Fall16
Phillip Doucette

Biography

I was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1961. In my early twenties I attended a number of craft courses presented by the local art college, and upon leaving university in 1987, I set up my own studio, specializing in architectural stained glass. I also joined  the Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council, and in 1989 was awarded Master Artisan Status for my work in glass, teaching, mentorship and community promotion. While most of my career has been spent in the dusty towers of churches, in 2001, my wife and I were leafing through a supply catalogue, and we noticed a new section for hot glass bead making equipment and supplies. I ordered the basic kit and some instructional material, and two months later, I was teaching my wife and her friends how to make glass beads using the scrap generated by the larger projects in my studio. This led to a series of short courses for art college students in my studio, and finally my designing and instructing the first set of public instruction courses in lamp working in the province, at the Nova Scotia Center for Craft and Design in 2003.

What I enjoy about lamp working is the immediacy of the process and the result. In comparison to the fabrication time frames of leaded glass construction, lamp working is nearly instantaneous. It is also inherently more sculptural than cold glass work, and I find a certain spontaneous joy in exploring and experimenting with these glowing masses of molten glass.
As an artist working in glass, I usually design with the light that the glass transmits. But in my bead making, I am drawn to manipulate the light that the bead captures, so my lamp working tends towards large beads of veiled transparency, with inclusions and layers which fracture and bend the light.  In university, I became interested in fortune telling, and learned that the best crystal balls were filled with wisps of impurity in which the teller could see the image of the future. My favourite beads emulate that principle, catching the eye within complicated depths of transparent colour, leading the viewer into a tiny world of fluid possibility.

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