On the third Friday of each month, Third Degree Glass Factory treats the public to an evening of music and art in midtown. Owners Jim McKelvey and Doug Auer have upscaled an old factory into a showplace for contemporary glass artwork. The main focus is on hot glass. Glass blowing demonstrations are given throughout the evening. Molten blobs of glowing glass are casually moved about the work area. It scares me. I can't look but it is fascinating if you do. My interest last Friday was to see the kiln formed work of Lisa Becker.
Her studio, Art Glass Array, is in the Crossroads Art Center in St. Charles. She offers classes on warm glass. I took one last month and really enjoyed it which surprised me because I am not that crazy about glass art. A bit too flashy for me. Her friendly smile and kind lies (telling us how good we were doing) did not mask the genuine nature of her interest. She started in glass doing art glass for architecture. From the honest creativity expressed in her work, I don't think she has been corrupted by the meddling influences of advanced coursework. I may be wrong here.
The titles of these pieces, The Bride, (white) The Groom, reminds us her thoughts are with the concept of family. Understandable, for as my buddies at the mill would say, "She's got a bun in the oven". To use something as abstract as glass and come across with a solid concept is a pretty good trick. The lace of a veil, the flow for the train and moment of joy. The Groom, dark and stately with strong line. Together in a similar form of unison. The work is displayed precariously on pedestals about the room.
On one side a bluegrass band plays. The music for these evens has always been distinctive. Well worth ones attention. The Third Degree Factory also has classes for warm glass. They offer lamp working lessons and even allow guests to take a short class on it during the evening. This involves beadmaking with glass over small blow torches. Scary stuff too but not quite so bad. They have been having these open studio events almost since opening. Back then there were just a few people milling around. It has become more and more popular and the place is always packed.
"Wall Waves" James McKelvey