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Couple’s glass art to sparkle next three weekends

Post Time:Nov 30,2015Classify:Industry NewsView:301

A Conway couple can’t help viewing the world through sparkle and glass, especially with a commission for a series of glass sculptures for the 2015 “Nights of a Thousand Candles.”

Their work will shine as part of the 16th annual extravaganza opening later this week, 3-10 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays through Dec. 19 at Brookgreen Gardens, on U.S. 17, between Murrells Inlet and Litchfield Beach, across from Huntington Beach State Park.

Find several dozen hand-blown, fused, cut and sculpted works by Ed and Barbara Streeter adorning the Anne’s Garden section, just around the corner from Brookgreen’s Keepsakes Gift Shop, between the welcome center and Rainey Sculpture Pavilion, which boasts two special exhibits continuing through Jan. 3: “Holiday Memories: Trains, Trees, and Treasures” and “Peace on Earth,” the latter in a horticultural theme.

The Streeters have owned and operated Conway Glass for almost all of their 29 years of marriage. They also welcome everyone to their gallery, open Tuesdays-Saturdays at 209 Laurel St., Conway, with glass-blowing demonstrations on the first Saturday monthly.

Question | How did the connection for a commission for Brookgreen Gardens arise for this season, after you learned of this honor back in the spring?

Barbara | Over the past several, years we have participated in many of Brookgreen Gardens’ art events, and we’ve had items for sale in its gift shop. We were asked to submit a proposal and had a choice of three gardens on which to bid. Anne’s Garden was our immediate favorite.

Q. | Much like musicians’ yuletide albums that are recorded in summertime, how did you find some Christmas spirit long before this season to infuse the creative process for this special artwork?

Barbara | I researched the history of Anne’s Garden and the artists who created the beautiful statues located within the garden. I then watched all of the videos I could find on “Nights of a Thousand Candles.” Also, I know I listened to some Christmas music. December is a special time of year for our family, so it was easy to get nostalgic.

Ed | In the spring, we are still making Christmas ornaments for the upcoming holiday season. Also, Christmas music is available 52 weeks a year in our studio.

With these pieces going into the newly renovated Anne’s Garden, how did you arrive at making these glass reeds 24-40 inches in height, and glass orbs measuring 3-10 inches and illuminated with LED lights and fiber optic cable in earth tones of green, amber, blue, brown, and white?

Barbara | Every successful project has a plan, and glass blowing is no different. We began with the original drawings and then talked through how each piece could be made. We ordered all of the materials and began work on the project in late spring. In all, we blew 800 pounds of glass for this installation.

Ed | We started with making prototypes of each size to see if there would be a learning curve. I then fabricated armatures to stretch the glass. We are limited in the size of our sculpture by the size of our glass-blowing equipment. By the end of April, we had the details worked out and knew how each piece would be made. The lighting of our installation could not have been accomplished without the expertise of Brookgreen’s lighting guru, Jon McGann.

Q. | How much planning and in-depth design went into planning the glowing “Tree of Glass” made from transparent glass pieces inserted into the brick wall, and into decorating a large crepe myrtle with white ornaments hanging from its branches?

Barbara | My inspiration for the white ornaments in the crepe myrtle was the Child of Peace statue in Anne’s Garden. I chose the number 25 because it is the Angel Number. For the tree of glass, I wanted to do something special at the entrance of Anne’s Garden. I thought lighting the wall with colored glass in the shape of a tree would be inviting.

Ed | I cut and sanded 80 pieces of clear, blue, green and turquoise glass. The glass was then assembled and inserted into the brick at the entrance to Anne’s Garden. The ornaments in the crepe myrtle are abstract bird forms. I blew each piece into an optic mold, then heated and stretched it, and added a small crystal beak.

Q. | Producing this specialized, delicate type of art, and mindful of the season and setting, are certain colors easier, or more natural, with which to work for this innovative array of art, and roughly how long did each piece take to make, from start to finish?

Barbara | In the center garden, I wanted to convey a feeling of a holiday at the beach, and so, of course, blues and greens had to be included. The green grasses and reeds we created for the Tortoise Fountain complement the existing work by Janet Scudder.

Ed | We work as a team. This work cannot be done any other way. I am the gaffer, and Barbara is my assistant. We have worked together as a glass blowing team for more than 20 years. We usually work three to five hours at the furnace blowing glass. In that time frame, we can make three to five large pieces. The glass is then annealed for another 12 to 16 hours. I then finish each piece using various sanding and finishing tools.

Q. | With the expression you molded into these works, how do they convey that wonder and playful innocence of childhood you aim to embody?

Barbara | The existing sculptures in the garden inspired the childhood theme from the very beginning. The glass sculptures we created convey a playfulness in both form and color.

Q. | After a quarter-century in business in Horry County’s historic seat and giving glass many new art forms, what does this milestone in accenting the glory of Brookgreen Gardens spark in your mind for other projects and dreams?

Barbara | We look forward to creating many more blown glass sculptures, ornaments and bowls. Our studio is open year-round and is the busiest from October through May when we hold glass-blowing classes and demonstrations. We look forward to many more years of sharing our talent with the community.

Ed | We are excited that so many others will see this installation inspired by one of the most beautiful gardens in the nation. We are honored with this commission and our partnership with Brookgreen Gardens for “Nights of a Thousand Candles.” We hope visitors will be delighted, and we wish everyone a peaceful and joyous season.

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Source: http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/news/local/articlAuthor: shangyi

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