The Penland Book of Glass – Master Classes in Flamework Technique.
This stunning book is a collaboration between Lark Books and Penland School of Craft near Asheville, North Carolina. I am fortunate to have studied at Penland twice. I’ve applied again this year and hope I’m able to attend. It is a wonderful awe inspiring place of learning that can be transformational in an artist’s or craftperson’s journey.
This book, recently released in soft cover, features ten contemporary glass flameworkers who have taught at Penland. Each artist describes their artistic process, their inspiration, and their journey. These pages are filled with breathtaking examples of their work. Then, in a hands on section, each artist shows how to make one of their pieces complete with written details and photographs. I love the glass birds created by Shane Fero above. Below are two of many photos where Shane shows how he makes the birds.
The artists selected for the book are at masters of their craft. And when you look at the body of work shown for each, it’s hard not to think of them as taller or grander or something – like creative super heros. But when you read about their personal journeys, you see real people. People with insecurities. People who learn new techniques because of an injury. People who made mistakes and pushed past them.
There are also powerful words about creativity, joy, exploration, paying attention and thoughts on who we are as unique human beings seeking to explore our talents. I don’t work in glass; I’m grateful for those that do. I know how I feel when I melt or toast something. I cannot imagine learning to work with glass and coping with the breakage and other problems one encounters in learning to work with glass. These are patient souls.
And yes, there are beads. Wonderful, glorious beads. We need artistic beauty in our lives. We need to be inspired. We need to breathe in and breathe out the creative energy that connects us all. Books like this help remind us of those simple facts.
Disclaimer: One copy of this book was provided to me free of charge by Lark Books for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.