Glass artist William Kilgore, who grew up in Lodi, California, is someone who has always enjoyed working with his hands.
“I worked on many hand-work practical projects from adolescence on. And my first craft/art experience was in wood shop in high school. I carved wooden salad tossing utensils,” he says.
After high school, William attended Columbia Junior College, Humboldt State, and Sacramento State, all without taking any art classes.
Then, from 1977 to 1983, he worked at the Humboldt County Fish Hatchery, followed by a position as Environmental Engineer at the California Department of Toxic Substances Control.
But, over that 30-year career, he confesses that he, “Doodled in many, many meetings.” Perhaps that’s why he finally took two elementary drawing classes at American River College in about 2011, followed by “…learning about and doing glass work” in 2012.
Adds William, “Initially I tried to make/explore glass beads. This got me interested in glass, but I didn’t connect with beads. I then found what is often called ‘warm glass,’ processes used to form glass at temperatures up to 1600° F rather than the 2300° F used in glass blowing. The processes can include fusing, slumping, casting, and other forming methods.”
After discovering a Portland company called Bullseye Glass, William started taking their classes in Portland and Emeryville, California in 2013. He credits these classes for “teaching me almost everything I know about working with glass.”
William retired in 2017 and reports that he’s been working
for a year to come up with pieces for his show here at the Manley Art Center and Gallery.
He adds, “I love color. I love the three-dimensionality that glass can have. I love to assemble a glass piece and then let the kiln take control of its fate. I may have worked very hard
to set the stage for it to turn out as I envision it, but it never does. Each time I put something through the kiln-forming process, it comes out with some aspect of surprise. Almost all of the surprises are positive.”
“Exploration, play, technical, color, letting go, being surprised, experiencing failures.” William says that they all give him warm feelings about glass.
Welcome him at Art Walk, December 14th from 3-6pm!