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Kim Thomas aka Zii Glass

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Release Date: 07/15/2021

Between Us: John Littleton and Kate Vogel’s Contributions to Glass show art Between Us: John Littleton and Kate Vogel’s Contributions to Glass

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Well-known early on for their signature blown glass Bags, the subsequent cast glass work of John Littleton and Kate Vogel provided a new outlet for complex contemplations, questions and reflections. In this dramatic departure from their lighthearted Bags, faces and hands are used in various poses and combinations to explore states of mind, relationships, and even spiritual themes.

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Robin Grebe show art Robin Grebe

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Inspired by Cycladic fertility icons, early Byzantine paintings, and folk art, Robin Grebe’s figures serve as a canvas or setting for her narratives. Using birds and plants as metaphors for mythic flight, spirituality, the intangible, and nature’s uncontrollable forces, Grebe transforms her personal search into a shared exploration.

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Joshua Opdenaker aka JOP! show art Joshua Opdenaker aka JOP!

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

The first in Philly’s Fishtown area to make a name for himself in the field, today there are at least five glass studios and 18 glassblowers on Opdenaker’s street alone. From group builds such as those of the Molten Art Classic to individual skill-building works such as goblets, JOP! glass’ pioneering spirit continues evolving with the scene.

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Sylvia Nicolas show art Sylvia Nicolas

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

One of the leading ecclesiastical artists in the United States, Sylvia Nicolas is a member of an illustrious and prolific stained glass family. She is the fourth of five generations specializing in the liturgical arts and the daughter of Joep and Suzanne Nicolas, both famous artists who immigrated from the Netherlands to the U.S. in 1939 to escape the rising tide of Nazism. Joep Nicolas was sometimes referred to as “the Father of Modern Stained Glass.”

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Crista Van Slyck-Matteson show art Crista Van Slyck-Matteson

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Crista Van Slyck-Matteson’s multi-media art speaks of her love for wild spaces and deep connection to the Pacific Northwest. An accomplished sculptor, she allows her finely-honed intuition to guide spontaneous sculpting of natural world observations. Matteson’s work also utilizes technical mold-making skills to create exact replicas of found botanical forms. She combines these skills to create magical-realist sculptures.

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Jason McDonald: Investigating Identity, Racism and Representation show art Jason McDonald: Investigating Identity, Racism and Representation

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

In his current work, glassblower Jason McDonald tells important stories about social inequality through his intentionally made, well-crafted objects. His successful interweaving of those two trajectories continues to evolve through life-changing experiences such as his participation on the popular Netflix competition series Blown Away 2 and his recent week-long Murano, Italy, study with Maestro Davide Fuin as the recipient of the Windgate-Lamar Fellowship.

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Scott Ouderkirk: From Autonomous Panels to Wooden Boats show art Scott Ouderkirk: From Autonomous Panels to Wooden Boats

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

In this ToYG interview, Captain Scott Ouderkirk discusses his successful combination of fusing and stained glass in autonomous panels, unique marketing ideas and suggestions for stained glass artists, thoughts on the creative process regardless of genre, and his love of wooden boats and boating.

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Susan Taylor Glasgow show art Susan Taylor Glasgow

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Susan Taylor Glasgow’s work embraces feminine ideals of sensuality in a seductive but unforgiving material, offering conflicting messages of comfort and expectation. Some of her sculpture pays tribute to the era of June Cleaver and Betty Crocker via images appropriated from the world of ‘50s and ‘60s television and advertising.

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Remembering Benjamin Moore show art Remembering Benjamin Moore

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Seattle glass art legend Benjamin Moore died on June 25, 2021. A seminal figure in establishing Seattle as a contemporary glass center, Moore provided his studio and top-notch glassblowing team to make the work of the world’s finest artists and designers.

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Mark Peiser show art Mark Peiser

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Since 1967 when Mark Peiser became involved with the Studio Glass Movement, he has been recognized for his uniquely individualized approaches and accomplishments in glass. Continual investigation of the expressive implications of glass properties and processes has led to his distinctive bodies of work. Recently Peiser published the book, Thirty-Eight Pieces of Glass – with Related Thoughts, pairing his glass with brief writings of resonance.

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Kim Thomas: The Escape and Beyond

A prolific borosilicate flameworker producing highly recognizable works in functional and sculptural glass, Kim Thomas aka Zii is changing the face of flameworking. From detailed and realistic human teeth and severed finger pipes to her latest kinetic sculpture, the artist is redefining what is possible at the torch. From January – April, 2021, recent works The Cloud Capturing Apparatus and The Cloud Riding Contraption were exhibited in Glass in The Expanded Field at the Hunterdon Art Museum, Clinton, New Jersey. 

Thomas also participated in Hunterdon’s companion symposium, Pipe Art: Understudied Glass, which considered the glass pipe as a fluid work of art fundamental to the art history of glass. Celebrated artists Dan Coyle and Luken Sheafe, whose artist name is SALT, presented their intensely wrought, figural, and in the case of Thomas, sometimes kinetic, pipes. Joined by Susie J. Silbert, Curator at the Corning Museum of Glass, these artists further contextualized their work within the burgeoning field of pipe-making. 

Following graduation from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in ceramics, Thomas attended The Make Up Designory and later worked as an assistant to award-winning special effects make-up artist Kevin Haney. In 2009, when she answered an advertisement for a studio apprentice in North Hollywood, California, Thomas discovered her passion for flameworking. With lessons from her studio mates and observation she quickly learned the medium and turned her practice into a career.

Now making work from the Urban Pheasant Glass Studio, Detroit, Michigan, Thomas is a former professor of glass at Salem Community College in New Jersey, and guest instructor at various schools and studios including Penland School of Craft, Snow Farm, and the Pilchuck School of Glass. She has demonstrated her techniques at The International Flameworking Conference and The Glass Art Society Conference, and exhibits her work in museums and galleries across the United States. Her attention to detail and regard for realism have resulted in a highly recognizable aesthetic signature. In a world where the inherent beauty of glass is regularly exploited, Thomas relies on a gritty realism to set her work apart. Few, if any, artists create similar work. 

As Thomas continues to work on The Escape series –  she prepares to teach classes at Penland School of Craft, July 18 – August 2 and Snow Farm from August 8 – 13. Both classes are full with waiting lists. She will also participate in an emerging artist residency at Pilchuck Glass School, October 6 – November 22, 2021. 

Nicknamed after her classic 1978 Camaro Z28, Zii believes the most creative and engaging work is influenced by the things that find their way into your dreams. She says: “It’s easy with pipemaking to get pigeonholed into making one type of piece –- if you’re doing it as a living, you have to please your fans and make things they will buy. As an artist, if you want to grow and develop, and have some sort of message, you can’t just make one thing over and over.”