. Location is Pepco Edison Place Gallery, 702 8th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20068.
Gallery hours Saturday & Tuesday 12pm-4pm. Wednesday, Thursday & Friday, 12pm-8pm.
 Click HERE to jump to the exhibit website for more info on special events and artist info.

28 February 2013

International Glass & Clay 2013 Opens Friday

Using an art exhibition as a bridge between countries, Artomatic, the DCCAH, the City of Sunderland, England and the UK National Glass Center have collaborated to bring together the Sister Cities of Sunderland, England and Washington, DC in a show that celebrates the medias of glass and clay, as well as celebrating the relationships between the two cities.

We are pleased to invite you to attend the opening reception of the International Glass and Clay 2013, on Friday evening, March 1 from 5:30-8pm, hosted at the Pepco Edison Place Gallery in downtown Washington, D.C. 

Visit our special website for more information about the exhibition - There are planned events during the show, including demos, roundtable discussions, wine tastings and more!
Pepco Edison Place Gallery
702 Eighth Street (between G and H streets)
Washington, DC 20068

22 February 2013

International Glass + Clay: Collective Imagination Pt 5

Opening March 1, 2013, Washington, DC will host an international exhibit of glass and clay artwork - the third collaborative exhibition organized by Artomatic and the DCCAH between Washington, DC artists and artists from our Sister City of Sunderland, England. With all the amazing glass and ceramic artwork being showcased, Washington Glass School will publish online a five part series of profiles on the artists behind the works. US & UK Artists in the International Glass + Clay 2013 Exhibition in Washington, DC.
Part 5 of 5

Laurel Lukaszewski / Ceramics / US
Laurel Lukaszewski is a Washington, DC area based artist. She has exhibited widely in the Mid-Atlantic region and nationally with solo exhibitions in Washington, DC, Arlington, VA, Norfolk, VA, St. Louis, MO, Tulsa, OK, and Bainbridge Island, WA.
Laurel is a founding member of Flux Studios, in Mt. Rainier, MD and has been a visiting artist at Seattle’s Pottery Northwest and Holland Hall in Tulsa, OK. She has served on a number of nonprofit boards including the Washington Sculptors Group, the National Cherry Blossom Festival and the Washington Project for the Arts Artist Council.
Roger Tye / Glass / UK
Roger Tye has been making glass since 1976, initially as Master production maker for the studios of Pauline Solven and Charlie Meaker, before setting up his own full time practice in 1989.Roger now concentrates on sculptural works. His most recent body of work also combines glass with slate and metal and offers wry observations of social events and situations. He has exhibited and throughout the UK and internationally to 28 countries and his work is in the collections that include Shell, British American Tobacco, American Airlines and the Royal Family.
Audrey Wilson / Glass / US

Audrey Wilson has a BA in Crafts with a Glass Concentration from Kent State University. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Audrey has worked at the Chrysler Museum Glass Studio as the studio and teaching assistant, working with the museum's visiting glass artists. Audrey's artwork references nature and organic forms, and she specializes in kiln casting, pate de verre and sand casting with mixed media.

Jeffrey Sarmiento / Glass / UK
Jeffrey Sarmiento’s working methods for image transfer in glass have taken him all over Europe and the US as an artist and academic. He holds an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design and a PhD from the University of Sunderland, where he is Reader in Glass. He has also lived in Denmark as a Fulbright fellow, and received emerging artist residencies at UrbanGlass in New York and at Pilchuck Glass School. Based at the National Glass Centre in Northeast England, Jeffrey leads the print and waterjet research areas by teaching, executing artist projects and making his own artwork. As a Filipino-American, his work is inspired by foreign ethnic contexts, expressed through collisions of layered images within glass. His work has been shortlisted for the Bombay Sapphire Prize, and he has held solo exhibitions in Copenhagen, Portland, and Istanbul. In 2012 he was the UK national commissioner for the European Glass Context in Denmark, and he also won the International Glass Prize, at GlazenHuis, Belgium. His artwork is the collections of the Museum of Liverpool, UK, the Speed Museum, USA, and the City of Lommel, Belgium.
Elizabeth Vorlicek / Ceramics / US

Elizabeth Vorlicek is a ceramic sculptor and visual arts teacher living in Alexandria, Virginia.  She graduated from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University with a BFA and a MFA degree.  Liz has taught in the Arts Department at Episcopal High School in Virginia for the past seven years.  She is also a curator and the Director of the Angie Newman Johnson Gallery.  Liz joined Flux Studios in Mt. Rainier, Maryland as an Emerging Artist in the fall of 2012.  She enjoys traveling, bird watching and baking in her spare time.      

Megan Randall / Ceramics / UK
Megan Randall is a contemporary ceramic artist, and is a current PhD student a Sunderland University where her research focuses on the placement of domestic ceramic objects responding to the context of site. Her work makes use of thrown porcelain alongside other less traditional materials and found objects. Working on the wheel is repetitive this gives pieces a rhythm and flow. Recent work has focused on willow pattern designs, which create their own narrative around domestic spaces, industrial sites and the notions of home.
In the past her work has included site specific installation and interventions alongside designed and hand crafted ceramic objects. The link between the separate worlds of fine art concept and that of designer/maker is the consistent use of porcelain which evokes a sense of luxury, fragility and, in some pieces, vulnerability. Her work combines new technology through the use of the waterjet cutter with the altering of the readymade object.

Click Here to jump to US / UK Artist Profile Part 1
Click Here to jump to US / UK Artist Profile - Part 2
Click Here to jump to US / UK Artist Profile - Part 3
Click Here to jump to US / UK Artist Profile - Part 4
                                                                                                 There will be a "Day of Demos" by a number of the visiting UK artists - Saturday, March 2, 2013.
Criss Chaney "Vessel"
11:00 AM at the Washington Glass School, UK-based glass artists Criss Chaney and Robyn Townsend will demonstrate using metal wire and sheet inclusions into cast glass, and painting a layer of metal powders onto the inside mould surface. They will also demonstrate cold techniques for applying metals to a finished piece of glass, and options for patination using common household chemicals. Click HERE to reserve a space at this free demo.

2:00 PM at DC GlassWorks, superstar UK hot glass artists Phil Vickery, Colin Rennie and Roger Tye will show how they work. Click HERE to reserve a space at the free demo.