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Glassblowing

The artwork and shared thoughts of Gary Borkan.

Gary Borkan,

Q: What first compelled you to become an artist? Who/what were your influences?

A:  I have always loved art, but never felt I had talent to do it. But after many years of hearing “you don’t necessarily need talent”, I started to go to various art classes around Boston: painting, drawing, sculpture and really enjoyed it.  I always was interested in learning to blow glass, I don’t know why. The opportunity came through Hourglass Gifts in Melrose which had a glassblower, Walter Prince, who offered a workshop that I took. There I met Ken Ostrow who it turns out I already knew from being antique dealers…and Ken and I started to work together. It has been ten years now.

Q: What is your current work about? What are you trying to explore and how has that evolved since you started

A:  Although I am still trying to perfect my forms and techniques in glass blowing (and often despairing of ever getting it right), I like to make pieces that invite picking up and studying… not just forms that look the same from any angle. Lately I enjoy wrapping color on the outside of glass vessels to make a rather abstract and irregular pattern, and see if interesting effects happen. Most glass has layers of color sandwiched between layers of clear glass, but lately I enjoy putting the color on the outside and have found this can have surprising effects quite different from “cased” glass.

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Q: What is your connection to the Melrose Arts community?  Is it important to you to be part of a creative community?

A:  I really enjoy knowing other artists in Melrose, it is a close community, and much centers around the Hourglass shop run by Lorrie DiCesare. I have been active in the Melrose Arts group, and also putting on monthly art shows at Beebe Estate.  It has provided a lot of close friendships with common interests that feel very positive.

Q: What do you do when you’re not working on art?

A:  I am a full time antique dealer specializing in antique posters and prints, especially military posters. My entire business is based on my website: rare-posters.com

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Q: What advice do you have for younger artists, particularly local ones?

A:  I think it is great to get involved with the local community of artists. Melrose Arts is a great organization, but it is always challenging to bring in new artists, especially younger ones in early adulthood.

Q: What kind of legacy do you hope to leave?

A:  I just feel good knowing that among all the things I have done in my life, perhaps there will be a few pieces of “Gary Borkan Glass” sitting on shelves and being enjoyed, even 200 years from now.

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