Pilchuck Seattle – Workshop

Pilchuck Glass School Casting shop.

Resin Bonded Sand Casting workshop taught by Jacqueline Spiro.

There was much anticipation for me about this workshop. I was nervous and had a thousand and one questions. Once I got there, I surrendered to the process. I worked and gave my very best for 3 weeks! It was exhausting and exhilarating. The weather was crisp and cold, perfect for being immersed in the hot shop.

Much of the time was spent with each of us students creating our individual molds.  Once our molds were complete, we all participated in creating a team that would then help each other ladle hot glass into our molds.  The themes I chose were very different to everybody else. I had just come back from Indonesia and I was very inspired by the culture, so Ganesha (the Elephant-headed God), the Buddha, and the Flower of Life were the designs I chose to work with.

My wife, who usually takes pictures of my art process was not present, therefore I asked some other students to use my pocket camera to capture some of the moments. I was glad to see they captured at least some of the pieces in process, still glowing with the essential heat from the furnace.


Below is the Flower of Life design, that I had fun with for hours, carving into the sand by hand, and using an architect’s compass to lay out the pattern.  This sacred geometry symbol has been found on ancient sites throughout the world.  The geometry involved represents fundamentals of space and time.  This image was found on granite columns in Egypt, thought to be 6,000 years old.

Flower of Life sculpture


Here we are working together on each others pieces, and Dale Chihuly paid a visit to us while working in the shop.


Below is a documentation of a very unorthodox combination of processes that involved a wide variety of techniques and assistants.  Here I used a face that I sculpted back home to the likeness of the Hawaiian Goddess Pele. I cast her into the sand mold while using blue foam to simulate lava cracking open to reveal her face erupting from the earth.


The first ladle of glass was just her face.  I then added a roundel of red blown glass, to add color to just her, and dropped it in between ladles of glass.  From there Dylan broke her out of the mold as I picked her up on the end of a punty rod.  We then powdered on the black color to the surface of the lava surrounding her face and fused it in using the glory hole.  She turned out magnificent in all of her glowing glory, and we had a fun experience re-creating her, as we all came together and played as a creative team.

pele process

Pele – the Hawaiian Goddess of the volcano