One thing is for sure: Jes Kopitske’s glass artwork is unmistakable. Guests to our gallery find themselves immediately drawn to Jes’ pedestals, captivated by the unique hand-cut patterns sandblasted into her blown glass pieces. On any given day that Jes comes in to rent time in our studios, she can often be seen with one or both of her uniquely inquisitive young boys in tow.
Jes is our featured artist this month at Third Friday! Learn more about her below, then come see her performing hot glass demonstrations next week at Third Friday!
What is your educational background?
I went to the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, and studied Glass, Ceramics, and mixed media there. I graduated with a BFA in 1998.
What drew you to Third Degree?
When I moved back to St. Louis in 1999, there were no public glass studios. I continued to work in ceramics, teaching at UMSL. In 2003 I attended my first Third Friday, meaning to just scope the place out. A friend who had been listening to me go on and on about glass for years ratted me out to [TDGF co-founder] Doug, who pulled me up in front of the crowd and handed me a blowpipe. I’ve been working, teaching, and entertaining at Third Degree ever since.
What is your artistic background? In what different media have you worked?
Besides working in clay, I am also a photographer and fiber artist.
What is it about glass that you love?
I love the fluidity and energy of glass. I also love the temperature! At school in upstate NY the warmest place on campus was the hot shop, and I tried to stay there as much as possible. I am not a cold weather person.
Molten glass has its own life. I enjoy the focus and discipline required to convince the glass it wants the same thing you want – to become the form you envision. I love the way glass captures light, and the endless variety of forms it can take.
What/who captures your imagination or inspires you?
Some of my work is inspired by nature, particularly growing things like flowers and trees. I love looking at Tiffany and Lalique glass for inspiration. Many art deco and nouveau images and motifs interest me, particularly in the contrasting of sharp geometric lines and patterns with the softer nature elements.
What do you like to create? What are you working on now?
My current work involves a technique in which I layer images in the glass using hot and cold techniques. I start with a solid layer of color on the glass surface, then use a resist and sandblaster to create an image. I then reheat the piece, gather more glass, and apply a second layer of color to the surface. The piece may be reworked cold then hot several times until the desired effect is achieved.
How has being a mother affected you creatively and professionally?
My kids are a major inspiration, and living in a house with lots of glass and two young, high energy boys encourages me to explore the ideas of playfulness and fragility in my work. As a full time mom, part time artist sometimes I have to keep those ideas bottled up for quite some time till I can make it into the studio!
Jes’ artwork will be featured in our gallery at Third Friday, “Kids’ Night Out”! She will also be transforming selected kids’ drawings into a 3D work of art! Come check us out!