Tryon Arts and Crafts repeats fused art glass lamp workshop

Published 6:18 pm Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tryon Arts and Crafts School (TACS) presented “Slumpfest,” a fused art glass lamp workshop in February. The workshop, taught by Karoline Shaffer and John O’Rourke and supplied by Slumpy’s, a Glass Mold Company, a fused glass supplier from Belmont, N.C., was so popular that TACS will offer it again on May 18-20.

Karoline Shaffer and John O’Rourke will lead a slumped glass workshop at Tryon Arts and Crafts School on May 18-20. (photo submitted by Julia McIntyre)

Students will create their own glass lampshades by layering different colors of transparent, translucent and iridescent glass in sheet, stringer and chip form. The layer sheet of glass will then be heated in a kiln until it fuses into a sheet. The next step is to lay the fused glass sheet over a stainless steel form and return it to the kiln. This time the glass is heated until it softens enough to slump over the form, creating the lampshade or vase shape. The finished one-of-a-kind glass shade can then be installed in a hanging pendant lamp or a table lamp fixture.
If you want to take the handmade idea to the next level, keep your eye peeled for a future workshop at Tryon Arts and Crafts School forge in which you can make a forged iron lamp base to use with your lampshade.
Friday night, May 18, from 6-8 p.m., will be a meet and greet with a brief discussion on design, color and planning. Students will have a chance to start their design that evening. During Saturday’s session, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., students will assemble their base sheets and load them into the kilns. On Sunday, students will see their fused sheets, drill any holes required for a lamp fitting and select a form on which to shape their shade. Sunday will also feature a review and discussion of technical information.
O’Rourke and Shaffer are glass and clay artists whose artistic partnership started when Shaffer needed an extra pair of hands to complete a mosaic mural for an installation. O’Rourke rolled up his sleeves and stepped right in it. They said it has been an ARTventure ever since.
Whether it’s a chessboard, lampshade or vessel, each piece has a new lesson to learn, O’Rourke and Shaffer said. “You get better every time you do it, even if it is the same thing,” they said.
As part of the South Carolina Arts Commission Artist in Residency program, O’Rourke and Shaffer create site-specific artwork made in part by their students. Their pieces can be found in the City of North Charleston and at various schools in the Carolinas. They also consult for the glass industry.
They exhibit in local juried fine art shows, gift shops and art galleries throughout the Southeast. Shaffer is program director for Art in the Park Greenville and serves on the S.C. National Heritage Corridor, Anderson County board.
When not teaching or in their studio, they can be found enjoying the downtown of Greenville, S.C., O’Rourke’s hometown, where they live.
Advance registration for all classes and workshops is required. For more information about the instructor or workshop, including tuition and supply costs, contact TACS at 828-859-8323 or More details and examples of projects are available on the Tryon Arts and Crafts website,
– article submitted
by Julia McIntyre

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