SESSION 1: The Gathering

May 24 - June 4, 2021

Student applications accepted until courses are filled. Learn more about how to apply, tuition details, and more here

Artists in Residence: Natalie Ball, Erica Lord

Craftspersons in Residence: Ira Lujan, Spooner



Glassblowing, Hot-Glass Sculpting, Sandblasting, Personal Introspection & Discovery

In this course, we will encourage students to develop work that pertains to their own personal identities, ancestry, ethnicity, and family. Highlighting our own ways of connecting to our culture as instructors, we will attempt to help the students identify symbolism to their personal or historic mythologies. With this method in mind, we will explore ways of blowing and sculpting, transferring designs to glass through sandblasting, and finding a purpose for the objects which will convey information both about the maker and their intent.




Joe David is from the Nuu Chah Nulth tribe from the west coast of Vancouver Island. He has dedicated his life to the cultural art forms of his community through wood carving and design work, as well as illustration and painting. His connection to Pilchuck goes back twenty-plus years. Preston Singletary is a Tlingit tribal member living in Seattle. He first attended Pilchuck in 1984, and has been a student, gaffer, instructor, and was a collaborator with the founder’s totem pole. He is currently a member of the Pilchuck board of directors.


Glassblowing, Hot Sculpting, Coldworking, Mold Blowing

In this course, students will focus on building a foundation of skills for both blowing and sculpting in the hot shop before pushing the envelope through design and teamwork to discover what those skills can achieve. A survey of color techniques, pattern, bit working, hot and cold surface embellishment and more will give students a toolset of ways to think outside of the box when it comes to ability. Students will explore how these basic techniques can be harnessed and pushed to yield maximum creative results, using the resources at their disposal to make something bigger than the sum of its parts.



Raya Friday began working in glass in Seattle in the mid-nineties. She had spent the preceding years working as a manufacturer, instructor, designer, and independent artist. Friday earned a BFA in 2006 from Alfred University, New York. She is a proud member of the Lummi Nation, located on the eastern edge of the Salish Sea, near Bellingham, Washington. Using a variety of glass techniques from casting, blowing, sculpting, and coldworking, Friday’s work is an exploration of the beauty and strength of the Indigenous spirit. 




Hot-Glass Sandcasting, Form, Natural Science

Nature is restorative and healing! Zeroing in on natural replication as a practical approach, we’ll progress from ideation through personal observation, drawing, painting, and journaling to cultivating a skill set for mindful, sustainable castings using molten glass and wet silica sand mix. Working as a team to cast, and independently to study natural forms, we will refine parts, elements, and sequencing in playful approaches to support meaningful object making. Sharing collective resources to fuel collaboration and community building, we will also think in terms of gift giving and sharing our experiences.




Cathy Chase is both a visual and teaching artist. Teaching at Wilson High School, Tacoma, and Pratt Fine Arts Center, Seattle, gave her an appreciation of glass and its learning possibilities. Her work often references ordinary objects as they elevate into extraordinary objects of art. Pike Powers has shown paintings and sculpture internationally. She received a BFA under Dale Chihuly at Rhode Island School of Design and MFA at Yale University. As Pilchuck’s artistic director from 1993 to 2007, she pioneered numerous program expansions.


Neon, Single-Electrode Sculpture, Tube Mold Blowing, Sandcasting, Mixed Media

Examining the Neon Totem (Founder’s Pole) on campus, we see a way of honoring Pilchuck, its founders, indigenous traditions and peoples, and the place in which it stands in a merging of concepts, cultures, techniques, and creativity. This course is an opportunity to honor the significant elements in your life by using light and whatever mixed media we can round up! Working in the neon studio and Hot Shop, we will explore memorializing through bending text or imagery, mold blowing forms, understanding both single and double electrode techniques and sand casting.




David Svenson’s influence comes more from the Aurora Borealis and nature than neon advertising. He has worked with a Tlingit totem-carving team in Alaska, learning, practicing, and teaching this cultural art form, and along with Preston Singletary, was instrumental in Pilchuck’s “Founders Pole.” Kazumi Svenson came to the US to research how to illuminate her glass forms. She has continued exploring illuminating blown forms, as well as incorporating mixed media and wood carving. She is currently an instructor at the Museum of Neon Art, Glendale.


Photography, Digital Manipulation, Screen Printing, Imagery, Enamels

Spending time in both the Image Lab and Print Shop, students will balance digital manipulations with physical making as they learn to think about Indgenizing the medium of photography and how to incorporate meaningful content into compositions and/or composite images. Making sure their images have all the qualities they need to make a fantastic foundational image, they will then learn to transfer their photographic images to glass using a specialized screen-print frame that fixates to the glass. Come and reflect on identity and learn to project your reflections through the lens and onto glass!




Tomas Colbengtson is Sámi, a member of the indigenous nomadic reindeer people who live in the northern parts of Scandinavia. In his work, Colbengtson often refers to Sámi culture, investigating cultural identity, history, and Indigenous peoples’ contemporary situations. Cara Romero is a Chemehuevi photographer from the United States, and was the first executive director of the Chemehuevi Cultural Centre. She is known for her dramatic digital photography that examines Indigenous life through a contemporary view.