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Headwaters Arts holding final members’ show of season

July 7, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

The View from Here is technically the last Headwaters Arts members’ show this season. Twenty-one artists have a total of 36 works on display.

Susan Powell, media manager for Headwaters Arts commented about the theme, “What artists are creating is a tremendous onslaught of paintings and sculptures. It’s nice to see their interpretations… This theme is just saying the view from here is how we interpret what we see differently.” 

Several new members are showing for the first time. The show opened yesterday, July 6 and the opening reception is this Saturday, July 9 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

“With some gathering under the tent” as Ms. Powell remarked.

One point of view comes from Mono artist, Mina Zare who offers Mount Everest in the Himalayans as an inspiration. She considers in her notes that “thinking of the highest summit is [like] coping [with] the hardest situation in life.”

Glass craft artist, Katheryn Thomson joined the Citizen to talk about her life in the arts and began by telling us that she has been working at Glass Craft on Broadway “for about 36 years,” but she did not learn her skills there.

“I came fully trained,” she commented.

Sheridan College was Ms. Thomson’s entrée into learning about stained glass and sculpture. Once she was finished her first courses at Sheridan, she thought about continuing in stained glass. She wanted to go back but the hot glass course was enticing.

“I was doing sandblasting on glass, all part of Sheridan; I was doing something different,” was the attraction. “In those days, we had a lot more galleries in Toronto. People were excited about glass – is it craft or is it art? Has anybody decided yet? If you look at where glass is going today, it’s just incredible.”

She worked at Harbour Front Studio in the late ’70’s, blowing glass as an independent artist. They were three artists and eventually they moved the studio.

“They put in galleries, spruced it up and I was there for four years,” Ms. Powell said.

There followed an opportunity for her to move on to a studio established on the property of Peace Ranch, Caledon, owned by the Patterson family. With Denise Belanger and Stephen Taylor, she went as partner to open a stained-glass artist’s studio, Albion Hill Glass House. 

“We ran that for two years until they went to Australia and that was that,” she related, “I went on to the Glass Studio in Acton.”

Historically, “In those days, I had an apartment on Broadway; in those days it was the beginning of glass in Canada.”

In order to do her glass blowing, Ms. Thomson goes to a studio out of Glen Williams, where she rents time on the one large furnace with cullet in it. She starts with a piece of glass bought from a company that makes glass specifically for this use, mostly from the United States. It is clear glass and is gathered by the artist at the end of the blow pipe; let to cool enough to gather more.

“There’s always something where you’re heating and cooling,” she instructed us. “The possibilities are pretty well limitless – what you can do; anything you can imagine.”

The second glass blowing, the glass is about the consistency of honey when it is built up to the right amount of glass, using metal hand tools and blocks of wet newspapers to handle it.

Colour bars are one inch rods of very intense coloured glass, much of which comes from Europe. The artist uses the amount of colour they want for whatever they are designing.

Developing her skills, Ms. Thomson took courses on glass painting at a school in Seattle. She had the opportunity to take a course with the famous German glass artist, Erwin Eisch, who invited her, “as he did others” to come to Germany at the family run glass factory in Frauenau, Bavaria, Germany. Herr Eisch was the co-founder of the “studio glass” movement in Europe.

At the glass factory in Germany, Ms. Thomson worked for two months painting on the glass pieces, all nature and fantasy. There were two little towns and three major glass industries there. Later they set up a glass school.

“It was a very interesting experience,” she assured us.

At a later date, she told the Citizen, she has been to the glass blowing places in Murano, Venice, Italy but “only as a tourist.”

Europeans worked very differently; there were factories for glass production. In America, individuals were on their own and that is where the studios came in.

One of her ambitions has been to work on large scale, on something that’s over a foot or 16 inches. The Czechs are known for their large pieces like Stanislav Libensky, who was such a one. Many of his very big glass pieces are lodged in the Corning Museum in New York.

“In 2016,” Ms. Thomson told us, “We had some friends who took us around to show us his works.”

For 45 years, Katheryn Thomson and Wayne Hawthorn were “in each other’s lives.” Mr. Hawthorn, well known for his involvement in the community and Theatre Orangeville, liked to sculpt pieces of furniture.

“If you’re going to have furniture it might as well be interesting,” was the philosophy. “We met at Sheridan. We built our house [in this area] and we used to open our house for tourists.”

Recently, for the Insights show at Wellington County Museum in Fergus, answering the question of what is confined, she created “The Story of us…Last Chapter.”

This is a glass house made of wired safety glass, sheet glass and glass figures. Within each little box in the house, she wrote down something from Covid.

“I wrote what it meant to me, losing my husband,” she told us. “At the back of the house I cut out trees and there is a little way out. How we can escape confinement. I wrote up the meaning on a card and I watched people stop and read it.”

The pieces Ms. Thomson has placed in The View from Here show at Headwaters Arts are whimsical, just because they are sand blasted. She made roundels and sand-blasted a mermaid on one and fish on the others. One piece is called Heaven Sent, in which she cut out the centre and installed a jewel, a faceted piece of glass.

“I’ve always seen this art as a gift. Ideas just come to me and I like to present fanciful pieces. I like pretty things, that’s a good way to describe my bowls and vases,” she said.

For those aspiring to learn about glass art, Katheryn Thomson suggests there are plenty of places to take lessons. Just jump in and get started but remember, sometimes the piece you’re working on might end up on the floor or have a little crack.

“Then you just start again,” she said.

For all the information about The View from Here, go to www.headwatersarts.org



         


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