BAGI Core Group of Glass Instructors
Fusing and Kilnworking
Valerie Pohorsky was born and raised in the heart of the Silicon Valley. She studied Photography and Glass Art Making at San Jose State University. She is also demonstrator for hot glass events, a freelance hot shop assistant, and a frequent staff member at Pilchuck Glass School.
Some of her other creative endeavors include crochet, knitting, beading, fashion, hula-hooping, feline keeping, dancing, personalized wake up calls, latte art, party decorations, curation, make-up.
Timothy Siemon - Tim is a talented glass worker. He has had a long relationship with glass. Tim discovered and learned glass blowing at Shasta College with Clif Sowder. He continued studying art at San Jose State University with Bob Fritz, where he completed his MA in art. Since then blowing glass has been a treasured avocation for him. Tim was looking for new ways to include hot glass in his life. He set up a studio at home and began flameworking with glass. Since 2008 he has been exploring the sculptural possibilities of soft glass. His years of experience and education with glass blowing have been valuable to his flamework. He is patient and skilled at the torch while he coaxes the glass into marbles, masks and busts.
Janie Trainor - Sitting at the torch and melting glass is fun. I love the physicality of it, the heat and that it requires my full attention in the moment. That I can shape the molten goo into pleasing shapes makes me happy. I love to make colorful, playful beads. I also love making beads that show off the enchanting qualities of glass-- the shine, sparkle, glow, reflection, depth.
Since 2008 I have been making all kinds of beads--round ones, donut ones, barrel shaped, clear, opaque, translucent, reduced, encased, hollow with dots, spirals, flowers, curled lines. I’m always experimenting. Some experiments work, some don’t. It all works out because I will be back to the torch soon.
I get ideas and inspirations from so many sources; from moss on a tree to sunlight on water to colorful textiles to my cat and on and on. Many ideas pop out spontaneously. Somehow I know what bubbles out of my mind in the moment needs to be expressed, shown some light, freed. Thankfully I have the medium, the time and the space to explore, discover and play with my chosen art expression. Glass is my habit. That’s my first choice activity. I want to do it. I don’t get deep and philosophical about understanding my drive to make art. What I know for sure is I want to do it, I get to do it and it’s a ton of fun. That’s all I need to know.
A photograph of her beads are featured in 1000 Beads, published in 2014 by Lark.
Treg Silkwood - Treg was born and raised in the big sky country of Montana. Growing up he knew that he wanted to work with his hands. He studied pre-medicine at the University of Montana before deciding to pursue a career in the arts. In 1996 he received his BFA from Alfred University graduating the Top Student of the Art and Design school. At Alfred, he was exposed to a variety of art making materials and processes and concentrated primarily on mixed–media sculpture and cast glass. In 1995 he spent a semester studying at the Academy of Applied Arts in Prague. In the Atelier of Glass he learned Czech mold-melted glass and cold-working techniques.
Treg spent the next five years working as a production glassblower recreating early American glass at the Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village. At the “Village”, he deepened his knowledge and appreciation for the history and the craft of working with glass. It was there that he developed his exceptional skill as a gaffer and discovered the value of using blown glass as a vehicle of expression. After pursuing a year of graduate studies with Jack Wax at Illinois State University, Treg was honored to become one of the first Gaffers for the Hot Glass Road Show of the Corning Museum of Glass and continues to work closely with The Studio of the Corning Museum of Glass.
Treg moved to the Bay Area in 2002. Shortly thereafter, Treg and Candace Martin formed Silkwood Glass-- a custom, handcrafted glass company. As a team, Candace and Treg continue to create many new innovative designs largely inspired by the natural world. In 2008, Treg had his first solo show at the Steuben Flagship Store on Madison Avenue in New York City. He was honored to be one of only two artists invited to take part in the “Steuben Selections Series,” which showcases some of the world’s foremost artists in glass. Treg’s work has been exhibited internationally and showcased in many prestigious galleries. He has become widely recognized as a premier California Marine Glass Artist. Treg and Candace’s work can be seen at www.SilkwoodGlass.com
Treg thoroughly enjoys sharing his love and knowledge of glass. He has demonstrated and taught glassblowing at numerous institutions across the United States and abroad. He has been a teaching assistant for numerous glass maestros including Elio Quarisa, William Gudenrath, Randy Walker, and Karen Willenbrink-Johnsen. Treg was a three-year Resident Artist and Teaching Assistant at San Jose State University and has worked closely with Mary White. Treg is currently working as an independent glass artist and instructor in the Bay Area. He is the Senior Glass Instructor and Visiting Artist Coordinator at the Bay Area Glass Institute, as well as an active Board Member.
Dean Bensen - Dean’s creative talents started young as did his interest in the environment. He attended The College of Idaho with the desire to study Forestry via the Biology department. While his place on the Ski Team satisfied his extracurricular interests, he was still searching for his calling on a professional level. Eventually Dean was lured away from the Biology department and into the Art department by way of hot glass. This fascination soon started a hunger for what he had been missing since his youth, an immersion into the exploration and development of his creative side. Upon receiving his degree in Art in 1990, he moved to Ketchum/Sun Valley, Idaho where he continued working in glass at a local studio.
His redwood trees, created in both clear glass and in color, marked the beginning of his signature body of work. Focusing initially on environmental concerns, his concepts have continued to grow and evolve. More recently, Dean’s work goes further, in investigating the life cycles in nature, their significance, and the interplay between the earth and various species. His murrine pieces are the centerpoint of this series. Each slice of murrine serves to highlight one of nature’s footprints, marking the passage of time and a glimpse of history, the rings of life in a felled tree.
Greg Tomb - Greg's exploration into the world of glass began as a child. Growing up in the Northeast, his family frequently visited the Corning Museum of Glass during their road trips. A passion for travel and a love of glass reflect in Greg's life and his work. His journey of working with glass began in the spring of 1997 while studying art at Hartwick College, in Oneonta, NY. That summer, while teaching art in Boulder, CO, Greg apprenticed torch-working for the Mystic Family Glassworks. In the summer of 1998, he took a workshop from Emilio Santini at Urban Glass. Greg participated in a work study program at Urban that summer. This was a influential experience, watching and assisting many Urban Glass artists work professionally in all areas of glass.
Returning to Hartwick, Greg graduated in 2000, with a Major in Art, focussing on Sculpture and Glass Blowing and with a Minor in Religious Studies. Occasionally renting glass time for the next few years, Greg explored the adventure sports of whitewater raft guiding and ski instructing professionally. Always returning to glass, he gained precision working as a glassblower in a factory for Simon Pearce. He became a team leader of their production from 2004-2006. Following his spirit of adventure in the outdoors, Greg moved to Lake Tahoe, CA in 2006 and then Santa Cruz in 2011. He worked as a professional musician for about four years before returning to glass. In that time he has worked for Girl Glass, Chris Johnson Glass, Half Moon Bay Art Glass and The Bay Area Glass Institute. He has participated in art shows and sold his work at galleries nationally.
Currently Gregory lives in Santa Cruz, CA. He instructs glass blowing and glass fusing at The Bay Area Glass Institute (BAGI), in San Jose, CA. For the last 2 years he has supported The Crucible, during the Fire and Light Soirée, by donating for their auction. Greg creates. His understanding of and desire to improve on the craft of glass making is evident in his work and his life. His passions of exploration new processes are insatiable. He uses fusing, cold working, torch working and furnace glass to make his personal work. This work is largely influenced by sacred symbolism, colorful expression and classic forms. Gregory strives to positively contribute to the space and world around him. He describes his process as a meditation in action.
“The quality of my work is a direct reflection of my spiritual condition. Glass feels, it remembers, its alive in the intense heat. You must be present in the moment. Every movement leaves an impression on the final piece. As you dance, with diamonds grinding and fire polishing, a serene feeling comes the moment when the glass turns from a gooey glob to the beginning the form, to an expression of your idea.”