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Franklin artist creates liquid mysteries in glass

Post Time:Dec 02,2015Classify:Industry NewsView:225

Set quietly off a main road in a residential neighborhood in Pontiac sits the largest glass blowing studio in the Midwest. What is created inside this unassuming building will surprise you.

 

The furnaces are on and April Wagner’s epiphany glass studio is in production. For more than 20 years, Wagner has produced stunning private and public works of art that are on display at The Townsend Hotel, St. Joe’s Hospital Oakland, Hyatt Maui Resort and The Four Seasons Resorts.

 

Wagner, who lives in Franklin, began creating pieces under the epiphany name in 1993. The word epiphany means “insight into the essence of an object and/or material.” Wagner wanted a name that — like glass — has a magical, ethereal quality to it, but she expresses it with a small “e” to distinguish it from the religious holiday. She calls it “a name that the user can imbue with a meaning relevant to their own lives.”

 

People need art to help see themselves and the world around them more clearly,” Wagner says. “I want people to look at my work and have an ‘ah ha’ moment, to experience a change, to be affected and given something interesting to consider,” she says.

 

Wagner graduated with a bachelor of fine arts degree from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. In college Wagner “discovered molten glass as a material.”

 

It was love at first sight,” she says. “Glass captivates me. Glass is a very responsive medium, almost like it is alive. It has a magical quality to me that never ceases to amaze and inspire me.”

 

And yet, glass is an unforgiving medium to work with. In glass blowing, “there is no recipe book when you are trying to make a piece.”

 

When creating new pieces of art, her process is to think three dimensionally. She rarely sketches out an idea. The liquid is turned, twisted and cut. The artist repeats shapes and investigates their relationships to the floor, wall or tabletop.

 

In creating multiples and assembling the shapes together, almost like found objects, I create large-scale pieces,” Wagner explains. The artist uses color to “push and pull the eye around or up and down the piece.”

 

Many of Wagner’s pieces are inspired by her love of nature: “Everything in nature is beautifully designed and that design serves a function, color, scale and form.”

 

Glass blowing is not a solo art. It takes a team of people working together in collaboration to create something from a liquid at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. “Every person plays an important role,” Wagner says. “Any misstep can cause a disaster or even a serious injury.”

 

At her studio, there are three distinct lines of hand-blown glass artwork. Custom sculptures, large-scale sculpture installations and custom lighting that are designed and solely created by Wagner. The epiphany line includes limited functional and semi-functional vessels, designed by Wagner and created by studio assistants. The studio line is an affordable gift line with pieces under $100, and designed and created by the studio assistants under Wagner’s guidance.

 

In addition, epiphany studios has partnered with the Michigan Humane Society, and the proceeds from her colorful pet-themed line will benefit the charitable organization.

 

People are welcome to visit and purchase art during 2015 Holiday Open Studio hours, 4 to 8 p.m. Dec. 4 and noon to 6 p.m. Dec. 5 and 6, at epiphany, 770 Orchard Lake Road, Pontiac.

 

We will be blowing glass, offering hands-on demonstrations, there will be food and wine, and we will be offering a 15 percent discount,” Wagner says. “It’s time only time of year we offer a discount.”

 

The studio also will be open for sales only from noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 12 and 19.

 

For more information on epiphany studios, call 248-745-3786 or visit epiphanyglass.com.

Source: http://www.dailytribune.com/arts-and-entertainmentAuthor: shangyi

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