Monday, April 9, 2012

Hot Glass Series #1: Zen Glass Tenth Anniversary Party

Zen Glass logo

 St. Petersburg is blessed with fine glass studios, like Zen Glass. 2012 marks the fiftieth anniversary of Studio Glass in the United States, and, the tenth for Zen Glass. To celebrate, founders Josh Poll and Dave Walker held a masquerade party at the studios.

Zen Glass Workstations

The Zen Glass Studios are in a spacious industrial building in the Warehouse Arts District (WAD) at 600 27th St South, St Petersburg. There's two galleries, a large area where they set up the stage, bar and spectators could stand and listen to music, comedy and more. On the other side are several work stations with torches and a kiln or two. It's an organized, clean space geared up for creative production.

ZGS gallery shelf

This setting, combined with talent, discipline and experience of the artists at ZGS results in a wide variety of fine glasswork. Everything from small glass bits to large, complex wall pieces and everything in between can be found in the galleries. On the right is a photo of one of the shelves with smaller works. People walking around the galleries moved in slow motion. Glass is a captivating, hypnotic medium.There are scores of beautiful things there, too many to go into here in any detail, but here are a few highlights...

Zen Glass

Zen Glass
On the left, an outstanding set of glass pieces with freeform green lines through it. On the right, a grid-patterned lamp, its folds giving it a graceful, fluid form.

Zen Glass

This exquisite Cherry Blossom Vase combined the basic vase form with delicate botanicals for a strong synergistic effect. Having the blossoms emerging from the stem of the vase unseats the viewers' expectations about vases and flowers.

Work by Joe Grezaffi

From the East Coast, Joe Grezaffi and Son, of Natural Notions Glassworks, brought in a few botanical pieces, including this gorgeous, life-like in a hyperrreal way, bonsai while I was there.

 This small glass heart, about 5"tall including its pedestal, was extraordinary. Titled "Anatomical Heart", made by Kevyn Bartlett, a student at Zen Glass it spoke volumes for its maker's abilities to breathe life into her art, and Zen Glass Studios' classes.

Jun Bustamante

Pedro Jarquin
There was music by songstress Jun Bustamante, who has been reviewed before on these pages, poetry by Pedro Jarquin, and Burlesque by Starshine and Tokyo Belle.

Party-goers had a great time at Zen Glass Studios' enjoying the work, performances, live demos, food and drink. There was a do-it-yourself mask-making workstation, too.

There were live glass blowing demonstrations throughout the evening, showing how it's done.

Congratulations to Zen Glass on their tenth anniversary. I'm sure I can speak for the many attendees in saying thank you for a wonderful evening and a decade of glass art.

--- Luis

Ps. This is the first in an ongoing series on the glass studios and artists in the area.

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