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Foster takes broken glass and turns it into art

Artist Profile: The creative side of our community

September 28, 2017
By STEVE LESTER , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - Robin Foster has her own ideas of artist supplies that most definitely do not include paints, easels, clay or canvas.

For her it's more like Bombay Safire gin bottles, bed springs, auto taillights and the bottoms of wine glass stems. As long as there is some type of glass in the mix, she combines unconventional materials with it and melts it all in a kiln in what would otherwise be a two-car garage at her Lake Placid home on Sentinel Road to come up with such things as dishes, jewelry, hair pins, night lights or whatever else she can think of.

"It's great fun, and I love doing it," she said.

Article Photos

Photos provided — Steve Lester
Robin Foster

Although she always took art classes in high school and then added two more at Ocean County Community College in central New Jersey, she never gave much thought to melting down glass articles in a kiln until she took such a class from Meredith Treska in Saranac Lake at BluSeed Studios about 10 years ago, she said.

"I do a design of layered glass, which goes into the kiln and melts together. It's called 'fusing.' Then I do a second firing in the kiln where the glass either fuses into or over a mold. This is called 'slumping,'" she explained. "A potter friend has made some molds, but a lot of them I've purchased."

She took a second class on this topic in Malone, this time using recycled glass.

"So I started experimenting with metals like copper, steel and various found objects. I connect them to the glass thanks to a friend of mine who does some soldering," she said.

Her pieces can often be found at area craft shows and on display at the Adirondack Art Association's gallery on 2754 Essex Road in Essex, where she also serves on the Art Association's board.

She came to this area in 1979 from central New Jersey, she said.

"I was young, the Olympics were coming, and my sister and her husband were here," she said. "So I just came up and stayed."

To support herself, she said she "waitressed, bartended and had fun." Then she got serious in her late 30s and earned a nursing degree. After serving at various area medical facilities, she became what she called "the house RN" three years ago at Sunmount Developmental Disabilities Services Office in Keeseville.

"I love it there," she said. "It's the perfect job for me."

So next time you find a broken taillight alongside the road or a few gin bottles in the trash, or maybe a loose bed spring lying around the attic, try taking it to Ms. Foster and watch her concoct something creative out of it with her hands and then her kiln.

 
 

 

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