Charles Flickinger

October 20th – from 6:00 to 10:00PM
by appointment until October 30th

My first mentor, my grandmother, Lucile Freer (we called her “Bammy”), was a ceramist. As a child, I spent a good deal of time in her studio where she taught me to slip-cast vases, build coil bowls and shape clay dogs. When she showed me how to make curly poodle hair by pushing clay through a sieve, I was enthralled.

What I recall most, however, was our middle-of-the-night visits to her pitch black studio. Bammy would crack the kiln open a few inches. A glowing band of red and orange would radiate out along with a sudden rash of intense heat. We’d briefly glance inside to see how the glazes were firing.

As the founder of Flickinger Glassworks, a glass bending facility based in Red Hook, Brooklyn, it is therefore not surprising that my business uses high intensity kilns to mold all kinds of custom curved glass used by designers, architects and others. How many of you, for instance, have arranged to meet someone “under the terminal clock” in Grand Central Station’s main hall? That venerable curved glass clockface, which had become broken over time, was restored by my shop in ‘98.

Although much of what I do is technical problem solving for others, I never lost the fervor that Bammy instilled in me to pursue my own artistic endeavors. Sumi-e brush painting is one passion of mine. For a long time, I’ve also constructed collages out of used paper coffee filters. I tear the coffee-stained filters apart and hand-stitch them back together in abstract patterns resembling maps and trails.

More recently, I have been creating these fused glass tiles and bowls using a technique I learned from Karl Harron, a northern Ireland glass artist. I limit myself to two colors: French vanilla and white. Using sheet glass, stringers (glass threads) and frit (glass gravel), I fire the objects in a kiln, causing the materials and colors to meld. Once cool, I etch, engrave, slice and fuse them into patterns evoking things like Red Hook’s cobblestone streets, constellations, the waves of New York harbor, Japanese characters or Ohio cornfields.

I love that no two tiles or bowls are ever exactly alike. And I love that, working this way, I am constantly reminded of Lucile. Especially when I return from an overnight firing and open the kiln door to see how they — almost magically — turned out.

To learn more about Flickinger Glassworks or other of my projects, including my custom tableware, go to[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]