Glass Mardi Gras Dragon Float

New Orleans Hot-Glass Sculpting Workshop

Happy 2020! Hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable New Year. Things are back in full swing here at epiphany. We’re keeping warm and working hard making some amazing new ideas in glass. January is the time of year we love being in the studio. Snow on the ground but it’s warm and full of creativity inside. We held our first workshops of the year and have a lot going on in 2020, soon we’ll fill you in on everything we have planned, but first we wanted to share a unique experience April had in New Orleans early this month.

Hot Glass Sculpting Workshop

From January 6 – 10, April attended a Hot Glass Sculpting workshop taught by Karen Willenbrink-Johnsen & Jasen Johnsen. This class was held at the YAYA Art Center in New Orleans. This workshop focused on hot-sculpting techniques. Participants experimented with sculpting, surface textures, color applications, and assembly of components, among other techniques.

Karen Willenbrink-Johnsen is a highly influential glassblower that has opened the door for female artists in a field dominated by men. April is an admirer of Karen’s glass art, complex use of color theory, and her role as a forerunner in the glass community. All of these factors made it a no brainer for April to enroll in Karen’s course. This was actually April’s first glassblowing class since she graduated from CCS!

So, What Was the Workshop Like?
Karen making a flower
Karen and Jasen working
Karen making a bird

The workshop was split into demonstrations by Karen and Jasen and student working time. April loved Karen and Jasen’s fun attitude as well as the married couple’s amazing rapport when working together in the studio. The work they created together illustrates the talent of this couple not only as artists, but as technicians and craftsmen. Some examples of their work are shown above.

The class was made up of a small group of artists with varying degrees of experience ranging from 2-25+ years. Working with people from various backgrounds that use different techniques presented interesting challenges and opportunities to learn. Together the glassblowing teams did a lot of fun problem solving on the fly and came up with interesting and unique results.

April with Maurice and Andrew
Glass Mardi Gras Dragon Float
Glass Mardi Gras Dragon Float

April and glass artists, Andrew Mahffie (Instagram) and Maurice Alvarado (Instagram) worked together all week. On the last day of class this team and another artist, Jaira Avila (Instagram), used cane to draw the details on the side of the Mardi Gras float that Karen and Jasen made. This was a new technique for April and something she was really excited to try out. In addition to this new technique, April worked with a garage. A garage is a spot that allows the artist to “park” their glass and keep it warm to be used later. This is great for detailed pieces like the ones they worked on in this workshop.

What was New Orleans Like?

April had an amazing time in New Orleans! She was there during the start of Carnival so a lot of exciting stuff was going on.

Here are some of the highlights!
     *Watching the Joan of Arc Parade
     *Dinner at Brennan’s – home of the Bananas Foster
     *Dead Sexy Cemetery Tour lead by Two Walking Chicks
     *Staying at the Hotel Monteleone in the Quarter
     *Eating Po’boys, Muffuletta and Gumbo
     *Enjoying amazing Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine

This was a great way to start 2020. A new experience for April – she really enjoyed the workshop, meeting new glass artists and the magic of New Orleans! We’ll soon be posting about what we have coming up this year, so stay tuned for our next blog post.

Big thanks to Maurice Alvarado for all the great photos we used in this post. 

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