True collaboration occurs when the input of more than one person is essential to the concept and outcome of the work.
When we started working together on glass pieces our roles were very distinct. Stephanie was carried away with color and very skilled at varying the outcome of the color composition. Different glasses have very different characteristics that causes “form to follow color” in the blowout. Hugh was more capable of handling the crazy behavior of the resulting multicolored mass.
As the color work has gotten more complex and the scale and refinement of forms have taken a leap, we act more to assist each other as needed throughout the progress of each piece. Most of the time we have a general idea of what we are shooting for. Sometimes we let it evolve as we go, but we always work to agree on the final outcome before we call it finished. We talk a lot before, during and after making a piece.
Still, occasionally, the glass has a mind of its own. This sometimes leads us in new directions, forcing us to cooperate with the natural behavior of the material. We borrow shape ideas from many cultures and periods as we explore ideas derived from nature in developing the range of our pieces. The diverse forces of the Big Island of Hawai’i have been our main inspiration, from the ocean view from our front porch, to green pasture and forests behind us on the slopes of Mauna Kea and every micro environment from Kona to Volcano where Pele’s fiery forces have led to some of our most visually powerful pieces.
We feel that we have moved away from literal pictorial interpretation, for instance almost reportive lava flow images, to more abstracted reference to the color, heat, and force. It may seem that we are working toward complexity, but we fell we are working toward impact, sometimes complex, but just as often subtle. We have said that perhaps the most creative thing we have done is to create this working relationship. With nature as a constant inspiration, the glass pieces are the natural outcome.
Hugh Jenkins and Stephanie Ross