It is with the saddest heart that I write this post. My very first glass blowing teacher, Garry Cohen, is fighting a losing battle with cancer. As of this writing he is in the final stages. In 1986, when I took my first glassblowing class, Garry was my teacher. We had a natural and easy friendship. For the next two years, every time Garry blew glass, I was privileged to be his assistant. Some years later he built his own studio and asked me to help. I learned so much from him about building equipment and studios. In fact, when I built my first studio in 2001, it looked very much like Garry’s first studio.
Over the years, after I opted to become a fulltime artist, Garry was always there to help me in oh so many ways, both as a teacher and a friend. Before I learned just how serious his situation really was, I went to the Boehm Gallery at Palomar College where I studied glass with Garry and arranged for his first and only solo show, a retrospective of his work called “A Journey through the Burning Sands.”
This is going to be a great show. If you are in the San Diego area, the show opens on November 15 and runs through December 8, with a reception on December 1. Please come and see it.
At one time or another Garry was responsible for teaching most of the professional glass blowers in San Diego. Certainly, I never would have been successful had he not taken me under his wing and mentored me for so many years. So many glassblowers here in San Diego can say the exact same thing.
While I have never curated a show, it is an amazing experience. After many years of working with Garry and so many years as a professional myself, I thought myself an equal. Wow, was I ever wrong. As I examined his historical pieces from his career, I was awe-struck at his creativity, talent and journeyman’s skill. I guess being close to someone sometimes blinds you to their talents. I’m good at what I do, but in my best year, I was not even close to my friend and teacher.
Really, you owe it to yourselves to visit this gallery show. Garry Cohen is one of the last truly talented glass artists from the beginning of the San Diego contemporary art glass movement. Find more information here: //www2.palomar.edu/boehmgallery/