We spent a weekend recently in Asheville, North Carolina, one of my favorite southeastern towns. It’s got everything I’m looking for: mountains, trout fishing minutes away, dozens of fine restaurants, casual bars and brewpubs, and a vibrant art and creativity scene, with lots of art galleries. And the Diana Wortham theatre has a celtic concert series, which was our reason for visiting, to see the celtic band Solas. The concert was great: fiddler Winnie Horan (my favorite celtic fiddler) had broken her collarbone about 10 days before, but it hardly slowed her down. She plays with blazing speed, and the heart and soul of a gypsy.
On this trip we spent some time in Blue Spiral 1, a large gallery on Biltmore Avenue. They carry a number of significant glass artists, including Rick and Valerie Beck, Alex Gabrial Bernstein, Thor and Jennifer Bueno, Shane Fero, Jan Kransberger, Robert Levin, John Littleton and Kate Vogel, and Kenny Pieper. I admire their vision and mastery of technique, and their work is an inspiration to me, but for the first time I felt viscerally intimidated by the gallery scene. The difference was viewing the work from the point of view of a creator, instead of just an observer. I was thinking about their technique, about how they might have achieved the affects they did, and how I’d like someday to have a body of work that might be carried by a gallery like that one, and it really shook me. It takes an enormous amount of confidence to go into the rarified environment of a fine gallery and say “I made something you should carry”. I can tell just from my interactions with small shop owners that I’ve got a long way to go before I’m comfortable doing that. I hope I’m not going to let it stop me, but I’m going to be uncomfortable.
I’m still working on bezel mounted pieces, but in the meantime here are a few photos and links to the glass artists carried by Blue Spiral1. Visit this gallery if you’re ever in Asheville, they have an impressive collection.
Alex Gabrial Bernstein