Marlene Rose and two other American glass artists were chosen by Dawn Bennett of UrbanGlass to attend the Second Biennial International Festival of Glass Art in Sofia, Bulgaria. The Biennial opening was a great success, with copious TV and radio coverage. They were treated like the rock stars of the art world that they are!
Speaking to a packed hall, Marlene shared her glass artistry and passion with nearly 100 students of the Sofia National School of Applied Arts inspiring a spontaneous ovation. The documentary of her studio glass art was a total hit
The School is for artistically gifted students and is the only functional glass facility in Sofia, the bones of which were donated by the America for Bulgaria Foundation, one of the main sponsors of the whole tour. Marlene’s task became to flesh out these bones with begged, borrowed and improvised equipment and somehow impart enough technique to allow for art to happen.
One example is the furnace at the school – it had been well made but by someone with no experience of actual usage resulting in some “interesting” safety issues. Through much ingenuity and many hand gestures, they managed to get a workable setup and persuade a vital extra few hundred degrees from the furnace. This showed the students (and their teachers) what could be done, even with the limited facilities they had.
Marlene believes she was able to show them that they could make good art with what they had. The rest is up to them. And given the students’ voracious desire for knowledge, their surprising command of English (especially amongst the younger ones), she expects good things to come from this incredible experience.
Marlene met and made many friends in Sofia and hopes that she in some small way contributed to the rebirth of glass art in this beautiful country, known in Europe as “The Rose of the Balkans.”