Hot Topics at Glass Art Society > Member Monday: Demetra Theofanous
posted on 12:32 PM, July 25, 2016
Demetra Theofanous, Protection, Constraint, 2013
View the member profile of Demetra Theofanous HERE.
- Tell Us About Yourself!
I am a San Francisco based artist, working primarily in flameworked glass and pâte de verre. I got my start in glass through a bead workshop, and was quickly addicted to this medium. I also took an incredible class from pâte de verre masters, the Higuchis, who introduced me to casting, and the painstaking process of pâte de verre. I spent years experimenting and developing the techniques to create my work, with support from my other half, Dean Bensen. He is also a glass artist, and his encouragement and knowledge has been a big part of my growth as well. We have worked together in the hot shop for years, and I have always found the crossover from the hot shop to the torch very intuitive and helpful. I have also been very fortunate to TA for Robert Mickelsen, who has been instrumental in my growth as an artist as well. I spend most of my time developing my work, and exhibit internationally, with work in public and private collections. I also teach nationally, and serve as Board President of the Glass Alliance of Northern California.
What draws you to the material you work with, and why have you chosen the processes that you use in your work?
I have been fascinated with molten glass since seeing a video of glassblowing in 2nd grade. The optical qualities of glass combined with immediacy of the material were mesmerizing. As I have experimented with different disciplines within glass (furnace glass, flameworking, pâte de verre ) I am intrigued by the endless possibilities in this medium.
I enjoy working with borosilicate glass because I can achieve greater scale and/or detail through multiple firings over a period of months. I also am very drawn to the detail and realism that is attainable in the pâte de verre process.
- What themes do you pursue in your work?
Technique merges with narratives in my work, to express metaphorical bridges between nature and human beings. I am inspired by the storytelling tradition of woven tapestry and basketry, and see myself as weaving with glass to connect the viewer with the story of the natural world. The cycles of nature give me a foundation to express themes such as rebirth, transformation, and renewal. I also explore themes of protection and personal growth, and the tension therein.
- What is your dream project?
My dream project….is always evolving and changing so it is hard to say. I enjoy working with kids and seeing those moments of discovery. Any project that gives back and inspires others would be amazing!
If you weren't working in this field, what career would you choose?
Having already worked in another career, it is hard to imagine doing anything that does not involve art!
- Why are you a member of GAS?
Flameworking is a very solitary art form. Being a member of GAS gives me the opportunity to be a part of an international network of artists, and most importantly to learn. I believe strongly in the importance of education, collaboration, and community, and GAS has these elements at its foundation.
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