BAGI Core Group of Glass Instructors
Fusing and Kilnworking
Elise Ordorica - Always busy creating, Elise Ordorica strives to reflect in her art the magnificence of the natural world. Glass is her primary material because it so beautifully embodies light and color; working with the luminosity of glass is like molding, sculpting, even painting with light. She attempts to capture the beauty of nature’s simple but spectacular complexity and to deepen her love and understanding of the natural world; making art is for Elise both celebration and solace.
Valerie Pohorsky - Valerie was born and raised in the heart of the Silicon Valley. She studied Photography and Glass Art Making at San Jose State University. She continued her glass education during workshops and work-study experiences at Pilchuck Glass School. She is a demonstrator for hot glass events, a freelance hot shop assistant, and has co-curated local glass art shows. Some of her other pass times include hiking, yoga, crochet and knitting and cats.
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.
Joan Biddle - Joan lives and works in Monterey, CA. Born and raised in Virginia, in 2012 she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Virginia Commonwealth University. Joan is a visual artist and trained glassblower. She discovered the molten material of glass through her college studies and has pursued further education in the field through scholarships to attend classes at the Corning Museum of Glass, Penland School of Crafts, Pilchuck Glass School and Urban Glass. Before relocating to the West coast Joan worked as an instructor at the Chrysler Museum of Art Glass Studio in Norfolk Virginia. Currently, Joan teaches glass blowing classes at BAGI and spends her free hiking the coast of Big Sur.
Michael Sopkin - I first started working with glass in 2008 as a sophomore at Palo Alto High School. On graduation, I found a college in a small Midwest town called Emporia, Kansas, population of 25,000 folks. It’s home of Emporia State University (ESU).
I continued to study glass, learning about different types of glass and the multiple ways you can alter its form when working. I graduated Emporia State in 2017 with a bachelor’s in Fine Arts with a concentration in glass.
I then moved back to California. First job was at a production shop in Berkley called glassybaby. After working there for six months I learned about BAGI in San Jose and learned that they teach people who have never seen hot glass, and show them how to work with it. Teaching sounded like a lot more fun than production, and I wanted to see what the hype was all about.
I then joined the BAGI Team and have been a happy little clam since.
I also help a private artist couple make their own work in Capitola just outside of Santa Cruz.