Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Diva of the Month, March 2011 - Kathleen Robinson Young - Introduction

Welcome back to our Diva of the Month feature here at the Fire Divas blog! I am sure you all missed this feature very much last month, as our February Diva fell through due to some extenuating circumstances. Anyhow, here we are once again, and today I am going to introduce you to Kathleen Robinson Young, our March Diva of the Month.

Kathleen lives in Detroit, Michigan. Her first studio was set up in the basement of her home, but since she hated the isolation and “dungeon-y” feel of the room, she moved into a 1200 square foot building that was a combination teaching studio and gallery. She closed the business in 2007, and moved back into the basement, but after spending a few years torching in bright sunlight with lots of activity, she found it too difficult to work there again. So, she moved to the extra room in the second floor in her house, which is where her current workspace resides. She says her new area has “all the creature comforts I want – natural sunlight and a nice view are really important to me.” She has stations set up all around for metalworking, jewelry making, a computer area, electroforming, and all her sensory stuff (DVD player, sound system, satellite system). Her actual torch station is much smaller, but much easier to clean up. (“Although it mostly stays messy...” she tells us.)

Kathleen was born in New York, NY, and has been lampworking since 2001. She took a PMC certification class from Barbara Becker Simon in St. Petersburg, Fla., in 2001. “She was wearing this fabulous necklace with a core of PMC” Kathleen tells us. “I kept staring to see how she got the PMC in the beads and couldn't figure it out. I finally asked her and when she explained the process, I made it a point to find a class in Michigan.” It took her all of three days after returning home to book a class at the University of Michigan, under Don Miller. It then took her 12 months to complete the PMC certification. “Once I saw the potential of glass, I was obsessed in doing nothing but glass...” she says.

Kathleen tells us that she typically gets bored very easily and is not good at producing the same thing over and over. “I marvel at my colleagues who are able to continually turn out consistent and finely executed work. When I've tried to do the same I get sloppy in my work.” She has a few things that she does love to do: florals, fish, frogs, and hearts. “I don't mind doing these again and again, as long as I can change things up, either through color, moving the elements of the bead around, or playing with different shapes.”

Kathleen tells us that it's hard to pin-point her style. “I tend to be all over the board, because of my short attention span,” she says. “If I had to describe the sum of my work I'd call it 'elegant whimsy' - I borrowed that term from an article that was written about my work several years ago.” Kathleen is not really interested in doing "realism" or "cutesy" in her work. “I love that kind of work, but I actually 'suck' at it” she says. “I wonder if there's a more delicate way to say that???” She tells us that both tend to hinder her and force her to achieve perfection. “Although I appreciate perfection, for me it's extremely stressful. I become obsessive, and will work on something over and over until I'm satisfied. Of course I'm never satisfied, so I tend to do better if I just let the glass flow based on what happens when I pick up a mandrel, and hopefully the flame will make 'lampwork magic.'”

And that wraps up this week's introduction post. I'll leave you with Kathleen's links, and stay tuned for next week's installment!

Ugly Duckling Beads on Etsy ~ Ugly Duckling Blog ~ Ugly Duckling Beads on Twitter

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