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Talking Out Your Glass podcast

As editor of Glass Art magazine from 1987 to March 2019, Shawn Waggoner has interviewed and written about multitudes of the world’s greatest artists working glass in the furnace, torch, and on the table. Rated in iTunes News and Noteworthy in 2018, Talking Out Your Glass continues to evolve, including interviews with the nation’s finest borosilicate artists making both pipes and sculpture on the torch. Other current topics include how to work glass using sustainable practices and how artists address the topics of our times such as climate change, the political chasm, and life in the age of technology.
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Your Podcast Source for Interviews and Information on

Hot, Warm and Cold Glass!

www.glassartmagazine.com

May 14, 2021

Keke Cribbs: Frozen Moments in the Emotional Adventure of Life

Through her art, KeKe Cribbs searches for a peaceful place. Growing up, this self-taught artist moved 24 times in 24 years, and she now prefers to travel in her mind, telling stories of far-away places and exotic characters in a mosaic glass technique she has adapted to her unique style. From her studio on Whidbey Island off the coast of Seattle come boats, Moon Queens, and collage with painted glass, inspiring wonder and delight in all who view them. Her latest works will be on view August 6 – 29, 2021 at the Bainbridge Arts and Crafts Gallery, Bainbridge, Washington. 

Like her work, Cribbs’ life has a fairytale-quality with dark undertones. At age 15, she was one of five children transplanted to Ireland for her mother’s graduate studies in Yeats. For the next decade she traveled from place to place in Europe before returning to the United States as a single mother and a stranger to native customs. While working in a Native American art gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Cribbs discovered the work of the Mimbres Indians and had a show of her adapted renditions of those drawings at Dewey Kofron Gallery in 1980. She was subsequently commissioned to reproduce the images by etching them onto the glass fronts of a suite of cabinets. 

In 1997, in a dramatic departure from sandblasting, Cribbs began firing enamels onto glass in a kiln. She drew on the glass with a quill pen and used sgraffito to further enhance the drawing before firing. Working the entire piece on the reverse side of the glass left the colors brilliant and wet in appearance. The sheets of painted glass were then cut into tiny tiles and reassembled on a three-dimensional surface. Early forms included canteens, baskets, high-heel shoes or more commonly, boats. 

Says Cribbs: “All of these forms represent journeys – the canteen and basket forms are containers which one would carry on a journey to hold water, the very essence of life. The narratives depicted on these forms represent the choices we make in this life; small vignettes into fictional lives that may remind one of a

Keke Cribbs: Frozen Moments in the Emotional Adventure of Life

Through her art, KeKe Cribbs searches for a peaceful place. Growing up, this self-taught artist moved 24 times in 24 years, and she now prefers to travel in her mind, telling stories of far-away places and exotic characters in a mosaic glass technique she has adapted to her unique style. From her studio on Whidbey Island off the coast of Seattle come boats, Moon Queens, and collage with painted glass, inspiring wonder and delight in all who view them. Her latest works will be on view August 6 – 29, 2021 at the Bainbridge Arts and Crafts Gallery, Bainbridge, Washington. 

Like her work, Cribbs’ life has a fairytale-quality with dark undertones. At age 15, she was one of five children transplanted to Ireland for her mother’s graduate studies in Yeats. For the next decade she traveled from place to place in Europe before returning to the United States as a single mother and a stranger to native customs. While working in a Native American art gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Cribbs discovered the work of the Mimbres Indians and had a show of her adapted renditions of those drawings at Dewey Kofron Gallery in 1980. She was subsequently commissioned to reproduce the images by etching them onto the glass fronts of a suite of cabinets. 

In 1997, in a dramatic departure from sandblasting, Cribbs began firing enamels onto glass in a kiln. She drew on the glass with a quill pen and used sgraffito to further enhance the drawing before firing. Working the entire piece on the reverse side of the glass left the colors brilliant and wet in appearance. The sheets of painted glass were then cut into tiny tiles and reassembled on a three-dimensional surface. Early forms included canteens, baskets, high-heel shoes or more commonly, boats. 

Says Cribbs: “All of these forms represent journeys – the canteen and basket forms are containers which one would carry on a journey to hold water, the very essence of life. The narratives depicted on these forms represent the choices we make in this life; small vignettes into fictional lives that may remind one of a surreal dream or experience, a palpitation of the heart, a frozen moment in the emotional adventure of life.”

Eventually, Cribbs found herself seeking more information and attended workshops at Pilchuck Glass School with Dan Dailey, Bertil Vallien, Ginny Ruffner, Klaus Moje, Clifford Rainey, and Jiří Harcuba. She studied ceramics with Yih-Wen Kuo, Keisuke Mizuno, and Sergei Isupov at Penland School of Craft and attended many classes at Pratt Fine Art Center in Seattle studying metal techniques. She moved to Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound to be closer to the heart of the glass community. In time, she found herself teaching at both Pilchuck and Penland as well as starting a glass program at the Swain School of Design in New Bedford, MA, which then became Southeastern Massachusetts University (SMU), now UMass at Dartmouth.

Anyone who learns something has to be curious enough to retain the information, no matter where it comes from. In Cribbs’ case, her life experiences and fascination with process led to the development of a unique approach to making art work, one in which the mystery surrounding objects from the past creates its own narrative in the mind of the onlooker. Working in many materials including glass and ceramics, she seeks to create an interactive form of storytelling, sculpturally producing shapes with narrative surfaces, bringing the whole work into a multifaceted exploration of the subconscious world of dreams and symbols. 

With a career spanning over 51 years, Cribbs has work in many museum collections both nationally and internationally, including the L.A. County Museum, CA; Corning Glass Museum, Corning, NY; Henry Ford Art Museum, Dearborn, MI; Mobile Art  Museum, Mobile, AL; Racine Art Museum, Racine, WI; and Hokkaido Museum of  Modern Art, Sapporo, Japan. Each year from 2012-2015 Cribbs was nominated for the Twinning Humber Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2010, she was awarded Artist in Residence at the Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA; Artist in Residence, Toledo Art Museum; and was a presenter at the Glass Art Society Conference, Seattle, WA.

About her new work, Cribbs states: “I’m really happy with the new work I am producing for the show in August at BAC on Bainbridge Island. Technically I have moved to paintings with painted glass inclusions. Perhaps it is partially the isolation during the time of COVID that has pushed me to isolate each little jewel of glass so it can be appreciated individually as its own micro painting, loved for being itself …. but the departure from creating a full skin of mosaic glass on a form, be it sculptural or flat, has other aspects of elevating these small shards of what was simply float glass and mirror bits, to a placement of honor. 

“In a society that tends to look down on poverty and to isolate those who have less, I am always reminded of the song line diamonds on the soles of her shoes by Paul Simon … and then there is Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds by the Beatles …. coal to diamonds to dust to stars where all the good souls go to sing together; these contribute to the access point where I have landed with this new work, and I am in bliss heaven.” 

On May 27, 2021, join Artist Trust Board Member Lee Campbell and artist Kéké Cribbs for a virtual house party in support of Artist Trust. This virtual event won’t be your typical Zoom call, but will instead provide an exclusive tour of Cribbs’ Whidbey Island studio, insight to her artistic process, and a glimpse of her recent work. Come prepared to laugh, think outside the box, and hear more about one of Washington State’s talented artists. 

https://artisttrust.cheerfulgiving.com/e/an-evening-with-lee-campbell-and-keke-cribbs

surreal dream or experience, a palpitation of the heart, a frozen moment in the emotional adventure of life.”

Eventually, Cribbs found herself seeking more information and attended workshops at Pilchuck Glass School with Dan Dailey, Bertil Vallien, Ginny Ruffner, Klaus Moje, Clifford Rainey, and Jiří Harcuba. She studied ceramics with Yih-Wen Kuo, Keisuke Mizuno, and Sergei Isupov at Penland School of Craft and attended many classes at Pratt Fine Art Center in Seattle studying metal techniques. She moved to Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound to be closer to the heart of the glass community. In time, she found herself teaching at both Pilchuck and Penland as well as starting a glass program at the Swain School of Design in New Bedford, MA, which then became Southeastern Massachusetts University (SMU), now UMass at Dartmouth.

Anyone who learns something has to be curious enough to retain the information, no matter where it comes from. In Cribbs’ case, her life experiences and fascination with process led to the development of a unique approach to making art work, one in which the mystery surrounding objects from the past creates its own narrative in the mind of the onlooker. Working in many materials including glass and ceramics, she seeks to create an interactive form of storytelling, sculpturally producing shapes with narrative surfaces, bringing the whole work into a multifaceted exploration of the subconscious world of dreams and symbols. 

With a career spanning over 51 years, Cribbs has work in many museum collections both nationally and internationally, including the L.A. County Museum, CA; Corning Glass Museum, Corning, NY; Henry Ford Art Museum, Dearborn, MI; Mobile Art  Museum, Mobile, AL; Racine Art Museum, Racine, WI; and Hokkaido Museum of  Modern Art, Sapporo, Japan. Each year from 2012-2015 Cribbs was nominated for the Twinning Humber Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2010, she was awarded Artist in Residence at the Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA; Artist in Residence, Toledo Art Museum; and was a presenter at the Glass Art Society Conference, Seattle, WA.

About her new work, Cribbs states: “I’m really happy with the new work I am producing for the show in August at BAC on Bainbridge Island. Technically I have moved to paintings with painted glass inclusions. Perhaps it is partially the isolation during the time of COVID that has pushed me to isolate each little jewel of glass so it can be appreciated individually as its own micro painting, loved for being itself …. but the departure from creating a full skin of mosaic glass on a form, be it sculptural or flat, has other aspects of elevating these small shards of what was simply float glass and mirror bits, to a placement of honor. 

“In a society that tends to look down on poverty and to isolate those who have less, I am always reminded of the song line diamonds on the soles of her shoes by Paul Simon … and then there is Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds by the Beatles …. coal to diamonds to dust to stars where all the good souls go to sing together; these contribute to the access point where I have landed with this new work, and I am in bliss heaven.” 

On May 27, 2021, join Artist Trust Board Member Lee Campbell and artist Kéké Cribbs for a virtual house party in support of Artist Trust. This virtual event won’t be your typical Zoom call, but will instead provide an exclusive tour of Cribbs’ Whidbey Island studio, insight to her artistic process, and a glimpse of her recent work. Come prepared to laugh, think outside the box, and hear more about one of Washington State’s talented artists. 

https://artisttrust.cheerfulgiving.com/e/an-evening-with-lee-campbell-and-keke-cribbs