Nexus: The Pacific Northwest Stakes its Claim as a Hotbed for Contemporary Glass by Richard Speer (art ltd.)

Klaus Moje, Constructed 2, 2010
kilnformed glass, 46.25 x 35.25 x 1.25 inches
Photo by: R. Little
Story by: Richard Speer (art ltd.)

(excerpt) - Bullseye Glass Company was the brainchild of three glass blowers--Ray Ahlgren, Boyce Lundstrom, and Dan Schwoerer--who in 1974 founded Bullseye to solve technical problems that were bedeviling their own work. The product they eventually developed was a glass that would be compatible with other glasses and withstand multiple firings without cracking during the cooling process. Schwoerer, who today co-owns the company with his wife, Lani McGregor, continues to oversee technical innovations that benefit artists engaged in specific projects. McGregor, who directs the 15,000-square-foot Bullseye Gallery in Portland's perennially chi-chi Pearl District, remarks that, "In our experience, the most successful projects we've ever done have resulted from the needs of a single artist. What they need might be something there's no market for yet, and the only reason anybody would want to help them is because it's brilliant. That's sort of where the whole company started." She invokes Klaus Moje, the Hamburg, Germany-born artist who is equally known for his intricately patterned platter forms and wall panels and for founding the highly influential Glass Workshop in Canberra, Australia. "Klaus wanted to do something people weren't doing at the time, and which there was no market for. He needed an entire color palette of glasses that could be melted together in a kiln and, once cooled, would be sufficiently free from internal stress that they wouldn't break."

Moje takes up the story. "Color is my fascination. It's a never-ending challenge to explore and extend the envelope. So one of the luckiest moments of my life was when I met with Dan Schworer and Boyce Lundstrom at Bullseye, and they were fascinated by what I needed to do, and said to me, 'We'll produce a palette for you to have a wider range of colors available.' I remember thinking, 'These Americans are just loudmouths!' But after awhile they figured it out, and there was a box of Bullseye Glass on my doorstep, and I never looked back."

Bullseye's leadership has taken pains to work with artists who come to glass from other media in the interest of cross-pollination. Examples include Carrie Iverson, who came from a background in printmaking and political art; ceramic sculptor Jun Kaneko; and Joanne Teasdale, who combines her first two passions, painting and photography, with novel and psychologically incisive approaches to glass. Bullseye is also committed to bridging the divide between glass blowing and kiln-forming. With the gallery's encouragement, longtime glass blower Dante Marioni has made successful forays into kiln-formed glass; and a seminal Bullseye workshop in 1998 yielded a technique known as the "Australian roll-up," which is essentially an integration of blowing and kiln-forming." - Richard Speer

Source Link:   More information

May 5, 2011