With the assistance of a scholarship awarded to her by the Association of Israel’s Decorative Arts (AIDA), Lisbeth Biger made the trip to Corning from Israel this summer to study pâte de verre with Shin-ichi and Kimiake Higuchi.
AIDA was founded in 2003 by the late Andy Bronfman, her husband Charles, and Dale and Doug Anderson. AIDA’s mission is to foster the development of contemporary decorative artists from Israel—including artists working in glass—by connecting them to galleries, collectors, institutions, and other artists internationally. AIDA began working with The Studio to support scholarships in 2007, and sends many students to Corning every summer through this partnership.
Lisbeth, an instructor at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, is taking the Higuchi’s pâte de verre class in order to enhance her skill, and learn from masters in the technique. Over years of teaching, The Higuchis have prepared over 1,000 samples to demonstrate the uses of color and taught many tricks that Lisbeth can incorporate into her work at her advanced experience level. Of the Higuchis, Lisbeth asserts, “Nobody is better in the world.”
Lisbeth’s focus in this class was to learn about color gradients, and how to create molds with a high quality plaster. The final goal of the class is to complete a container with a lid. Because it is a time-consuming process, the pâte de verreclass is a two week session. Students made colored powders and plaster molds, fired the glass in the kiln, and broke the glass free from the molds. The final steps include coldworking the glass to remove excess created by the molds, and then grind and polish to finish the piece.
Inspired by the beauty in everyday objects that “we meet so often we don’t see it anymore,” Lisbeth uses gentle colors and often incorporates recycled glass to make her artwork. Though she started as a ceramicist, she says there is something magic about glass, a material that is unpredictable and has its “own life.”
The Studio stays open to students until 11 p.m., and many take advantage of the long days, enjoying extra time to work and to socialize. Lizbeth found that talking with fellow artists who work in glass to be as invaluable as the education she received in her two weeks at The Studio.
The AIDA scholarship has enabled Lisbeth to take time off from her busy life to “think glass for two weeks straight,” and concentrate on learning. Upon her return to Israel, she looks forward to using her expanded skill set to teach the next generation of Israeli glass artists.
Learn more about scholarships at The Studio.