Wimberley Glassworks would like you to meet our newest member of our staff, our Architectural Lighting Designer, Ashley Main. Ashley comes to us all the way from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She graduated from Parsons The New School for Design in New York City.
Ashley's parents let her take a lot of art classes, including water color, oil painting and sculpture. While attending the University of Calgary she originally intended to go on and take a Master’s in Architecture. During her studies in sculpture, one of her professors, Ron Kostyniuk noticed her propensity for sculpting lamps, and encouraged her toward the study of lighting design, pointing her to Parsons.
“It was a dream for me to do this type of work, but I didn't know people could actually do this as a job,” she says. “I couldn't imagine how the team and all the resources would come together.”
In her work with us, the artistic component is primary. Most of what she does are art installations and they involve precise lighting to bring out the proper effects. Her Master's is in architectural lighting, which she found she wanted to incorporate more of her passion for traditional visual arts into her work while focusing on the dynamics and technical details of the work. Both aspects of her background serve her well now in her projects, since they involve her interacting with teams of individuals from various disciplines.
“Being familiar with all the electrical processes and structures that make up the lighting really helps,” she says. “Factors always come up that require adaptations, based on the other elements of the structure that could interfere with or alter the implementation and final effect of the art installation.”
One of the biggest challenges she faces is the “Ish-factor” that comes up when working with blown glass. There is a lot of variability in hand-blown glass that you need flexibility in the design of the lighting to accommodate it, and vice versa. The use of 3-D modeling software helps, but communication is the real key.
Ashley often goes back and forth between team members, sorting out issues and concerns, explaining the factors involved with making the glass pieces. For example, a lot of new clients are not aware that making a glass prototype to specifications may take several days, due to the need for the glass to cool, be washed and polished, and then shipped. In addition, the weight of the hot glass as it is blown through the pipe is a limiting factor, so each piece has to be kept to human scale, and variability among pieces will exist. This is because the material itself interacts with the temperature of the furnace, and the movements of the glass blowers to shape the piece. This is not assembly line work, but the grace and beauty of the process are a part of the overall effect.
Ashley has been with us for eight months now, and she is settling in to the area and her role, which is satisfying her artistic spirit. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org she is happy to consult with you on your art installation or lighting design needs.