Glass fusing is a deceptively simple name for this incredible class. For one, there are various types of fusing that you will learn in this class, and you will learn more about glass than you thought possible. As with any art-form your own creativity is the limit. Glass is exciting in that there is no perfection in the process. Yes, once you’re piece is being fired a lot of precision is required, but the result is always serendipitous.
It’s hard to put this experience into words, but if anything should make you want to take this class it should be the instructor’s enthusiasm. LeJean Easley, or just LeJean to the class, although a fairly new to the glass artist herself, has an answer for everything. Not only an answer, but she has an example for any questions you may have, be it her own work or student works she’s collected over time.
If you ask the students what the most challenging part of the class is you won’t get the same answer twice. Even if an issue arose during the creation process (like the only remaining kiln breaking), you’re in good hands with LeJean.
LeJean’s passion and knowledge of glass fusing is infectious, while you can take the one-day “Fear of Commitment: Fusing” class, I recommend everyone take the 5 week course because your mind will run away with itself and you’ll want to keep creating.
Please check back at the end of the semester for an update on the class’ projects!
Dobrila Pintar, faculty member in Lillstreet’s Metals and Glass departments and founder of 11:11 Jewelry, is another in a long line of artists here at Lillstreet whose story seems to be more about serendipity than anything else.
She discovered glass six years ago. “I took a painting class at Lillstreet and was fascinated by the melting glass upstairs, like a kid in a candy store, you know?” she says, laughing. “The very next session, I signed up for the class, and three years ago I was awarded for best artist-in-residence. Since then I’m teaching here, and last month I was Chicago Artist of the Month. Now that isn’t really related to Lillstreet, but I LOVE this place. It’s just like a second home to me.”
It’s not hard to imagine she’s an award winner.
When asked if it was hard to learn how to teach during her residency, she immediately says no. “Teachers, some they can communicate easily, some it is harder; I just wanted to learn more. I tell my students to take more classes.” And she is taking her own advice, mentioning a trip to Italy this year to learn from Italian bead-making masters
She’s adamant that practice and dedication to the craft are essential to improving. “The long hours! People say when they see my work, ‘Oh, only six years?’ ‘You know,’ I say, ‘I worked probably more than someone who has worked 20 years.’”
Dobrila is funny. She tells people what she thinks. She’s proud of her work and doesn’t lie about what it takes to become a better artist. But she’s never proud—she says, “I don’t keep secrets,” when asked how it feels to have a rather impressive list of shows under her belt. “I spend a lot of time talking to people how I do my work. I make every bead, what you see here.” She talks about how important it is to see her make the beads, addressing the fact-of-the-matter rather than the question, the pragmatic rather than the obvious. It’s a bit of a whirlwind! But she takes you where you need to go.
“I always tell people, I have a lot of ideas, not enough time.”