Fused glass classes support artistic expression, friendship

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Soon after the 2011 opening of the Apex Simms Street Center, an artistic community was born. Today, this thriving and enthusiastic group creates, collaborates and shares their passion for fused glass. Kay Palmer, who coordinates the art program at the center, is a big fan of this unique medium. “It’s very forgiving,” she says. New artists can quickly see the beautiful results of their efforts, while experienced artists love the way planning and outcomes blend together in delightful and sometimes surprising ways.

There’s also the energy, creativity and talent that the artists bring to the table. Several years ago, instructor Kay Wilson started out as a student. It wasn’t long before fused glass took up residence in her heart and mind. “Everybody brings ideas, and I really enjoy the collaboration. They are supportive of each other.”

Another long-time student is Jean Kotecki. Jean, who has attended the fused glass classes for more than 4 years, has lived with Guillain-Barre Syndrome for 25 years. Throughout this experience, there is a common thread: doing what needs to be done. For example, she re-learned how to drive so she could take her son to kindergarten. Fused glass also was a path to accomplish a goal; she was looking for an active hobby. For her, as with many of the other students, the activity goes beyond the beautiful art she creates. “We leave our troubles at the door, we know each other’s stories, and we look out for each other. Best of all, there are no mistakes.” Jean says that her family and friends love her gifts of fused glass, and eagerly anticipate holidays, which bring the possibility of a treasured piece of art.

Jean also expressed another benefit of the creative process: the way it absorbs an artist’s thoughts and energy. “When I’m in the studio, I can’t think about anything else,” she says.
That thought is echoed by this quote from author Thomas Merton: Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.”

Kay Palmer agrees with the artists’ emphasis on the collaborative aspect of their work. “It’s about like-minded people getting together for an activity. Everyone is open and supportive, they all have a specialty and they bring great ideas to the community.”

Apex Simms Street Center fused glass classes also offer prospective students a great teacher-student ratio, lots of individual attention, and opportunities to quickly see great results. The medium is relatively inexpensive and the studio is well equipped. All this for a very affordable price – less than $10 per hour for most classes! Fused glass is in session year-round at the Apex Simms Street Center, 11760 West 82nd Avenue.

The art studio also offers pottery classes, art parties, one-day programs, and activities for youth and adults. For the complete schedule, visit apexprd.org or contact Kay Palmer, 303.467.7120 or kayp@apexprd.org.