In today's podcast I'll be joined by Ceramic Artist Nikki Lau to talk about her recent residency at the Pittsburgh Glass Center with Crash Course in Neon as a participant in the upcoming exhibition Full Spectrum: Visionaries Elevating Art Craft, and Design and will be opening February 4th, 2022. The exhibition showcases visionary makers of color from around the country who are producing extraordinary craft objects, while illustrating the vast number of pathways to a successful and meaningful career.
Hello Podcast listeners, before you checkout today's episode I want to thank everyone for their support for Taming Lightning, especially those who are supporting me through Patreon. They help cut the cost of hosting the podcast, and for their contributions receive some additional benefits. Just recently, 2 new patrons have selected the $5 tier, in which they will get a personal shout on the Podcast: Wayne Strattman and James Akers, they will also be listed on taming lightning website on my page of patrons, which includes those who have supported Taming Lightning through donations on ko-fi, their time as a guest on the podcast, small fundraisers, and even gifts be it supplies, equipment, and or services.
And If you've been following the blog Iâve been updating or adding new editions from the Intro to Plasma Series, pulling out sections of the video podcast, expanding, and adding better visuals all repackaged into mini presentations for quick and easy access.
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Nikki Lau was born and raised in San Francisco, CA. She was a 2010-2011 Alumni of AmeriCorps/Public Allies, resulting in her work shifting to themes of social justice and identity politics. She received her MFA with a concentration in ceramics at Pennsylvania State University in State College, PA in 2016 where she was awarded the Bunton Waller Assistantship.
After graduating from Penn State, Nikki moved to Philadelphia, PA. She joined the all womanâs art collective This Many Boyfriends Club. Sheâs exhibited her work across the US. She has collaborated and worked with several non-profits in Philly including Spiral Q, The Clay Studio, Sankofa Farms, The Horticulture Center, PAWS, and Fleisher Art Memorial. She loves cooking for her friends and recently finished up a one-year artist residency at The Clay Art Center in Port Chester, New York, and was Ceramics Artist-in-Residence at Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. She is currently living in PA running a small batch pottery business, called Little Lau Shop.
In todayâs podcast we have American Classic Neons with Tim Takacs! This is my first visit to Tim's Neon Shop, we were introduce by a mutual friend. Worked at Steamfitters Union shop Heating and Air Cooling Service, and found himself enamored by neon when he was young 18 year old, but found himself doing neon part-time. Today 15 years in he's a full time Neon Bender with endless collections of Neon Signs.
Our goal with this podcast is to bring to light the trials and tribulations of building your own neon shop from scratch, making long-lasting units, and keeping the neon fires going for future generations. Won't you join us?
I hope you enjoyed the podcast. This was one of my first experiences facilitating part of the residency. Though when I look back at it, it really isnât so very different than being an artist assistant or TA. But what was really new was facilitating neon which, from my recent conversations since this recording has led to me believing their much work ahead of me for a full in-studio experience. I would say Frustrating and Fun are the best way to describe working with glass, especially such skillful processes like neon bending. While I fell in love with plasma first, Iâm starting to find a very strong interest in neon thanks to Nikki Lau nudge for Neon in her proposal and the well appreciated guidance and teaching of Tim Tackacs. Speaking of Tim, you can learn about him is his journey in neon on the podcast in episode 28: American Classic Neons with Tim Takacs. ( links in the show notes above)
Thank you Nikki Lau for the conversation and respect to your jumping hands first into the fires! I hope this experience has helped nudge you into the possibilities of using neon in your future works, even if your hand isnât the one bending.
I'd like to thank Pittsburgh Glass Center for supporting me as a place of research and inspiration. Plasma Art Alliance where I have access to the well of knowledge and connects me to some amazing and supportive people.
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As always Be Safe, Be Healthy, and Be Strong, and Iâll See you next time!
-Percy Echols II, Taming Lightning
Welcome to Taming Lightning, I'm Percy Echols II. I'm the creator and host of Taming Lightning, as well as the emerging plasma tech at Pittsburgh Glass Center, where I'm researching and developing a space to explore Plasma and Neon Light as an Artist Medium.