Laura Donefer and Jeff Mack at The Studio: September 2012 Collaborative Residency

Each year, The Studio invites selected instructors who have taught intensive courses during winter or summer class sessions over the past five years to apply for the Instructor Collaborative Residency, a seven- to ten-day residency held in September. The chosen artists have access to The Studio facilities to create a collaborative body of work with one or two other glassmakers of their choice. This September, The Studio hosted Laura Donefer, a Canadian artist and travelling instructor who teaches regularly at Pilchuck Glass School, Penland School of Crafts, and The Studio, and Jeff Mack, studio manager at the Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion who also teaches courses at The Studio.

Laura Donefer and Jeff Mack at The Studio in Corning

Laura Donefer and Jeff Mack

“The only artist I wanted to work with was Jeff,” Laura says. The pair was eager to continue a collaboration born in 2010. That year, Jeff and Laura began making experimental pieces together during Laura’s residency at the Glass Pavilion. This year, the artists and their four assistants used ten days in The Studio to refine the work made in Toledo, which they describe as “classically creative contained chaos.”

Laura Donefer and Jeff Mack working with hot glass at Corning

Jeff Mack and Laura Donefer at work in The Studio’s hot shop.

The pieces are “a marriage of our styles and skills,” said the pair, combining Jeff’s skill in executing classical techniques with Laura’s eye for color and texture to create medium- and large-scale traditional vessel forms that seemingly float within textured clear glass on the perimeter of the vessel. This surface is made by adding a large bit of glass to the exterior wall of the vessel and pressing designs into the hot glass with special tools, like gears, springs, and stamps, a technique Laura calls “bizzling.”

Jeff Mack and Laura Donefer's hot glass piece is warmed at the furnace in Corning

Special tools like gears, springs, and stamps create what Laura calls “bizzling.”

The artists credit The Studio for “making life easier” over the ten days they spent working and experimenting with glass. On top of having access to The Studio’s tools, colors were mixed in the hot shop’s color pot furnace, and many other colors were ordered especially for the residency. Not only were the artists-in-residence given the time, facilities, and materials to complete their work, but they were also provided with food, transportation, and room and board during their stay. Without much to worry about other than their work, Jeff and Laura were able to maintain their go-with-the-flow attitude as they developed their work.

The Instructor Collaborative Residency serves as a thank you to instructors for being a part of The Studio community, according to Studio director Amy Schwartz. In addition to this program, The Studio aims to be an advocate for glass artists by providing classes, scholarships, and month-long residency programs, which host one or two individual artists in March, April, May, October, and November of every year.

Interested in a residency at The Studio? The deadline for proposals is October 31, 2012. Visit for more information.


  1. […] pair has just recently worked together in an Instructor Residency at The Studio, and they are without a doubt quite a dynamic duo. For our Hot Glass Roadshow demo, Jeff blew a […]