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  #51  
Old 06-20-2019, 07:43 PM
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I think Paran is still creaking along. The shop I built on Baldwin street and later sold either is or had to move from the space. I don't think there's any other hot glass around other than the UW lab. Scott Simmons may still be working near Verona. Audrey Handler, the dear, is probably too old to fire up the shop anymore... Wes Hunting is an hour north... Yeah. Not a lot going on anymore.

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Old 06-21-2019, 09:40 AM
Shawn Everette Shawn Everette is offline
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That's too bad, get to make it back once in a blue moon. I'd kill for a summer on the Terrace again. While the UW lab was a great place I never got the feeling that Madison could support a working artist.

Last edited by Shawn Everette; 06-21-2019 at 09:53 AM.
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Old 06-21-2019, 09:52 AM
Shawn Everette Shawn Everette is offline
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Art programs really do an awful job of preparing you for the outside world. I was pretty lucky in that the undergrad program I was in made you create a production proposal, had almost mandatory participation for fundraising sales, and the opportunity to do a show for collectors. That was all before the bust, so I'm sure its changed a bit.

We'd apprentice for candy bars, if we were lucky lunch and beer.

Stared making some massive marbled blown pieces around '10, couldn't get rid of them for $80, learned to peddle to the poor in short order. Mine has been a quantity game for some time.
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  #54  
Old 06-21-2019, 01:07 PM
Warren Trefz Warren Trefz is offline
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Worked at Paran back when Mark Lorenzi owned it and Richard just started there as an assistant. Still can recognize some of the style techniques in the work Richard is doing today. Last I heard Mark was living in Hawaii, anyone know for certain? In Wisconsin, Mark lived in an awesome 1930's school house that at one point had bee hives in the basement and still had a large hive in the walls so occasionally there would be a swarm of bees in the windows. Somewhere I have photos of UW shop which then was pretty rough and in need of updating. Too many years ago.
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  #55  
Old 06-21-2019, 03:52 PM
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It's hard but I think it may be necessary to compare it to the various schools of painting that dominated starting in the late 1800's. So many styles and they eventually kept replacing each other as the public became charmed.

Glass had a revelation in 1962 that one person could design and execute and that lasted for some time, not as long as some might think but by 1974, teams were making glass and by 1977, the artist was not necessarily handling the glass at all.

The technique barrage began in the 1980's and the private studios were doing all the innovating that had once been the purvue of the schools. As long as the market supported the endeavor, it grew. That persisted into the year 2000 at least. It really came apart in the big crash in 2008. We were already seeing diminished sales based in volume of glass people alone but that crash really kncked the wind out of the progress. Since then. boro people have been pushing the envelope since they could afford smaller studio set ups.

I would not want to be trying to make a decent living selling glass right now. I can only say "diversify".
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  #56  
Old 06-21-2019, 06:29 PM
Larry Cazes Larry Cazes is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn Everette View Post

I think most other galleries dismiss glass because we generally can't talk the talk, we talk glass. While some entities are willing to take the chance to boost sales and show someone well established, we're still mostly dismissed because they don't care about Italian techniques or how hard it is to make. I see more progress being made artists that are using glass intentionally as sculpture for its color and form in a more narrative sense. The same can be said for fusers, casters, and non traditional stained glass. Good, big, or blue, doesn't seem to cut it at this time.
Is the traditional brick and mortar Gallery model even relevant anymore? Most of the larger collectors I know may attend gallery shows but buy the bulk of their purchases online anyway.
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  #57  
Old 06-21-2019, 06:34 PM
Larry Cazes Larry Cazes is offline
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Since then boro people have been pushing the envelope since they could afford smaller studio set ups.

I would not want to be trying to make a decent living selling glass right now. I can only say "diversify".
Its hard all around right now. Even the best known functional boro torch workers are struggling. The Pot game is changing as big business takes over and will change drastically as the FDA gets involved. Be careful what you ask for......

Torch working can certainly be more economical and sustainable in the long run. About 8 years ago I had the chance to go either way and I decided not to tie myself to a full hotshop. Haven't made a single pumpkin since 2012 when I did production for someone else to get my shop up and running. I haven't regretted it one bit. To each his own.
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  #58  
Old 06-21-2019, 07:25 PM
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Why the FDA?
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  #59  
Old 06-21-2019, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Warren Trefz View Post
Worked at Paran back when Mark Lorenzi owned it and Richard just started there as an assistant. Still can recognize some of the style techniques in the work Richard is doing today. Last I heard Mark was living in Hawaii, anyone know for certain? In Wisconsin, Mark lived in an awesome 1930's school house that at one point had bee hives in the basement and still had a large hive in the walls so occasionally there would be a swarm of bees in the windows. Somewhere I have photos of UW shop which then was pretty rough and in need of updating. Too many years ago.

That's cool.

I worked for Richard as his assistant for 10 years. My first summer involved moving the shop into a new building next door which was an awesome education in plumbing and electrical work. He still calls me in to work the crowd and demo on gallery nights sometimes. I'm better at talking to people in that context than he is and I love it because... free shop time with an audience.

The last I heard Mark is still in Hawaii. I barely got to work with him as he was leaving the business when I started. That old school house was awesome and I'm sure if he'd held it for 10 more years it would have doubled in value.

The UW shop was insanely rough when I did my degree there. They too have moved to a much updated space since I graduated.

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  #60  
Old 06-22-2019, 12:04 PM
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Art programs really do an awful job of preparing you for the outside world.
There's an understatement if I ever heard one.

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It really came apart in the big crash in 2008. We were already seeing diminished sales based in volume of glass people alone but that crash really kncked the wind out of the progress.
I finished grad school at the beginning of 2007. I tagged along with my wife to live in Burkina Faso for nine months starting in November of that year. It was a great experience, but I got to watch things back home start to crumble. Teaching jobs were disappearing along with all the others. Faculty ready for retirement were opting to stay meaning tenure track lines weren't opening up. Couple that with the already established trend of using adjuncts made finding a position for a newly-minted professor impossible. When I got back to the States in the last quarter of '08 I couldn't get a job flipping burgers.

I didn't go to school thinking it would make me a more successful/better artist/glassblower/whatever, I went to grad school to teach (the only practical use for a MFA). I'm now 10+ years out, and my degree is "stale." There's a certain trajectory you have to navigate to be successful in academia. My wife has done it, and her career is going places. She's in the opening stages of curating/mounting a show at the Smithsonian. I can't even afford to pay my student loan bills. About all I can say for myself at this point is I can still dress myself.

Having to rethink all of this shit at 50 really sucks.
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  #61  
Old 06-22-2019, 01:30 PM
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Having to rethink all of this shit at 50 really sucks.
****
I would say enjoy your youth. Eveline started her factory in Shanghai at 51. She knew nothing about glass at all. That may have been a plus.
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  #62  
Old 06-22-2019, 06:44 PM
Shawn Everette Shawn Everette is offline
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I was there in the last of the Steve Feren days, made some pretty big upgrades by then. There wasn't much you could ask for other than a dedicated torch set up, but I made do. They got some major donor backing on the 90's and 00's, made for a comfortable graduate experience. I had 2.5 studios to myself and full run of hot, kiln, cold, and neon; miss those days. Helen Lee heads it now, haven't kept tabs on it since I left, but know it's still trucking along.
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Old 06-22-2019, 07:05 PM
Shawn Everette Shawn Everette is offline
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I finished my undergrad in '07, didn't know what to do other than not be a production guy, so I got a gig as a goldsmith. After about a year it became pretty obvious that I didn't want to spend the end of each day looking like a came out of a coal mine so I ditched that for grad school. Had the exact same premise, I'm here to teach; and as the years unfolded noticed that same tenure cling evolve to adjunct only horror to my dismay. After some application frustration I ended up going the nonprofit route, its own special vow of poverty. After some management reshuffling and tremendous effort that ended up as a pretty good gig.

I can't say as I'd recommend anyone to grad school at this point, especially if you'd have to pay for it. Don't really know to blame the programs or the universities for making this mess, but degrees are hardly what they used to be.

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  #64  
Old 06-22-2019, 07:42 PM
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and there's the sad part of it. "I can' recommend pursing this as a vocation" More or less.

I can't tell my kids to think hard on it. My boy doesn't want to sell off the tools. Bless that, but why? It's certainly true that they will never be replaced. Jeez, I have a white elephant here. All these artifacts.

It's really remarkable to look at.
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Old 06-22-2019, 08:04 PM
Shawn Everette Shawn Everette is offline
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Sad, but true to the largest extent. I can identify people that have the potential, but the reality is this is a pass time, not a livelihood.

Nostalgia is a hell of a drug, but hopefully this thing comes full circle and there is a renaissance once again.

Last edited by Shawn Everette; 06-22-2019 at 08:06 PM.
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  #66  
Old 06-23-2019, 07:33 AM
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The other half of the reality is overpopulation. In the field of glass, there's just too many people to make it work well. So, you might be correct in a sense. If time passes and enough move away from it, there will be a career path, but none I can see now . Not like it was when shows pulled in six figures. God that was fun.
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  #67  
Old 06-23-2019, 02:45 PM
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I like the way you all think. Keep it up and Iíll have the market cornered. Iím down here in sunny Florida blowing glass in the summer because I want to. It has allowed me to achieve my dreams humble but non the less a happy fulfilled life. As long as the people that say it canít be done stay out of the way of the ones doing it anything is possible.

Chase happiness not money.
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  #68  
Old 06-24-2019, 09:12 AM
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I like the way you all think. Keep it up and I’ll have the market cornered. I’m down here in sunny Florida blowing glass in the summer because I want to. It has allowed me to achieve my dreams humble but non the less a happy fulfilled life. As long as the people that say it can’t be done stay out of the way of the ones doing it anything is possible.

Chase happiness not money.
*****
I couldn't agree more about the happiness aspect. Things are easier when the act is well lubed with cash.
In the '80's, you could do two shows a year and have a completely full dance card making your very best work. Five employees was common. I remember a guy named Brian Maytum actually taking over one million in orders for uninspired work at one show. Just remarkable. I would not want to do that. When I had single orders at 75K, they were hard to fill with the quality required.
But the shows changed coming into the new century. Too many shows, too few buyers and the shows got too expensive for everyone. It was ripe for change but it was too many dixi straws in the aquifer. The shows were making money but not a lot of artists were. They struggled
In 1976, the writing was on the wall about teaching. The schools that wanted glass programs all had their dept chairs filled. The push to justify careers for budding artists moved into factories as designers and it was a disaster. None of those big shops could make the things designed and so they didn't. The next step became the private studios and the schools had real reservations about it. The private shops dominated from then on in success and design innovation.
I haven't seen one of the glossy magazine in years but I do remember them being absolutley crammed with galleries selling glass from familiar names out of the private shops. I would wager they're gone at this point. The count on this board has almost 1000 registered members. Lurkers are almost always in excess of 300. That's a lot of people. My attempt to count a number of years back ran in around 9,000. You need a serious business plan to compete with them.

But if you've made it work and you're happy, good for you. It's really not that common.
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Old 06-24-2019, 11:05 AM
Shawn Everette Shawn Everette is offline
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Money and copious amounts of energy are the necessary evils of glass. It's pretty impossible to avoid unless you're one of those trust fund runts.

Don't believe we've said impossible, just not as probable as it once was and now requires a different set of skills. I am hopeful for a turn around, but I'm not going to tell people to turn a blind eye to the economic realities of our environment.
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Old 06-24-2019, 04:13 PM
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It was OK for us up until the time we had two kids. School devours your income and your time. Educating them was what I considered my most important job living in a town with several white flight schools and dismissed public facilities. We went to white flight and by the time Amy was out of High School it was up to 16K per year. That probably sounds cheap now. Her Smith education ran 40K per year in 2004. Bren had a full ride at UNH.

I can't say enough about diversifying. The crucible business makes all the difference these days. Moly components did for some time but now they have 25% tariffs thanks to Crime Boss Donald. I know a number of people now who are building small houses on their land solely for Air BnB and they are booked much of the year. It lets them travel, but again, no kids. I keep suggesting lighting as a line in glass. It's everywhere. Cremation is another creepy solution I've seen work, for pets. Just don't have a lot of debt and only hire when it's critical. All those shops with multiple benches back in 2008 didn't survive.
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Old 06-24-2019, 05:34 PM
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The teaching public route has seemed to be one of the safest bets of late. Last place I was it constituted about 70% of earned revenue. People want to do this and they're willing to open up their pocket books. It's something to keep in mind looking forward to the millennial market and the experience over materialism mentality.

I've done lighting, avoid it if I have to. It's one thing if it's your line, pain in the ass for repair. I recently hocked one of those jobs to a colleague, believe he's on error number 4 right now. Whenever I consider custom work I think of a fair price and triple it.
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Old 06-24-2019, 08:44 PM
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Don't believe we've said impossible, just not as probable as it once was and now requires a different set of skills.
Yep. I never said I was going anywhere. The game's different now.

Many people don't see the value in higher education. I argue that not everyone is an entrepreneur (nor should they be), nor do I argue that anyone can be an autodidact.

If you're not making enough money to meet basic needs happiness is a challenge.

Late-stage capitalism. Every action has an associated dollar value.
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Old 06-25-2019, 09:28 AM
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And good for you for that, unfortunately as many have illustrated on here glass can be a cruel mistress.

I believe that there is value in higher education, but that the arts have been notorious for lacking in that value to cost ratio. Considering that the current generation is looking at a near lifetime of debt to not use their degrees, it's a hard argument to support. I've know instructors to tell a class full of students that only a single one of them would keep doing glass as a livelihood, ultimately they were right.

Fortunately right now I get to teach adults(actual grown ups) how to make glass for the hell of it, not as an attempt to make a living. I can get behind their enthusiasm about their projects, and any subsequent monetary gain on their part is a fringe benefit. While I loved being in academia, the current political and economic climate has made me glad I've moved to the private sector.

On a positive note I've been a fan of the 4th Turning theory, with any luck we'll hit a high point in a couple more years.

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  #74  
Old 06-25-2019, 11:41 AM
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I I keep suggesting lighting as a line in glass. It's everywhere. Cremation is another creepy solution I've seen work, for pets. Just don't have a lot of debt and only hire when it's critical. All those shops with multiple benches back in 2008 didn't survive.
Yes children, back in the day, you could do only 2 shows and be more than filled for the year. <sarc> Stores would put in reserves in Feb for the rest of the year and actually use them! You could sell everything that you made. Now I look at the wholesale shows as an expensive advertising mechanism. It still works for me, but I get only 1/2 of what I used to. I don't have a file full of orders. The way that the business model for the galleries and stores worked has changed since the bottom fell out. You no longer have galleries stocking your work on their shelves. They expect you to have stock for them when they call. That is just not possible with a broad line.
... Diversity is a must! The more arrows in your quiver, the more chances to hit the target
I am still running 3 benches, so I am a dinosaur with a bunch of arrows
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Old 06-25-2019, 12:51 PM
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I recall when I talked to Charlie correll about buying Tom Ash's business making burners when he retired and Charlie did it. He sells a lot of burners and it smooths over the hard places since burners sell to way more than glass shops . We do it with the crucibles and give out advice and evaluate glass systems as a service which High Temp can't fathom and doesn't know how to do. I would think that When Dudley retires, unless Carolyn takes over that, that particular shop would be an excellent one to have.
Tooling to make blowpipes is I suspect a crowded field at this point. Furnace sales seems to be high priced but crowded as well. Color rods and frit have enormous potential especially in the boro field. I'm amazed at what people will pay for seedy colored boro. Making clear cullet would take about a million invested but you could get it back in two years max.

All those people that Shawn talks about, the adults who just want to pollywog around and make things ala Eben's movie are your client. Teaching them useful skills isn't going to cut it. It's that or a career in fast foods.

That whole move regarding the value of the degree was an issue even in 1973. The Madison group at that point had filled all the positions that could be filled. It then went factory as I have said before and didn't work. Then Private shop which went great guns given the demand for fairly priced work and then to the overcrowding we see today. Sky may be doing fine but it's again, not common.
Oh, and own your building.

My mom, years ago said "In a gold Rush, sell shovels". I miss mom.
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