Mica Gallery, in Bakersville, shows the work of seven glass artists who live in the greater Bakersville/Penland/Burnsville area: John Geci, JJ Brown, Simona Rosasco, Kit Paulson, Judson Guérard, Amanda Taylor and Jerry Leaders.
Geci is known for his use of color and his Merletto vases and bowls. Originally from Connecticut, he honed his skills at Penland School of Craft. Geci became the first glass resident artist at the EnergyXchange in 2001, helping to evolve the incubator program that used methane from a local landfill to fuel glass furnaces.
“For many years, I have been enamored with the Italian traditions of glass making,” says Geci. “Merletto literally means ‘lace,’ and I use threads of glass to achieve this lace-like patterned effect.”
Brown and Rosasco, of Bakersville, create decorative and kiln-formed glass at Fyreglas Studio. Much of their work begins by creating kilncast “pattern bars” in a variety of colored glass layers. Using a wet diamond saw, these bars are cut into slices that are laid in patterns and refired. Rosasco has also developed a series of plates that result from fusing and slumping processes.
Paulson’s pieces use flameworking techniques with borosilicate glass. “I like to say that I interrogate fragility through the delicate properties of glass,” she says. “I reimagine historical objects, or take my observations of nature and interests in science to create vignettes presented like specimens under small vitrines.”
Paulson has taught glasswork across the US and in Germany, Ireland and Australia. She settled in WNC after a three-year residency at Penland School of Craft.
Guérard’s work is inspired by his sense of humor and by the tranquility of the North Toe River where his studio is located. With a background in philosophy, it is no surprise that his hot glass musings often become philosophical.
“Glass for me represents the tension between a desire for precision, control and recognizable form versus the serendipity and spontaneity of glass going its own way in spite of my best efforts,” he says. “Rather than trying to control form excessively, I set up conditions in which something more interesting than I first envisioned might occur.”
Taylor has studios near Burnsville and in her native Canada. Inspiration for her work comes from the landscape. Using light, color and form to create a sense of place, she works from her own photographs or watercolors. Each piece is kiln-formed through multiple firings to achieve layers of imagery. She also works in pâte de verre, a kiln-formed casting process.
Leaders has worked for many years as a historic glassblower in Renaissance fairs around the country. Today, he largely works from his studio in the Penland area. Among his offerings at Mica are ornaments, including the traditional glass pickle Christmas ornament.
Mica Gallery is located at 37 Mitchell Avenue in Bakersville and is open every day April 1 through December 30. Follow the gallery at MicaGalleryNC.com, on Facebook at Mica Gallery NC or on Instagram at MicaGalleryNC.