Earlier this year first year student Bernadette Foster caught up with graduate and visiting artist Mel George.
Mel George is one of the many successful graduates from the Glass Workshop. She is a well recognised artist and has been a researcher for Bullseye Glass in Portland. Mel is now manager and co-owner of Studio Ramp, which is a highly successful architectural glass company in Portland.
Immediately after graduation Mel was hired by Bullseye Glass Co. Mel worked at testing new materials assisting visiting artists, like Lino Tagliapietra, Michael Taylor, Kirstie Rea, Richard Whiteley and many others.
Studio Ramp was started up in 2001 by Mel and her husband Jeremy Lepisto. It is a glass fabrication studio for artists and architects. One of their recent commissions is “Colour of Breath”, for the Marybridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma, Washington. It seems the whole building has been turned into an enormous kaleidoscope.
I asked Mel how she has found balancing her own work with that of the studio:
“ I find it hard to balance studio verses my own work because I put 100% into my client's work. This sometimes leaves me no physical or mental desire to do my own. So now I set myself times where I can make my own work, guilt free, this is usually in the off hours or weekends.”
I also asked if Mel had found any influence on her work from the commission work handled by the studio. Mel had previously referred to it being pleasurable to create small scale intimate objects in her own work because of the large scale of most of the work coming out of the studio.
“One thing that is great about doing commission work is that it keeps you fresh and you always have to think outside the box. A client will come to us with something that may be impossible at first glance, but then through a lot of thinking and sampling you can usually find a way. This is great for my own work because it shows me that I do not have to think in the confines of what I think I can make.”
The images shown above are of Mel's current and work have strong connections with intimate domestic environments and the warmth that these objects create both personally for her and her audience.
The images below are of her work with Studio Ramp.
Bernadette Foster - Glass Workshop 2005