In 1990 I took a lampworking class (heating and manipulating glass rods over a torch) at Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington and was immediately smitten with glass and the school.
The next summer I put everything in the back of my pick-up truck and moved to Washington to be part of Pilchuck. I had received a scholarship for a glass casting class, was a TA for the lampworking class and worked on the Maintenance Crew. Fell in love with a glassblower while there and for the next five years after that I worked on summer staff at Pilchuck as the Librarian/Audio-Visual Coordinator (aka the Library Personality).
The school is only open from May – September. One of the perks of being on staff – besides getting to spend your summer at an incredible place – is you get access to all the shops (hot/casting/kiln) on campus, which is fantastic. Plus you meet AMAZING PEOPLES from all over the world that come to the school to learn and share. I have met life-long friends via the school and just for that, besides all I learned about glass, I will always cherish Pilchuck!
A few summers ago I went back to Pilchuck and worked for 5 weeks in my old job as the “Librarian/Audio-Visual Coordinator”. It was delightful to be able to spend so much time there again! I had a wonderful adventure and was able to cast in glass some work I had been wanting to do: a series of glass drawings I made in response to a song that I love, “Flowering Spade” by Sean Hayes.*
The video on the HOME page (and below) has images of me in the casting shop making the work and also shots of “life on campus”. At the end of every session there is an auction in the lodge that raises money for the school. We pick a theme and get dressed up and have a big party and raise money for the school – just in case you are wondering about the Boy Scouts, Pink Panther, foliage encrusted artists and that octopus, those are pictures from the auction party while I was there.
I hope the video gives you a glimpse of what Pilchuck Glass School is about and why so many of us alumni are devoted to Pilchuck, now and forever!
* Neither Sean Hayes or his management company, Rare Artists, is affiliated with the making of this video and has nothing whatsoever to do with the content of this video. This is purely a creation of Ritama and Sean was very generous in allowing his song to be used on it.