Name: Ralph McCaskey
Home: San Pablo, California
Day Job: Teaching glass flameworking at The Crucible and the Richmond Art Center and Standardized Patient at Touro University (yes, it’s an acting job at a medical school – just like Kramer on Seinfeld…..)
How did you get started making?
Working street art faires with my father and his friends in the late 1950s and early 1960s certainly pointed me in the right direction. I have always enjoyed working with my hands (shop class and the Boy Scouts helped to keep me in school as a youth). I find that creating art and function in 3 dimensions is the most satisfying endeavor, with sharing any relevant knowledge a really close second.
Oh, yeah: one of my favorite toys was my Erector set (along with some other construction kits.)
What type of maker would you classify yourself as?
A neo-traditionalist – I enjoy incorporating newer technologies into traditional (even ancient) techniques. (‘fun-loving’ would be a fair call, too…..)
What’s your favorite thing you’ve made?
As of this minute, I am still aglow with the completion of a sculptural glass bead (with embellishments) titled “Adventure Bird – The Most Interesting Bird In The World.”
What’s something you’d like to make next?
Oddly enough, I am currently elbow-deep in a sculptural piece with no glass whatsoever in it. It consists of bamboo, wire and handmade paper, and is completely intuitive (the closest thing to automatic writing that I have experienced.)
Any advice for people reading this?
Try it! Do not fear failure. Embrace it, follow it. (Be sensibly safe, though….and make sure that any mistakes are fresh ones.)
Much (even most) of my innovations are a direct result of some sort of failure, which really only helps point the way toward success.
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