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Wesley Fleming: Flameworking the Realism of the Microcosmos

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Release Date: 02/02/2024

Jonathan Capps’ Global Practice of Interdisciplinary Collaboration, Social Engagement, and Cultural Exchange show art Jonathan Capps’ Global Practice of Interdisciplinary Collaboration, Social Engagement, and Cultural Exchange

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

The inspiration for Jonathan Capp’s art comes from the experiences that shape his life. Whether hiking the Appalachian Trail, coaching Little League Baseball, becoming an archaeological illustrator halfway around the world, or competing on Blown Away, he channels those experiences into ideas and fully embraces life as a part of his art. Capps states: “I welcome new ideas and innovations in the studio, bringing fun, energy, and an inspiring enthusiasm into the hot shop.” Raised in Knoxville, TN, Capps spent much of his youth outdoors, camping, hiking, and playing baseball. After...

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Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Early in his career, Paul Stankard used to trade paperweights for gasoline and car servicing with John Graeber. In 1989, through his uncle John, David Graeber wound up casually visiting Stankard’s studio and weeks later was invited to come and work with him. Young Graeber started learning about glass in the deep end of the pool. Thirty-five  years later, he continues to work with Stankard about a day a week.  Having mastered numerous glassmaking techniques and having developed his own working style and visual aesthetic, in 2009 Graeber started his own art glass...

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Talking Out Your Glass podcast

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Clifford Rainey: A Life's Travelogue in Cast Glass show art Clifford Rainey: A Life's Travelogue in Cast Glass

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Principally a sculptor who employs cast glass and drawing as primary methodologies, Clifford Rainey creates work that is interdisciplinary, incorporating a wide spectrum of materials and processes. A passionate traveler, his work is full of references to the things he has seen and experienced. Celtic mythologies, classical Greek architecture, the blue of the Turkish Aegean, globalization and the iconic American Coca-Cola bottle, the red of the African earth, and the human figure combine with cultural diversity to provide sculptural imagery charged with emotion.  A British artist...

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Talking Out Your Glass podcast

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Talking Out Your Glass podcast

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Talking Out Your Glass podcast

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Talking Out Your Glass podcast

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Wesley Fleming: Flameworking the Realism of the Microcosmos show art Wesley Fleming: Flameworking the Realism of the Microcosmos

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Wesley Fleming brings the fantastic realism of the microcosmos to life in glass. An ambassador for smaller denizens of the earth, his passion for nature sparks awe and curiosity in others. Growing up in the countryside, his favorite pastime was exploring beneath logs and rocks in the woods or reading science fiction and comic books. Hence the natural world and his own imagination became his muse. Says Fleming: “I hope to rekindle awe and curiosity for nature with my fantastic realism. I’ve focused more than two decades honing my flameworking skills and trying to capture the essence of...

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Robin and Julia Rogers: A Collaboration Resulting in Provocative Glass Sculpture show art Robin and Julia Rogers: A Collaboration Resulting in Provocative Glass Sculpture

Talking Out Your Glass podcast

Physically and metaphorically Robin and Julia Rogers put their minds, hearts and hands together to create sculptural works in glass – their chosen material because of its inherent qualities of luminosity, viscosity, and seductive flow. Their inspiration is drawn from the natural world, personal experience, family life, music, psychology, and science. Robin and Julia state: “Complex and mystifying, the human mind drives us, but the subtle inner workings remain, to certain extent, unknown. Delving into the psyche, our work explores the human mind to reveal a metaphorical interior of...

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Wesley Fleming brings the fantastic realism of the microcosmos to life in glass. An ambassador for smaller denizens of the earth, his passion for nature sparks awe and curiosity in others. Growing up in the countryside, his favorite pastime was exploring beneath logs and rocks in the woods or reading science fiction and comic books. Hence the natural world and his own imagination became his muse.

Says Fleming: “I hope to rekindle awe and curiosity for nature with my fantastic realism. I’ve focused more than two decades honing my flameworking skills and trying to capture the essence of actual species with intricate detail of tiny stamen or antennae. Today, I conjure plants, animals and mystical beings by merging the fantastical with the real through choice of color palette and referencing familiar archetypes. Regardless of the end result, I love the alchemical potential of sculpting glass – a brittle and cold substance transformed by fire into a pliable and molten material.”

In 2001, Fleming began working with glass, learning via apprenticeship under the tutelage of Italian maestros Vittorio Costantini and Lucio Bubacco in Venice, Italy. He subsequently gained valuable experience working for Josh Simpson and the MIT Glass Lab. His work has been included in numerous publications, exhibited around the United States and included in the permanent collections of the Corning Museum of Glass, Kobe Lampwork Museum, Tacoma Museum of Glass and Racine Art Museum.

Recently, Fleming was commissioned by Wes Anderson to make glass flowers, which were animated by a studio in London for his 2023 movie Asteroid City. Along with his wife, Rebecca, the artist demonstrated his techniques at Denizli Glass Bienali in Denizli, Turkey, where she played her composed pieces on the cello while Fleming worked at the torch. In March 2020, his first solo museum exhibit was scheduled to open at Brattleboro Museum and Art Center in Brattleboro, Vermont. Sadly, opening day the museum was cancelled due to the Covid pandemic.

Says Fleming: “Insects have been my main focus for many years, but recently I have been very inspired by the Blaschka Glass Flowers at Harvard and have been working on developing my plants and flowers. This was what was so exciting for me about the Brattleboro exhibit – that I was given trust and free rein to make my new passion and to focus on local wildflowers, which I see on the regular hikes I do around my home.”

In 2024, Fleming will co-teach “Bugs, Figures, Plants, & Beyond” with Emilio Santini at Penland School of Crafts, April 28 – May 3. He will also co-teach “Collaborative Soft Glass Sculpture” with Michael Mangiafico at Touchstone Center for Crafts, August 5 -9 .