The Orion

Artist of the Week: Robert Winget

Robert+Winslet+is+a+fourth-year+ceramicist+and+glassblower+Photo+credit%3A+Sean+Martens
Robert Winslet is a fourth-year ceramicist and glassblower Photo credit: Sean Martens

Robert Winslet is a fourth-year ceramicist and glassblower Photo credit: Sean Martens

Robert Winslet is a fourth-year ceramicist and glassblower Photo credit: Sean Martens

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Robert Winslet is 21-year-old ceramacist and glassblower from Mountain View, where he started his artistic career in a high school class. He is in his fourth year at Chico State and hopes to finish his Fine Arts degree by the end of next year.

How did you start making art?

Back in high school, I started taking ceramics just as a fun class because some of my friends were taking it and I ended up getting really into it, so I decided that I wanted to find a university with a good ceramics program so I could continue that journey in college. After graduating from high school, I found Chico State and their ceramics department. I came up to talk to some professors and show them my work, and they told me that they would love to teach me here and that I could do great things, so that made the decision pretty easy.

How did you start getting into glass-blowing?

When I first came to Chico State, the hot-shop was in the middle of the rebuild, they had just taken the building down the year before I had arrived, and the new hot-shop opened two years after I got here. So the entire time I had been here, I was taking ceramics classes every semester and starting to branch out into other art classes because to complete an art major, you have to expand beyond your area. So that’s where I first took a kiln, slumping, fusing and casting class with Rob Herhusky. That was where I started to learn about the basics of glass. I learned early that glass as a medium is something that I am personally attached to, both inside and outside of my work. I love looking at glass art almost as much as ceramics… well, right now they’re about even. Back then, the exposure in that class was great, but having the hot-shop open revealed a whole new world. Before, I was splitting my time in the two studios, but once the hot-shop opened, I started to mainly prioritize my time in glass instead of ceramics.

What was the point where you decided to take up art as a career?

It was some point between my freshmen and sophomore year (of college). When I was a freshman, I came undeclared, but I knew I was going to be signing up for ceramics every semester because I liked it that much. I was talking to some people I had met who aren’t in college but are around the same age, and they told me that if I’m going to pick a career where I am working the same job for ten years, it had better be something I enjoy or I am going to hate my life. I thought, “oh, that’s great advice.” I definitely think that even if I don’t make much money, I could be happy being a ceramicist or an artist so that is how I landed here.

What inspires you?

A lot of (my inspiration) is community-based. I think without the support and feedback-both positive and negative-from friends and family, I would not continue doing what I do. A lot of it is self-motivated; I find that throwing on the wheel or blowing glass is a good way to almost meditate or relax, as long as I’m not trying to make something too technical or intensive, it’s a calming activity. That being said, currently I’ve been TAing for the beginning glass-blowing class and I’ve realized that teaching beginners how to blow glass and watching their face the first time they pull molten glass out of the furnace is the coolest f*****’ feeling. They are giddy with excitement (and) it’s just really fun. So I don’t know what profession I’m going to end up in, but I know I want to make art and eventually, I want to teach. I don’t know where I’m gonna land first or second, but those are the directions I want to move in.

 

Mitchell Kret can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_arts on Twitter.

 

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Artist of the Week: Robert Winget