Tink Martin Is:A soft glass artist who loves to push the glass to, and sometimes beyond, its accepted limits, in her glass studio located in Toledo, Ohio.
What She Does:Tink creates intricate and detailed glass objects using what is commonly known as "soft glass" or "soda-lime" glass, incorporating commercial and her own custom varieties of glass surface treatments. Tink also uses the application of metals and the art of electroforming for many of her pieces.
Her Glass Specialty Is:Blown glass vessels. Tink's favorite glass expression is the vessel or other hollow form. Inspired by ancient vessels with their combination of beauty and utility, Tink set out to re-create these designs in soft glass. Early on, Tink was told that in order to make holow vessels at the torch, she would need to use glass tubing and pull points. That's not what Tink wanted to do, so she made herself a tiny blowpipe from a piece of automotive fuel line and proved that it could, indeed, be done!
Does Tink Teach?:Indeed she does, and all over the country, and you can find out if she'll be in your area by checking her teaching schedule. But, like Tink's vessels and beads, her classes sell out in a hurry, so sign up while you can! Tink makes every effort to get to those studios that request her. Teaching is what she loves, and her ability to teach the ways of glass and to pass on her extensive knowledge of the medium rivals her ability to make the glass she uses do exactly what she wants it to do.
Can I Purchase a Vessel?:Certainly, when Tink has work available, she will post picture of the items on her Web site, Black Swamp Glassworks. You'll need to check her site often and be prepared to move fast, though, once she does list vessels for sale. They move fast, no matter what the shape, size, color or surface treatment. Tink's vessels are very in demand, and it may be difficult to obtain one at first, but keep trying!
What is Electroforming?:Electroforming is the placement of metal to a surface, in this case, glass. The metal is contained in a type of paint, which, when applied to the glass and then exposed to an electrical current, while the glass piece is submerged in a chemical bath, causes the metal to form into a solid piece. This metal form can then be given a patina or polish, whichever is required for the finished piece.
So, is Tink a Glass Diva?:Nope. In fact, she is described by her students and by those who know her as the "anti-diva." Tink is often found giving advice, information and extending her knowledge to many in the glass world, and is not afraid to show her work, good and bad. She understands that it is important for a new glassworker to see that even the "old pros" sometimes make items suitable only for the trash can, and that not everything to enter her (or anyone's) kiln will come out a museum-quality, saleable item.
Favorite Moment When Teaching?:Is what Tink refers to as the "light-bulb moment" where she can actually see the student "get it" - whether it be a particular type of glass manipulation, a technique or even just the basics, seeing her students learn is what excites Tink most when she is sharing her knowledge.
More About Tink:Tink's love for the vessel extends back to her childhood, and her early visits to the Toledo Museum of Art, where she often went as a child. Working regularly over the last four years, Tink has been instrumental in the addition of the new Glass Pavilion at the Toledo Museum of Art, where she is engaged as a regular teacher at the Museum's School of Art and design.
"One of the most wonderful aspects of the new Pavilion" Tink says, with obvious enthusiasm, "is that the Museum's incredible glass collection is right there at hand. I can take students on a stroll through glass history, even focusing on the incredible collection of ancient glass vessels. I really feel it adds several layers of depth to the experience for students."
Not only is Tink concerned with her students while they are in her classroom, she encourages them to keep in touch with her. Tink loves to hear from her students and to see the objects they have created using the skills she imparts. Does she worry about being copied? Nope, Tink's attitude on this volatile issue is that anything she teaches should be used. "They're VESSELS, for Pete's sake, and I teach people how to make them! I encourage students to take what they learn in class, go forth, and MULTIPLY!" A refreshing attitude, in this era of guarding of techniques and the constant worry that another bead artist may emulate or even make a direct copy of one of your beads.
Tink is in every way a delightful and encouraging glass artist, who is excited about the medium, enthusiastic about the opportunity to share her techniques and happy to help her students learn. She is a exciting and refreshing personality in the glass world, and it id hard not to become infected with her sheer delight in the art of glass forming.
If you want to study glass bead and vessel-making with a Master, keep your eye out for classes in your area by Tink and her partner John. They will most likely be teaching at a studio near you in the coming months!