Richard La Londe’s work reflects an undeniable harmony. He strives for balance between left and right brain, meaningful content and technical prowess, spontaneous creation and tight design. In 1983, this pioneer of the Northwest fusing movement was one of the ﬁrst instructors for the Bullseye Glass Company, and his exploration and experimentation with the medium resulted in the introduction of multiple new techniques.
Born in 1950, La Londe grew up in Vancouver, Washington, graduating in 1972 from the University of Washington with a degree in geology. Early on he held many different jobs including commercial fishing in Alaska, becoming a journeyman welder, building houses, creating stained glass windows, forging ornamental iron, blowing glass, and building kilns.
His love affair with fusing began in 1981 when he started firing Bullseye glass in an electric kiln. “In the early 1980s Bullseye created the first complete color range of glass that was compatible and when fused together didn’t crack apart.” La Londe taught fusing classes for Bullseye in glass facilities around the United States and in Canada from 1983 to 1988, and in 1985 taught at the famed Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington.
As the work evolved, La Londe began translating his ideas into the pictorial murals and handkerchief vessels he is known for today. His fused glass Lotus Bowlwas purchased in 1983 by the Corning Museum of Glass, Corning New York for its permanent collection. One of his early public commissions, Into the Mythos, can be seen at the SeaTac airport, Seattle, Washington. He has completed 15 public works in total including his 2012 Washington State Arts Commission Percent for Arts Project entitled Enchanted Journey, for Spanaway Elementary School in Spanaway, Washington.
With a deep desire to share what he’s learned, the artist has authored two books, Richard La Londe: Fused Glass Art and Technique, and Richard La Londe and Friends: Fused Glass, Vitreous Enamels and Other Techniques. Heteaches workshops around the country and at his studio on Whidbey Island in Washington State. Withhis students, La Londe always shares his desire to make glass techniques more spontaneous and to create art that is truly unique.
La Londe will teach two days of fusing Bullseye and two days of fusing float glass, from September 7 through 10 at La Londe Studio on Whidbey Island, Washington.
Kelly O’Dell’s hot glass sculpture speaks to the devastating impact of the human race on species in the wild and embodies the Latin phrase “memento mori,” meaning “remember death.” Using the fragility and translucency of glass to create ghost-like animals in an homage to all that have been lost never to return, the artist endeavors to inspire environmentally-mindful changes in our daily routines while providing hope for a different future.
From October 5, 2018 through January 22, 2019, the Pittsburgh Glass Center’s Hodge Gallery presents All of a Suddens, an exhibition exploring existence and extinction, preservation and decay.The focal point of O’Dell’s solo show, “Critical Masse” features 13 endangered species mounted on the wall in clusters. Her “Ghost Animals” mimic hunting trophies displayed in a game room and highlight the 100 to 1,000 species that are lost per million per year primarily due to human-caused habitat destruction and climate change.
“My upbringing in the Hawaiian Islands inspired my love of oceans. Coming from a place so diverse in culture, climate, and teeming with flora and fauna, I feel a servitude or responsibility to honor what is lost or extinct. It’s fascinating and devastating that our presence as one species has so much impact of the delicate balance of life.”
Born in Seattle in 1973, O’Dell was raised in Hawai’i, the daughter of artists who used stained glass, furnace glass, and pressed flowers in their artwork. As a student at the University of Hawai’i, O’Dell fell in love with glass herself. The program offered many opportunities to study at Pilchuck Glass School, Stanwood, Washington, where she eventually relocated and became a member of the William Morris winter crew.
From September 9 -14, 2018, O’Dell and husband Raven Skyriver will co-teach in Bornholm, Denmark, at the Royal Danish Academy of the Arts in an event open to the general public, followed by a demo at Glasmuseet Ebeltoft,Ebeltoft, Denmark.From October 4 – 7, Skyriver will demo at the International Glass Symposium in Novy Bor, Czech Republic, while O’Dell heads to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for the opening of All of the Suddens. In 2019, O’Dell and Skyriver will be working hard to move into their new home and studio on Lopez Island, made possible by a recent successful Kickstarter campaign.
Marcel Braun and Project 33
West Coast glassblowing legend Marcel Braun and his team, "The Starship," have been working hard to blur the line between furnace worked and flame worked borosilicate glass. Currently, Braun specializes in producing glass coins also referred to as "Art Units," which are used as a trading currency in the functional glass world in an artistic and social experiment he calls Project 33. The artist’s goal is to return the benefits of his work to the pipe community.
Braun states: “There needs to be a catalyst for change in order to move forward, and we must wholeheartedly accept this as our mission and duty. The world has become a place of corporate greed and fabrication. Quality of craftsmanship has diminished steadily over the last 40 years as planned obsolescence has become a main factor in product design. People are accepting the accumulation of money alone as a good enough reason to expend community resources.”
To properly broadcast Project 33’s message, Braun and his crew designed a mobile glassblowing unit referred to as “S.E.C.X.C.” (Sacred Economic Currency X-Change). Once the old International Metro Mite van was transformed into a moving artistic experience, glass gallery, and currency exchange kiosk, the Starship was ready to travel to events around the world.
On August 3, a showcase of the live hot glass coin pull was held in Philadelphia to highlight Braun’s millefiori pulls using the SECXC. The newly released documentary, "Project 33 - An Alternative Is Possible," directed by Dan Collins (Editor of Degenerate Art), was also screened.
On August 8, Ruckus Gallery will hold a second event in the art gallery district of Old City, Philadelphia, to release the glass coins to VIP collectors. An educational exhibit that will focus on the processes of The Starship team and the Philadelphia project will be on display at Ruckus from August 8 through September 5. Approximately 500 people are expected to attend both separate events. There will be a personal Ruckus Gallery episode of this live hot glass demo filmed by Collins, a feature in the Philadelphia Inquirer, as well as tons of hot glass photography and video on Ruckus gallery’s website and social media.
Talking Out Your Glass was able to catch up with Braun during his busy Philadelphia schedule to talk about Project 33 in the context of his successful career in functional glass.