KCJ Szwedzinski

Tell us about yourself.

KCJ was born in Charleston, South Carolina, and grew up in New England and South Florida before moving to Jacksonville, where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Printmaking and Art History at the University of North Florida. She received her Master of Fine Arts from the University of Louisville in Kentucky with a concentration in sculpture and glass. Her recent work investigates the intersection of Jewish legacy and lived experience- asking questions about what we choose to embody, embrace, or deny from our inherited legacies. She was recently the 2018 recipient of the Mary Alice Hadley Prize for Visual Art and spent part of the year traveling to do research at the Holocaust Center and The Jewish Contemporary Museum in San Francisco. She exhibits her work regularly across the country and recently received merit and juror awards for the 10 x 10 x 10 show in Tieton, Washington and The Blue Grass Biennial in Morehead, Kentucky. Recent exhibitions include In the Hot Seat at KMAC Museum in Louisville, KY and the Glass Art Society + Refract NW Member Showcase at Gallery Mack in Seattle. She has studied and assisted at Penland School of Craft and Pilchuck Glass School and will be spending the month of October at the Vermont Studio Center. She recently graduated and moved to Seattle, Washington.

What draws you to the material you work with?

I love glassblowing because of the team work and community aspect. I love the idea of my success being dependent on the people I am working with and vice versa. It has taught me how to listen and communicate more effectively as well as how to check my ego. I also really enjoy kilnforming, printmaking, and metal working for different reasons. I’m drawn to these processes due to the need for problem solving. I find it very satisfying to be confronted with a project that needs to be worked through and then arrive at a solution.

What themes do you pursue in your work, and why have you chosen the processes that you use in your work?

My practice questions the authenticity of history. Utilizing the framework of inherited legacy, I probe both personal familial narratives and societal power structures to consider methods of indoctrination. I am interested in how we choose to embody, embrace, or deny our inherited legacies and how these choices manifest intergenerationally to shape historical narratives.

What is your dream project?

I would love to be given $100,000 and 1 year to do a research project and have an accompanying exhibition.

What is something most people do not know about you?

I recently moved to Seattle so a lot of people here don’t know that I am also a service dog trainer. I am president and co-founder of Project Chance which raises and trains service dogs for kids with autism and other invisible disabilities.

Why are you a member of GAS?

Community is one of the biggest reasons I love glass so much and GAS hears, supports, and organizes for the benefit of artists working in glass today. GAS connects people to opportunities and educational experiences and is a trusted destination for information. I have had exhibition and job interview opportunities through the GAS website and met incredible people while I was the student liasion for the University of Louisville.

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