Pippa Cossette [twolassesglass]
What do you do? How do you define yourself as an artist?
I am a kiln formed glass "artist" and teacher. This art form is more popularly known as glass fusing.
What is your message?
In teaching, my message is to first learn the rules, so you'll know how to break them successfully, then jump in and get wet!
Your biography in four lines.
I was born in western Canada, but did most of my growing up in Toronto. In my early twenties a job in advertising was the spring board for my creative passions (though at the time, I am not sure if I was really aware of it)! I started a business in specialty chemicals with my husband in the mid-eighties and in 2003, I met my best friend and business partner (my second business) and began teaching the art of kiln formed glass.
Do you upload your work to the web? If so, where could we see it?
Some of the work I have done is on my website at: www.twolassesglassclasses.com as I use photos of my art as examples of what can be achieved with the materials and supplies that I sell.
How is an idea born? For you, what is inspiration?
Actually, I try not to have a specific idea in place; it often seems too lofty a goal and can sometimes become distracting or limiting. I prefer to play with the glass and experience a "happy accident" rather than have a preconceived plan that will have me fretting over the outcome. For me, inspiration is a little spark that is ignited in the mind and fueled by passion.
What role does technology play in your creative process?
There would not be any kiln-formed glass without a kiln and because I work with both manual and fully programmable kilns, I can really appreciate how technology (like the programmable controllers on kilns) can make things SO much easier. However, having said that, I also enjoy "micro-managing" the firing process in my manual kiln as I feel I have greater "power" over a machine that cannot think for itself.
What is art?
Art seems to have a very unique meaning for each one of us. And because of that, we see so many variations and adaptations in all forms of art. I am always delighted to find that despite being given the same tools and materials, and sitting within close proximity to each other, my students create such markedly different works of art! This reinforces my belief that art is extremely personal; we see it, interpret it and create it in ways that express our individuality.
When do you get your best ideas?
My best ideas come when I am leafing through books or magazines. Pictures really inspire me to think about how I can apply my art to create the "essence" of something I might have seen in a book that appeals to me.
How do you evaluate whether an idea is good or not?
I try not to over-think my ideas. I like to jump in and get my feet wet right off the bat though initially on a smaller scale until I can determine whether my idea is truly inspirational and bears repeating, or requires some further tweaking to achieve the desired result.
Three creative ideas that you would have liked to have created?
The dishwasher, the microwave and the washing machine (all helping to make my life a little bit easier, thank you!).
When and how did you begin to see yourself as an artist?
I don't really see myself as an "artist" -- that sounds to trite. I think of myself as creative and passionate about my art, and I take great joy in sharing that spirit of enthusiasm with my students and my customers.
Why do so many artists and creators have such volatile personalities?
I think that some creative, artistic people are really rather tortured souls who truly do "suffer for their art". For them, it is "all or nothing" and so they often feel misunderstood by those who do not feel as passionately as they do. I also think many artists struggle with perfectionism; it is often the force that drives you to excel but it can also be the root of self-doubt.
Do you consider yourself postmodern?
Oooh, that's an interesting question. Postmodern art had its roots in the '80's so I tend to think of my art as much more "contemporary" than postmodern, but as a creative person, I would rather not be "pigeon-holed".
How should a work of art be evaluated?
Each work needs to be evaluated by the person viewing it. "Beauty (and even the lack there of) is in the eye of the beholder".
Must an artist reinvent him/herself everyday?
I don't think so. I think that many of history's most well known artists had a style that was uniquely their own. The basis for their popularity was IN the elements of their style. I DO think that an artist must always have an eye to further developing his art ... "taking it to the next level" as they say, but the pressure to constantly re-invent one's self (especially on a daily basis) would be both daunting and exhausting!
Which artists do you admire and how do they influence your work?
I am a huge fan of Dale Chihuly and Josh Simpson. I am not so much "influenced" by their work, as inspired by it! The grandeur and scope of Dale's glass art (especially his chandeliers) is breathtaking, and Josh's little "worlds" are filled with the most minute details.
What do you think about public funding for the arts?
I am behind it 100%!!
Is art necessary?
For me, art is as necessary as having air to breathe.
Does it pain you to let go of a piece you have sold?
No, not at all, though I know a number of very talented artists who are so attached to their work they almost cannot bear to part with it. When people visit me at my home they often ask to see some of my art, but I usually do not have anything to show them, as I am using the few pieces I have kept as examples in my studio classroom. I should add that I keep as many of the failures as the successes. You cannot learn if you never make mistakes.
Is a work of art purchased, or is it better said, that it is the artist who is bought?
I think art is purchased with the "essence" of the artist who created the piece.
In art, there is no guide. How do you know what the next step is?
Again, I think it's all about jumping in and getting wet. Often you have NO clue what the next step should be, so you just take your best guess and learn from the resulting success or failure.
How do you feel about the fact that the pieces exhibited in contemporary art museums are often of artists already deceased?
I think a work of "contemporary art" has more to do with a period of time during which the piece was created than whether the artist is still alive or not.
What types of jobs do you usually do?
I wear all the hats! and I LIKE wearing all the hats ... it means that ultimately I am the one who is responsible for the results.
Which of your jobs or tasks do you most enjoy?
I think I enjoy the teaching most of all. Having an opportunity to share my passion for glass fusing with my students is very rewarding experience.
Do you personally collect any items?
Yes I most certainly do!! I collect the paintings of Kay Curtis (www.kcurtisart.com) as well as the works of other glass and ceramic artists.
Which websites do you frequently visit?
What advice would you give to those just beginning?
READ! You don't have to memorize all the material (there is no test), but you do have to have a solid foundation/understanding of your art upon which you can build your talents. Books offer a wealth of information and are in my opinion, FAR more reliable than some of the well-intentioned musings found on the Internet. Joining a local art association or guild allows you an opportunity to spend some quality time with others who are interested in the same art form and who may be able and willing to help you get started. There are NO stupid questions, so ask questions (but please take notes)! Taking a class or course can also be very helpful, but ask about the teacher's credentials and/or experience and/or for references. Most importantly, don't' be afraid to jump in and get wet!!
Sarasota, FL, USA