By Mike Hodgson / firstname.lastname@example.org (Interview on 10/9/13)
A couple of retired educators in Arroyo Grande will offer the public a look into the wonders of glass art during the 15th annual Open Studios Art Tour that starts this weekend.
Katherine and Steve Anderson operate Two KaSA Glass Art out of their garage, where they create a wide range of original fused glass artworks — no two ever alike.
After taking a break from participating last year, the couple again will invite the public to view their workspace and creations in the free self-guided two-weekend tour sponsored by ARTS Obispo.
Those who visit the Andersons’ garage studio will get an insight into the wide variety of techniques the couple use, some of which they’ve developed themselves simply through years of experimenting.
“We love talking about glass,” Katherine said as she showed a pair of visitors around their workshop. “We spend a lot of time taking pieces out and talking about them.”
While visitors often stand aloof from the brilliantly colored, often delicate-looking works, the Andersons encourage people to touch them.
“Pick it up, see how heavy it is,” Steve said, hefting a bowl made using sheets of glass fused with a glass powder.
“Take it out in the sun and look at the irid,” he said, referring to the iridescence of a bowl that only flames to full brilliance in the sunlight.
But bowls aren’t the only things the Andersons craft from sheets of glass. Their collection includes jewelry, small boxes, Steve’s signature Hawaiian shirts, and hanging panels with patterns and pictures.
“Quick, what’s that a picture of?” he quizzes a visitor, who identifies it as Morro Bay — well, actually Morro Rock seen from the north.
That piece was “painted” with small strips of clear glass tack fused to colored glass panels, creating the impression of roiling fog, ocean swells washing ashore and wave-swept sand.
It’s just one of many techniques the Andersons have built up over a decade of trial and error.
Neither of the Andersons were artists before taking on fused glass.
Katherine started as a school psychologist but later became a district director of student services. Steve started as a middle school math teacher and later became a school principal.
When retirement approached, Katherine began casting about for a hobby.
“I was looking for something to do,” she said. “I’d done all the craft things people usually do. I always loved glass, and I had several houses where I had someone do stained glass windows.”
So she found a place in San Luis Obispo that offered stained glass classes and made some lampshades and hanging pieces. That led her into glass fusing.
“For the first two years, I was bleeding a lot,” Katherine said. “My son came over and said, ‘I never saw anyone with so many Band-Aids!’ I’d buy them at Costco … by the handful.”
Katherine pursued glass fusing for a couple of years before convincing Steve to try it, pointing out he’d love it because he’s so meticulous.
Steve said his background in geometry served him well in creating designs, but some things like cutting class by scoring and breaking it were difficult to master.
Then one day, he snapped a piece just right, and it became like second nature.
“Glass, it’s just one of those things,” he said. “It becomes your friend.”
The couple first bought a small grinder and a small kiln. But they outgrew that and added a medium-sized kiln, then a large kiln plus a diamond-blade hoop saw and a large double-wheeled grinder.
They learned how fusing glass is all about heat — how much of it, how long, how many firings and the importance of annealing, a cooling process that makes the glass strong and keeps it from breaking.
“It’s all about temperature,” Steve explained.
They learned how glass will “strike,” meaning the color it will be after heating, how to use glass fibers and powder and how to create unique effects by using multiple layers.
Eventually, they turned their hobby into a business, although they admit they can’t sell their works for what they’re really worth and the revenue just goes back into buying more glass.
But for them, working with glass is more than a hobby or a business. It’s a passion for creating one-of-a-kind works of beauty.
“We want to make things people love, because we love glass and we want other people to love glass,” Katherine said.
Open Studios Art Tour celebrating 15 years
More than 200 artists in 17 communities working in 15 media are participating in the 15th annual Open Studios Art Tour.
The free self-guided tour will take place the Saturdays and Sundays of Oct. 12, 13, 19 and 20 throughout SLO County.
Artists will open the doors to their studios to meet with the public and discuss their works, although not all studios will be open both weekends.
Many of the studios will offer free snacks and beverages, and some will have special prices on the artists’ works.
Catalogs listing the participating artists, their specialties, the weekends their studios will be open, whether they will be actively working on art and which studios are accessible to the handicapped, along with maps to each studio, are available at locations throughout the South County.
A list of catalog locations is available at http://www.artsobispo.org where catalogs also can be viewed and downloaded.
Posted Friday, October 11, 2013
We hope to see you at our studio in Arroyo Grande, CA or comment on the article and work.
Thank you Mike and Ingrid from the Times-Press-Recorder,
Steve and Katherine