Two Jackson, WY, artists — Neal Zeren (also a CTA architect) and Grace Davis — were recently chosen to collaborate on “The Studio Project.” In partnership with the National Museum of Wildlife Art and the Art Association of Jackson Hole, the program was designed to engage local high school students in art exploration within a studio environment. Tasked with developing a collaborative project with individual components, Zeren designed an installation which would exhibit both. His expertise in glass fusion and slumping, paired with Davis’s expertise in printmaking, led the students through an exciting exploration of glass techniques and their own artistic potential.
The final project was comprised of (96) 5″x5″ fused glass tiles slumped into a radius and (12) 6″x17″ fused glass panels. Each student was shown four techniques: fragment, frit painting, printing with glass powder, and aperture. With these techniques, the young artists were allowed to explore their individualism. Each student was tasked with experimenting by creating three tiles using each of the four techniques. Finally, they were challenged to create a single piece using a favorite technique on a larger panel. The tiles and panels were then curated and installed at the Art Association gallery in a visually dynamic installation. The delicate weaving of the seemingly light glass, hung from an overbearing wood beam, created an aesthetic juxtaposition in materiality and balance.
“It was truly inspiring to see the students’ individualism and creativity shine through while working within a rigid set of requirements,” Zeren said. “As with any art or design challenge, there are always constraints to be understood and dealt with. I definitely learned a lot from the students!”
Main image courtesy of Ryan Dorgan / Jackson Hole News&Guide: Neal Zeren works with Journeys School freshman Lia Kluegel on frit processes, in which students crush colored glass into a fine, dust-like consistency. Working with frit allows much finer detail in the students’ designs, as opposed to being limited by cut, geometric glass shapes.