This month’s artist spotlight is the one and only Max Tsimerman! He is a truly talented glass artist with an amazing personality that can’t be beat! Read below to learn more about him!
Where are you originally from?
Born and raised in St. Louis, MO. My parents immigrated here from the USSR and arrived when my mom was still pregnant with me.
How did you begin working with glass?
2012 – I wandered into a small glass studio/bead shop and was hooked from the first class. Before lampworking, I played with glass a little bit when I worked with ceramics, dumping old marbles into wheel-thrown vessels and letting them melt into the bottom. I’ve always wanted to learn how to work with glass, ever since I saw demonstrations on television and at the City Museum. I visited Third Degree when I was 13 and thought it was the coolest thing; then again at 18 for a tour. I never even considered the idea that I’d be working at Third Degree, let alone teaching.
What inspires you?
Science fiction, nature, my own illustrations, other artists’ work, the colors themselves sometimes drive me to create. I read a lot of comics and I follow my favorite artists/illustrators. I challenge myself to create things that I see being made out of other materials, which drives me to constantly improve upon my own glass sculpting skills. My students inspire me constantly; everyone comes in with new ideas and plans for grand projects, and I love helping them anyway I can.
What’s in your toolbox?
First of all, it’s a leather tool wrap – made by our very own, multi-talented [artist and instructor] Britt Bauer. Inside, you will find my trusted graphite marver, an antique (pearl-handled) brass paring knife, and a tungsten pick. Really those 3 tools (and a torch) are all I need, but I also prefer to have some mashers, dental picks, mini blow tubes, different sized mandrels, tweezers, and some handmade sculpting tools for specific projects. Most important tool: safety glasses with a didymium coating.
What are you working on now?
Gargoyles, cactus plants, sea creatures, birds, cabochons, and earrings. I’m always pushing the boundaries of what I can make on such a small scale, while trying to perfect the stuff I’m already good at (but nobody’s perfect). And I frequently work on custom orders – usually pendants or custom animals/pets.
What experiences do teach and what do you enjoy about teaching?
I teach Bead Experiences (private and Third Friday), Glass Samplers, Private Instruction, and Path to Independence. Teaching is the ultimate form of practice and the highest level of learning. Every time I teach a class, I learn something new. Whether it is a new technique, a new way to convey something to my students, or just a different approach to making the same thing – I take away something from each class and use it to improve future classes. I have a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Saint Louis University, over 10 years of teaching experience (in traditional and non-traditional classroom settings), and an innate love for passing on knowledge to others – which has prepared me to engage in metacognition whenever I am leading a class. I also just love seeing those moments when my students go from having a minimal knowledge of glass to making something they are proud to show off. Taking my students from beginner lessons to advanced techniques and watching them come up with their own ideas is definitely my favorite part of teaching.
What do you love to do when not in the studio?
I’m always creating something. I love to write, I draw (and have illustrated my own and others’ writing), I customize controllers, consoles, and bikes using different painting and airbrushing techniques, I love to cook, and I play music. Whenever I’m not keeping myself busy with creative pursuits, I’m hanging out with my dogs, Jack and Stanley. I love boating, fishing, hiking (getting lost in the woods), and swimming.
You can find the Max’s latest work (and some adorable puppy pics) on Instagram, or come see his unique and creative glass work in our gallery! We are open Monday-Saturday 10:00a-5:00p and Sunday 11:00p-4:00p.