I was in Canada for a wedding, which was the awesome, but because of that, I got to drop by Sheridan, where I first studied glass, and talk to the current third years. I really enjoyed it, I gave a talk about my work, but most interesting was having a conversation with them afterwards, I got to see a bunch of their work, and it was really great to talk with them about it see where they were going and what inspires them. I also got to hold one of Marc Petrovic’s birds that he had done as a demo earlier in the year. They’re completely incredible.
I also got to go to SOFA in Chicago! I’ve enjoyed it in the past, it is often overwhelming, jam-packed and shiny, but full of awesome. Being inside, and since I only had my phone, the pictures I took were terrible! I was very happy to see work by Jeff Zimmer, Alison Kinnaird, Amanda Simmons, Keeryong Choi, and Misun Won at the Craft Scotland booth, which looked fantastic, and to be able to hear Jeff, Che, and Amanda’s talk about working in Scotland. Other highlights for me were Lauren Tickle’s “Currency Converted”
jewellery project, Ljubica Knezevic’s “Analytic Concept of Breaking up the Game into Larger or Smaller Operations”
, and Mel Douglas’ “Turning Tide #2, Gradient, Linear”
(apparently I have similar taste to the people who were judges in “SOFA Selects” so I’ve given you the links to their choices, sine the pictures are of the actual work that was at the show).
On the way to Chicago, we stopped in Detroit. Look, it’s part of the Heidelberg Project:
This weekend was the Craft Scotland Conference, and I was happy to be included in the showcase that was part of it, “Sometimes Useful” curated by Rhona McCallum, and to be able to help out. It was a great weekend, and really nice to see everyone after being away in the Czech Republic for so long.
After the Symposium, I was also able to attend the School of Jiri Harcuba. It was a smaller group of us, lead by Pavlina Cambalova that met at the Glass Centre in Sazava, just south of Prague. The week started with the opening of an exhibit of works by Jiri, and it was wonderful to be able to spend more time, seeing them change as the light changed over each day in the week. The Glassworks is a wonderful studio, and if you’ve got a chance to to a workshop there, it is worth going
One of the most amusing things we did over the course of the week was engrave glass slides and tell stories with them:
School of Jiri Harcuba 2014: Engraved Glass Slides from Ainsley Francis on Vimeo.
I got to go to the International Symposium of Engraved Glass! It was lovely, I met so many interesting people, and re-connected with people I’d met before. It was amazing to be at the glass school in Kamenický Šenov, which is the oldest glass school in the world, and I have been hearing about since it was threatened with closure when I first started working with glass.
Also, I won an award for innovative use of engraving.
The Preciosa Lighting Factory, which is in town, had an open day while we were there, and they were letting children that were visiting try out glass cutting:
Preciosa Lighting Open Day from Ainsley Francis on Vimeo.