Kristina Logan, an artist internationally recognized for her precisely patterned and delicate glass beads, is taking part in a month-long residency at The Studio this October, exploring new ways of working with glass. Inspired by the decorated surfaces of reliquaries from the 16th century, the stems of goblets from the 17th century and the bronze armatures in Louis Comfort Tiffany’s work, Kristina will focus her residency on glass vessels and containers. She will encrust cast pâte de verre forms with flameworked beads and added bronze and silver elements to explore pairing diverse elements together in one object.
I recently spoke with Kristina about her process, seeing her beads in Life on a String, and what’s next for her work.
Tell me about what you’re working on during your residency here at The Studio.
I’m a flameworker, so normally at home I work on a torch. But here, I’m taking advantage of The Studio and the whole facility in order to do pâte de verre or cast glass. I’m working with plaster, wax and clay and will be using the kilns which are larger than I have at home. Then, when the work comes out of the kiln, I will do a lot of surface work—cold working and engraving on the surface of the pâte de verre—so there’s yet another step that will be in the cold shop.
And you’ll be adding different elements to the cast glass?
The end result is going to be making beads, larger scale beads, and incorporating them with the pâte de verre and the vessels that I make here and then also incorporating bronze and silver in order to connect them.
How did you start planning for this Residency?
It was very exciting. I remember hearing that I was accepted into the Residency in December of last year. For me it felt like “On your mark, get set, go!” from last December. I wanted to enter the Residency in midstream, I didn’t want to get here and start my thinking. At home in the studio, I started working with a potter to try to get shapes together. I did a lot of drawings, I made a lot of models, and I did a lot of tests. I learned engraving techniques in Murano in preparation to coming here. I’ve invested in a glass lathe that will be shipped home to me in November. I’m going to use the lathes here in order to get the work going so that when I get home I can continue the work. I did a lot of preparation—I did my homework!
That’s great. I know you’ve been to Corning multiple times before but tell me about what it’s like to be here as an Artist-in-Residence.
It’s interesting because I’ve come here so many times before to teach. And there’s always been a very rigorous agenda. You know, I’ve had to provide for my students, I’ve had to teach, there’s always a schedule, there’s always things to do every minute of the day. Coming here as a resident, it was great because I showed up and the technician said, “well there’s your room, there are your supplies” and then I was just free to work. It was just a really good feeling that I can work like I work at home—independently—but I’m here at this facility that has so much more than what I have at home. I like it because it’s really incredibly self-directed and I’m getting a lot done.
Have you had a chance to see the Life on a String exhibition?
I have seen the exhibition. I’m thrilled that that exhibit is here at the museum because I am so connected to the world of glass beads. When I went through and saw the timeline, I disconnected my association with glass beads and tried to just look and take it all in. And when I got to the end of the timeline there was my bead. It was just like, “Oh that’s my work.” I was really flattered. I felt proud. I felt proud to be representing the modern glass bead movement in that exhibition.
It was really beautiful. The thing that came across the most for me was seeing how glass beads have been through all the continents in the world. And I like that cohesive quality of bringing all cultures together through this tiny object.
What’s next for you?
This is a really big next step—being here—and then bringing all these pieces home. What I’m going to be bringing back to my studio are all the elements that I’ve created here and then fitting them together with the metal work and the flameworking. For me it’s going home, putting these elements together and then thinking about the next objects.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Be careful what you dream for. I feel like all of a sudden I have something I’ve worked very hard for. And now that I’m on that plateau, I’m absorbing it and doing it, but I have to think of the next thing—what is the next step. I’m in the moment right now with feeling what this is like because I’ve worked very hard to get here. Now, I need to see these actual objects come to life and become finished pieces before I can kind of think of the next step. These objects incorporated with beads. You know it’s always the bead element that puts it all together. I feel excited about it.
See Life on a String: 35 Centuries of the Glass Bead through January 5, 2014.
Learn more about artist Residencies at The Studio.