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Grand Opening Open Studio
Story & Photographs by JR Compton
Art Spaces Index
Bowman Hot Glass grand opening open studio, 1419 C Griffin Street East, 1-8 Saturday April 20, 2001 for glassblowing demos, art glass for sale, refreshments, and live music , 214 426-4777
'd been meaning to go by Jim and Marylynn Bowman's new studio for several months. I knew it was on Griffin Street East in The Cedars area across the I-30 "canyon" from downtown Dallas, near Old City Park. The image floating in my brain was of cramped studio space crammed in some low slung warehouse.
So I wasn't prepared for the ranch-like structure, or the wide open spaces inside their amazing new place of business. I did fully expected beautiful and colorful glass in all its luminous wonders and forms, and in that I was not disappointed.
When they lived down the street (literally) from me in elderly East Dallas, there was always something strange and translucent 'growing' in their flower garden out front, so it wasn't surprising — but it was a pleasant visual shock — to see long thin, tubular flowers of brightly colored semisolid silica growing there against the front porch.
A bright glass cone of Christmas tree balls brightened the top of the porch, and we could already hear the lilting strains of western swing played live by Tom Morrell and the Time Warp Top Hands.
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All around the the wide rooms were wondrous bits of glass, including this luscious ladder house by Marylynn that Kathy particularly liked, and...
this large — maybe four feet high — deep blue, virtual vase in a nearby corner that I still admire — as much for its negative space substance as its cast indigo shadows and short red pedestal.
My unsubstantiated understanding is that Jim blows the glass, so is probably responsible for the more three dimensional works. And Marylynn does flatter, window glasses and constructed pieces, although I'm sure there's overlap. Kathy and I were both taken by Marylynn's enigmatic piece in the recent Garden of EASL benefit exhibition.
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Perhaps my favorite of the Bowman vessels on view was this candy colored, slumped bowl that had, by accidental or strange purpose, lost most of its containing powers, except it still holds my attention. Beautiful and gently amazing.
Gradually, as we wandered around, and the immensity of space slowly sunk into our consciousness, we discovered lots more glass art almost everywhere we looked. Over the band. Over the refreshments ( above ).
On wide, clean desktops all around the contiguous spaces, where the couple are constructing glass art for a variety of clients.
And, of course, in all the windows. Every time I'd let my eyes linger over one treasure, Kathy would point out new ones. She liked this window, far right on the back wall, for its unusual stained glass shapes...
Although much the same could be said of this more ambitious piece of translucence over the busy kitchen sink. I have, on rare occasions, when the art was much less stellar than here, judged exhibitions on the merits of the foods served alone. But whenever we'd find something we liked at this opening, more would be delivered, and we'd have to try that, too. Yum.
I'd seen — and photographed, though never as well — Jim Bowman blowing and rolling hot glass in a variety of hot houses from Oak Cliff to Deep Elm's Hickory Street. But this new, basement space and its overlooking studio provided an excellent opportunity to try again. And Kathy hadn't seen Jim in action.
So we were both joyed to get to watch Jim and an assistant cook up some new hot glass as we — and more than a dozen others — watched in quietly boisterous, friendly fascination.
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