Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Vignettes from Vermont: Ali Secor, Glassblower

Ali Secor's glass pendant necklaces are for sale
at Fiddlehead at Four Corners. Click to embiggen.
Want one? Call Fiddlehead (802) 447-1000 (AGD photo)

BENNINGTON -- Melanie Weils was walking the dog one day in Collar City when she noticed a sign in the window of Prism Glassworks. The sign encouraged apprentices to apply.

Melanie walked the dog home and told her girlfriend.

Ali Secor applied.

Twenty months later Ali Secor of Troy via RPI via Mount Anthony High via Shaftsbury is an accomplished glassblower whose pendant necklaces are for sale at Fiddlehead at Four Corners art gallery in downtown Bennington.

The names of the pieces above (left to right) are butterscotch dots ($25), honeycomb ($42), large blue/white spirals ($66), red/black with dots ($42), black sandblasted ($42) and butterscotch twisted ($25) as is the piece Ali brought to Fiddlehead on May 17 ...

... the taller, thinner piece in her right hand, that is.

Ali played field hockey and lacrosse at Mount Anthony ... 

... and it was MAU girls lax coach Tom Otero who stumbled into Fiddlehead one Sunday morning in May to tell Art Gallery Dude about one of his former players whose artistic wares, he thought, might fit right in with Fiddlehead's theme of fine, fun, funky and functional.

One thing leads to another ... and Ali walked into Fiddlehead days later with the 2 pieces you see in the photo above. She met Fiddlehead owner Joel Lentzner, who not only liked her work but loved that his gallery could showcase a local glassblower.

Six weeks later, today, Ali returned with 6 new pieces.

Ali Secor went to RPI to play lacrosse, though that didn't last long. She also went to study biochemistry, though that didn't last long, either, and she switched to psychology and biology. She earned degrees in both.

And yet, the 23-year-old chose a career in glassblowing.

She uses terms like "unobtanium frit" and "vac stack" when describing the process of blowing glass and explained how the molecular makeup of glass "is almost like liquid but it's a solid" and that's why artists can do so many cool things during the "annealing" process.

Ali blows funky-cool glass tobacco pipes for Prism but is looking toward the future. 

"I want to get out of functional and get into sculptural," she said before showing AGD an example of sculptural glassblowing in the form of a "networked pyramid" she made for Melanie, with whom she lives.

Below are 2 videos, the first a 6-minute affair with AGD today. Below that is an 8-minute video of Robert Mickleson demonstrating his skills during a class at Prism Glassworks.