I recently had the pleasure of having a studio experience at Sage Place, Bandon’s glass fusing studio on 11th St. SE across from Bandon Supply. My mother-in-law was visiting from Eastern Washington, and it sounded like a fun activity for us on a somewhat dreary day.
Anne Sabbota, owner, artist, and instructor greeted us enthusiastically and, after a quick tour of the store, led us back to the studio area where she had set up spots for us with some of the necessary tools and supplies for whatever we decided to create. She oriented us to the studio and explained some of our options: we could do a small project like a bookmark, garden marker or trivet, or a larger project such as a sun catcher, trivet, or dish.
My mother-in-law is a writer and poet, and I am a musician and actor, but neither of us considers ourselves visual artists, nor have we ever worked with glass. We were both true beginners. In fact, I recall literally sweating as a 4th grader during art time, trying my hardest to make something at all similar to the teacher’s example and failing miserably. We were at first a bit intimidated by the options and relative freedom we had to create whatever we wanted, but with Anne’s suggestions and happy patience, we eventually decided to each make a trivet. We were not out of the woods yet, however, as we were then presented with even more options.
We were shown various colors of square pieces of glass to use for the trivet as well as paper, fun punches, and bits of glass in a wide variety of types, colors, and shapes that could be cut, broken, and placed to create the scene and design we wanted. Again, Anne’s encouragement and patience reassured us enough to slowly settle on a direction for our trivets.
Supplied with punches, colorful paper, very thin pieces of broken glass, and tiny granulated bits of colored glass called frit, we got to work on our trivets. Starting with a square piece of glass, mine clear and my mother-in-law’s a light brown, we punched shapes and created designs. Anne hung out to chat, answer questions and help as needed as we worked hard to open our creative doors. We worked for about an hour until we were happy with our creations and left them on the table for Anne to fire in the kiln.
My mother-in-law had to return to her Spokane River home, but I am already thinking about when to return to Sage Place. With the holidays approaching, I will make plans with friends to have lunch in Old Town and then heading up the hill to the glass studio to make some bookmarks, jewelry, or wine glass charms as gifts for friends and family.
Sage Place is a very non-intimidating, welcoming environment for artists of all levels, from the advanced to the extreme beginner like me. I am living proof that anyone can walk in with absolutely no experience and even a little art anxiety and walk out having created something satisfying.