Saturday, June 7, 2008
The summer is shaping up nicely, I wish I could say the same for our suitcases. Packing is turning out to be quite a challenge what with the combination of heavy books, heavy stone cutting wheels, and fragile glass. Luckily, Chad & I are both professional art handlers and packing experts. We're quite excited to embark on the next part of this year's adventure, jet lag and all. Chad will be making a trip to Chicago to speak at the opening of the Eastern Exposure Exhibition at the Prism Gallery at the beginning of July. While in Seattle he'll be joining this wonderful crew over here for some challenging work and reminiscing. I'm so sad to miss Martin and his crew this summer, and can't wait to see the latest installation.
Monday, May 19, 2008
This is just a taste of Chad's new work, developed here in the Czech Republic, and so far it can be seen in these galleries Habatat Florida (new work will be featured at the opening of Habatat, Mass.), Sandra Ainsley Gallery, Toronto, and Pacini Lubel. He's working day and night to complete his work here and get it all shipped & exhibited appropriately. This July he'll be featured as an Artist in Residence at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma from the 16-20th. In August he'll accompany Fritz Dreisbach and Frantisek Janak at Pilchuck from the 12-29th. He'll be working in the Seattle area in between those dates, and might just pop up at a few more places, since we loved our stomping grounds so very much. He'll have to drink his weight in coffee to cover all of my favorite spots for me, though.
Friday, May 9, 2008
Hello, Chloe here. Chad is totally consumed wrapping up our last month in the Czech Republic. He's made some incredible artwork, soon to be shown in the states. We'll keep everyone posted. Here in Senov, we survived the winter, visa applications for Thomas & myself, and have emerged this May from our cold flat to find sun & bonfires galore. The Czech people love their Spring & Summer. Now we know why. We were introduced to this joy by several bonfire parties last week. The picture is from our village's April 30th witch burning night celebration. Friday Chad introduced American style barbecue chicken wings at Harold's opening season jazz concert. They were a hit & unfortunately he won't have time to do more, but it was a great way to blow off some steam or smoke, if you will. The next day Charlie Parriott was in town, and together they helped Peter Rath's successor, Petra, prepare the atelier garden for a party to celebrate Peter's retirement & his walk to Vienna. It was a lovely party, and on Monday Peter Rath picked up his wheelbarrow (outfitted with a goblet and GPS, filled with beautiful glass) and started walking the historic glassmaker's route from Kamenicky Senov to Vienna. Wheelbarrows were used because horses were too bouncy. The pictures are posted here.
Monday, March 3, 2008
I and my family have been quite busy lately. Even though the last month is a little bit shorter it has been fairly eventful. I went to Weiden, Germany to help my friend, the director of the school here, with and exhibition. We have been spending a lot of time around Kamenicky Senov and the neighboring city of Ceska Kamenice. I have also taken the chance to do some wondering around Senov to see some things that our friend Peter Rath recommended we see. During all of this I have found some time to write and work on my personal work. Finally, I have been spending the last few weeks with some students from Reinbach, Germany.
The exhibition in Weiden started with a trip to Mr. Janak's summer house about an hour south of Prague. We went there on a Thursday in the evening. I had the great pleasure of driving his car. It is a Skoda, Octavia. I mention the car because we do not have these in the states. I understand that the Skoda company is now owned by Volkswagen but they are producing a bit more economical vehicles with about the same quality.
We went to the summer house to pack and load the work. Then on friday we drove to Weiden. We unpacked and installed the exhibition. The other artist, which was chosen by Janak, is Jens Gussek. We spent the weekend here and left on Sunday. The opening for the exhibition was on Sunday at 11am. After the opening I had the pleasure to have lunch with Jiri Harcuba, a world renowned Czech Engraver. Mr. Harcuba is teaching at many places, especially in the United States. This summer he will be teaching at Pilchuck Glass School just north of Seattle.
On the way back to Senov we stopped at a very nice castle. This was the first castle I have seen that still had the moat partially intact.
Here are some websites that you might find interesting. The first is from the Bavarian/Bohemian Cultural Center in Weiden, Germany.
This second site is for the German Glass artist Jens Gussek.
The weather has been very warm lately. We have been taking advantage of it fully by taking some walks around Senov and spending time with some friends in Ceska Kamenice. Here in Kamenicky Senov, we visited Prachen, the basalt outcropping at the top of the mountain. Later, my son and I took a walk to find a crossroad marker that Mr. Rath recommended we see. This marker was reconditioned by Peter Rath. It marks the original crossroads here in Senov. If you are facing it and look to the right you will see the old road to Vienna and to the left is the road to Poland. This according to Mr. Rath. (See Photo)
Not far from this crossroad is the old glass factory of the Elias family. This was one of the largest factories at the time of its construction. Unfortunately, it has not been in operation for quite a long time. I am not sure how long but I would estimate at least 50 years. You can see by the photos that this was a very beautiful factory at one time. I have to say it is a great shame that some of these old factories were not taken care. It appears to be beyond saving now.
Our friends in Kamenice own a pub. They are very incredible and friendly people. One is from Canada and the other is Czech. They also have a beautiful daughter which just happens to be the same age as our son. It is so wonderful that we met them. Our children have developed a beautiful friendship. These friends own a pub in Kamenice and a shop that is joined to the pub. The pub is called Harold's. It is an American/Canadian/Czech pub. They play great music and in the summer have outdoor concerts. It is also non-smoking, which is a bit of a rarity here. Currently they do not have a website but please contact me if you will be visiting the Czech Republic and I will be happy to help you get there. By the way, Ceska Kamenice was voted as the most beautiful city in the Czech Republic a few years ago.
So I have started to do some writing in preparation for documenting my experience here in the Czech Republic. I hope to post some of this information in the future. It would be nice to get some feedback from others about the content. the writing is based on my experience and practice of cutting glass. I have been taking notes about the new work I am making in hopes to have a very accurate account of the traditional processes I am using.
This new work is very exciting to me. I have been flooded with ideas, greatly due to my experience here. I recently sent the first sculpture made her in Kamenicky Senov to a gallery in Seattle, Washington. The gallery is Pacini Lubel.
I have been working with 10 students from Reinbach, Germany. The school in Kamenicky Senov and Reinbach have a special relationship. About 50 years ago the teachers at the school in Senov were "encouraged" to leave. They did not have any place to take there talents. My understanding is that they went to Reinbach and were greeted with open arms. The locals in Reinbach were very clever to understand that valuable treasure that had befallen them.
After 1989, the schools were back in contact. Now they have an exchange that is supported by a European arts foundation. Every year students from Senov go to Reinbach and students from Reinbach come to Senov.
When the Reinbach students come they are taught some things that are traditionally taught here but not so much in Reinbach. They have classes in drawing, modeling, mold making (for casting in the kiln) and vitreography. Vitreography in this case refers to using glass plates for printing. The plates are cut and engraved, then rubbed with ink and ran through a printing press. I have been teaching the students modeling and mold making.
Today I am headed off for Prague. There is a lecture in the evening about the new visa regulations imposed by the Schengen states of the European Union. The Czech Republic entered into the Schengen boarder agreement at the end of December 2007. Since this time the situation for Americans in Czech Republic and the European Union has changed. It has created some difficulties for American that we were unable to have knowledge of until after we came. If the information tonight is significant I will post it. The intention would be to inform those coming here in the future so that they can avoid some of the misinformation problems and have a nice stay.
Saturday, February 2, 2008
So now it is the beginning of February. I have been finding it difficult to sit down and update my posts regularly but I am trying to get back into the groove of it. We have been quite busy having to do some paper work. I have had to travel to Prague a few times for official translations and getting some things notarized. I don't want to go far into it. I will just say that it has been a little frustrating and very time consuming.
One of the things we had to do for this paper work was to travel to Vienna. We were very fortunate to have a friend there, Peter Rath. He was extremely generous and it was incredible to spend a few hours with a person from such and important glass family. You can see what his family has been responsible for the past, almost 200 years at www.lobmeyr.at
This trip to Vienna was very nice and comfortable. We took a train from Prague to Vienna. It cost a bit but was well worth the comfort, ease and scenery. Lately we have be relegated to taking the trains when we can. My wife gets motion sickness and my son has become sick a few time on the buses. The drivers here have a lot to work as for driving skills go. Some example would be when following other cars and going around curves. When they follow other cars they like to come within a foot or two of their rears. You can imagine what this causes. A lot of slamming on the brakes and very quick stops resulting in everyone in the bus being jerked around. This is not only the bus drivers though. It seems to the style of driving here. The next situation of going around a corner is also interesting to say the least. Usually it is common to slow down as you approach a curve and speed up as you round and complete the curve. However I have witnessed the exact opposite almost 100% of the time, even amongst other drivers. So the scenario is this. As you approach the curve speed up very quickly then as you complete the curve slam on the brakes. I am not sure what the rational is but we have not been the only ones susceptible to this. We have been on the bus as other children have gotten sick as well.
Enough of my digression. What else is going on?
We are preparing for a conference for Fulbright in Velke Bilovice, south of Brno in Moravia.(Unfortunately I cannot add the appropriate marks for the pronunciation.) We will be meeting with current and new Fulbrighters from The Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic. We anticipate this to be a very exciting time. It usually is with these fellow Fulbrighters. It is wonderful to share time with other professionals, scholars and educators from other disciplines. One event I am looking forward to is a wine tasting at the Templar Knight's Wine Cellars. You can see more about it at www.vitejte.cz/objekt.php?oid=5899&j=en
Among the other things I have been doing, I have also been working on some new work. If you know what I was doing before you will see a big change. Either way I hope that you appreciate what I am doing. I have been doing some reading about geometry and how beauty is assessed from the points of view of different professionals in varying fields. One is talking about different states of consciousness. One of which is the collective consciousness that goes back thousands of years. He is talking about forms that we use today as well as the past but have their roots in the distant past. This is why people of multiple cultures seem to be drawn to the same or similar shapes and forms. I have been finding inspiration in these thoughts as well as what I am seeing in the old architecture here. In addition, I am trying to utilize different surfaces for directing light and the viewer.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Hesky Novy Rok! Happy New Year!
Well I am finally back. We received our internet connection just a couple of weeks ago while we were away for the holiday break. For those of you that have been checking in I am sorry for the lack of entries lately. Now that we are online I hope to be able to keep up more regularly.
We left of with our trip to Vienna. We are actually preparing to go again here very shortly. We have to submit some visa information to the consulate there.
Since then we have had a pretty mellow time. I think most of it has been spent with day-to-day experiences. Both my wife and I have been learning a lot about the culture and the nuances that accompany any move to a different area of the world or even to a different part of the country. I have to say that I think that we are getting a very unique and special look at Czech culture, having spent the last few weeks in Prague.
As I have mentioned, we live in a more rural area. There are less English speakers here and it seems, from their reaction to us, that they do not see foreigners often either. This being the case we have the chance to witness a more candid look the people we are around. For me this is a very valuable experience and I am very happy that we chose to come to this area opposed to remaining in Prague.
That being said I do not want to take anything away from Prague. It is a very wonderful city and I take every chance I have to go back and see new things. It is said to be the jewel of Europe and I totally understand why.
So enough of my rambling. What have we been up to?
As I was saying we are spending most of our time staying busy with daily activities. I spend my days a school in the cutting workshop and working on a new body of sculptures. (see photo) One day a week my wife is traveling about ½ an hour to Ceska Lipa for a ceramics workshop where she is taking advantage of an opportunity to make some new small sculpture as well. Then once a week I am working at a small glass factory in Novy Bor called Ajeto. They make mostly reproduction gothic style, forest glass there so the scale which I am working is small and more utilitarian. It is nice though, because I have the chance to learn some new styles of blowing glass such as Czech style mold blowing.
We went to Germany in November to see Meisen Porcelain factory and then later that day went to Dresden. This trip to Meisen was interesting but they really “glazed” over the information about their products and processes. I can’t say much about Dresden because my son ended up being a little sick and decided to take a nap during the stay there.
I guess the last thing of significance was our stay in Prague for the holiday break. My wife’s parents came and we had a very special Christmas in Prague. Then we spent New Years with the other Fulbrighters in Prague. The only drawback was I ended up being sick for about two weeks.