By BRENDA REESArtists are just like athletes when it comes to cross-training. Doing the same routine day in and day out is not only boring, it doesn’t stretch and challenge those creative muscles.
This year, the Judson Studios has embarked on a new program that invites artists into their workspace to explore, play and create with glass. Making the program possible was the fact that last year, the 120-year old Highland Park studio added a sleek new modern studio across the Monterey Bridge in South Pasadena.
The new Judson studio “opens us up to a whole new realm of possibilities,” said owner David Judson.
The original historic studio had limited space to expand, prompting the opening of a satellite studio. Another plus for the new studio space was that it allowed Judson to develop a new fusing glass technique that involves layering enamel paint, colored sheet glass and crushed glass.
Judson artist Tim Carey worked with renowned fused glass artist Narcissus Quagliata to develop this method which was employed to facilitate a client’s design for a religious window that, when completed, was as big as a basketball court. It took three years for Judson artists to complete and install the massive artwork for the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Kansas.
In addition to working on larger client projects and allowing the use of innovative techniques, the new studio will increase Judson’s ability to collaborate with local artists.
“It has always been a desire of mine to introduce fine artists, artists working in other materials, to the medium of glass,” said Judson, who is the great-great grandson of studio founder William Lees Judson. “It inspires new ideas and creativity. Glass can do so many things yet it has a lot of limitations …. seeing other artists’ work interpreted in glass exposes us to new ideas that otherwise we may not have thought about.”
Judson said that artists who are invited to play with glass can opt for designing with traditional stained glass, the more modern fused glass or a combination of both techniques.
Artist Amir H. Fallah has been prepping for a September solo show at Shulamit Nazarian gallery in Hollywood at Judson. Even though he lives less than a mile away from the studio, he wasn’t aware that the celebrated facility was in his hood. After taking a tour (Judson offers monthly tours to the public), Fallah was hooked.
“The process of creating stained and fused glass is very similar to how I paint,” Fallah said. “ It’s exciting to work with a new medium. I didn’t realize how much you can do with it, especially what Judson is doing with fused glass. You can paint it, melt it, scratch it, bend it, stain it, etc. It’s exciting to push the limits of what you can do with it.”
Likewise, artist David Flores also praises the creative possibilities and process of working with glass.
“I didn’t expect to be able to do such a large piece in such a short amount of time,” said Flores about the work he created for an exhibition at the Sullivan Goss Gallery in Santa Barbara. “Fused glass is beautiful and it is a process I was not aware of until now.”
Flores and Fallah are just two of the recent artists who had worked with Judson. Artists are lining up for the next collaborative iteration. Judson said that collaborations for artists will play a key role in its business and will also payoff for artists seeking opportunities inside and outside of the art world.
Glass is the perfect medium to marry art with architecture,” Judson said, “ and we think we are just beginning to scratch the surface of possibilities.”
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Brenda Rees is a writer and resident of Eagle Rock.
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