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The Works in Edmonton 2012

 

Creative Chaos

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Newspaper Articles, 2006
Melting glass
 
 
JEAN COMPTON/ THE CHRONICLE
Linda Westrom holds up a piece of blown glass from Rhythms Artglass marine garden series. Westrom and her partner Claude Duperron have a glass blowing studio in Saltair. Please turn to page 18 for a look at how they create their one of a kind art objects.
By Jean COMPTON

The Chronicle
Sep 05 2006

 

Glass art is a heady combination of science, alchemy and aesthetics. Artistic and life partners Claude Duperron and Linda Westrom have brought these together to create stunning beauty.

The Saltair couple have been quietly building an international reputation in their Rhythms Artglass Studio since 1981.

Having made their mark in juried shows across Canada and in the western United States, they are now developing their profile closer to home.

Duperron, who is also a musician, studied glassblowing glass chemistry and welding at the Alberta College of Art in Calgary.

Westrom studied science and fine arts at the University of Alberta, and sculpture at the Alberta College of Art.

Her background in science has helped them develop their unique glass pieces.

She explained how the cobalt she uses in some of her work is unstable which makes it vibrate and fluoresce when UV light strikes it, and how manganese is solar sensitive and darkens in the sun.

"Glass is everywhere around us, but we're not aware of how it's produced," said Westrom. "It's a big field of knowledge."

They two start from scratch, creating their own glass from sand, as well as their own colours using metal oxides. It took Westrom three years to come up with an emerald green that she was happy with.

"When we first started, our work developed independently of others. When we went to shows, we discovered our work was quite different," said Westrom.

Being different won her first place in glass at the prestigious Sausalito Art Festival in 2002.

Now, the two produce one of a kind pieces under a number of themes such as: marine gardens, salmon rivers, night skies, roots, rainforest, faces and waterfalls.

Drawing from impressionist and pointillist colour theory, and inspired by nature, their pieces are luminous canvasses infused with symbolism.

Glass blowing is not for sissies - it involves ovens so hot they take five days to heat up, noxious gasses, hazardous metals.

Upper body strength is needed to manipulate the molten glass on the end of the metal rod. It's hot, intense, work.

The artist must work carefully and quickly - after heating, the glass is malleable for only a few seconds.

They must return the piece to the furnace time and time again in order to shape one piece.

"Sometimes you can't always predict what is going to happen," said Westrom. "That's why the pieces are one of a kind."

Further refinements such as painting designs onto red-hot vases with a pontil on the end of a four-foot rod add to the time it takes to complete the piece.

After the piece is blown, it is held in a "lehr" all day at a high temperature, then it is gradually cooled overnight, so that by morning, it can be handled.

Another five stages of grinding and polishing are needed before the work is ready to leave the studio.

To see the results, visit the Rhythms Artglass studio, open year round at 10535 Knight Rd., Saltair.


 

Made in, and out, of the shade

Artists, organizers prepare for a hot weekend at Salem Art Fair

KOBBI R. BLAIR | STATESMAN JOURNAL

Linda Westrom, of Rhythms Artglass in Chemainus, British Columbia, sets up her

booth Thursday for the Salem Art Fair & Festival.

   

July 21, 2006

Artist Linda Westrom of cool Chemainus on Vancouver Island in British Columbia napped comfortably behind her art-glass booth at the Salem Art Fair & Festival on Thursday afternoon with the bright sun beating down.

She was unfazed, even without shade and in 90-plus-degree heat.

"I'm a glass-blower, so I'm used to the heat," she said.

On the eve of what could the the fair's first three-day run of triple-digit temperatures,

 the 200 artists, volunteers and Salem Art Association staff members were adjusting.

"It's nice to be here, to be back in the Sacramento Valley," Don Drake said with a smile.

The Bellingham, Wash., resident was announced as the new association executive  director

at the evening Opening Celebration under the shady trees on the Bush House Museum lawn.

"You know, I'll take the heat over the rain," said association president Erich Paetsch, sounding

 a now-familiar refrain. "From my part, we've done everything we can. It tends not to scare

people away. They come in the morning and in the evening."

Westrom, for one, was glad to be back at what she called a well-run fair, and she had some soothing art to share.

The Marine Garden series, made with her husband, Claude Duperron, has a watery feel, and her cobalt glass vases coalesce in the direct sun, creating a fluorescent black-light effect after dark.

Salem artist Diane Trevett at least had a booth with soft-green pastel walls to display her floral paintings.

"People come in the morning," she said. "People think of that, and that helps. It slows down from 2 to 5 p.m."

The association has added misters and has been trying to find others on the Internet; the order for ice and water was doubled as well.

On Thursday night, preparing for this morning's opening with the children's parade, people seemed confident under the shade of the park's oak trees, with the moist green grass underfoot.

Portland acrylic artist Martin Anderson was among many artists who had finished setting up, and he was relaxing with a beer, listening to the bluegrass music of True North.

"I hope it doesn't keep people away," he said of the weather. "I'm glad I could be here.

"I did this show last year and enjoyed it."

rcowan@StatesmanJournal.com or (503) 399-6728

 

 

 


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