first fell in love with glass at the age of five as I watched
my father make scientific glass equipment in his lab. Occasionally
a more accomplished colleague would come by and entertain
me with the transformation of a glass tube into a swan or
Years passed as they do. In
the mid 1990’s my interest in glass was rekindled during a weekend fusing
workshop at the Evanston Art Center. A few years later my daughter, Susie Silbert,
went off to study glass at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Penland
School of Crafts. In 2003, as she was preparing to teach her first lampworking
classes, she used me as a guinea pig to develop her teaching style. And that's
when my eyes were opened to the real magic of the flame.
Although I profess to having had a little fear of fire (I was afraid to light
a match until I was eleven), it was love at first spark. I have been at
the torch ever since, upgrading from a Hothead to a Piranha in 2005 and
developing and building my studio, technique and aesthetic interests. Along
the way I had the privilege of learning from some great teachers and mentors.
My growth and confidence as a lampworker was further honed through teaching
ongoing lampworking classes to an enthusiastic group of adult bead makers
at my local high school. The inspiration to master new techniques and processes
through teaching cannot be underestimated.
Undoubtedly, my varied and unique background influences my current glasswork.
Born in Japan and raised in Holland, Italy and across the US, a spirit
of exploration and cross-cultural learning has played a major part in defining
who I am. My designs reflect the inspiration of the colors and
textures of the many places I have called home. As I sit at the torch
I often wonder who will wear the bead I'm making, where it will travel,
and whether it will still be here in a thousand years.