His signature pieces have been presented to presidents, prime ministers and heads of state around the world and the latest creations by local glass artist Ted Jolda are now on display in an exhibition at The Old School House (TOSH) in Qualicum Beach.
Jolda is one of Canada’s best known glass artists and his ever changing glass creations continue to win hearts including the likes of Oprah and Queen Margrethe II of Denmark.
Although Jolda calls Parksville home he has received international recognition for his work which is in collections of the royal houses of the Netherlands and England.
Working primarily in glass since 1985, Jolda continues to stretch his boundaries creating new glassware and sculptures on a daily basis.
His inspiration comes from many sources but these days the glass maestro’s enthusiasm is guided by the Englishman River as well as the ocean which are just steps from his home.
Jolda said his ocean going vessels adorned with images applied with the copper inlay method came about after collaboration with Native American artist Rafael Navarro Leiton.
“We did a series called spirit vessels which had the cave paintings from Utah where Rafael grew up and did river rafting for years. He would do the images and I would do the glass and we would make these huge pieces … some were 20 pounds and about two and a half feet high. The Queen of Denmark has one in her personal collection,” Jolda pointed out.
He said eventually they incorporated other images into the pieces.
“We started working with the fish … the salmon. Raf is quite a fisherman and my father was a commercial fisherman and it is a wonderful West Coast image,” he admitted.
Jolda confessed that when he saw one of fellow artist Dee Aguilar’s pieces a while back he decided to add even more sea life to his repertoire.
“Dee had a piece three months ago that had a prawn which she showed me. It inspired me to incorporate other sea creatures into the pieces… prawns, starfish, jellyfish. I get so excited with them and I have been working like a maniac making these pieces,” he pointed out.
Jolda has been working with copper on glass for 27 years now.
“It is a way to get direct imagery on to the glass. I cut out the little images and I score them… it is like making little paper dolls. They just translate so well,” he acknowledged.
He said the killer whales on the vessels are made out of pure silver and he spends many hours creating the delicate images.
He uses texturing tools for kelp and wave action and the result is almost like having a little fish tank when you peer into the vessels.
“It’s like looking down into the river when you look in… they come alive,” he described.
If you want to meet the talented glass artist in person, check out the Qualicum Beach Artisans Market, every Friday night this summer from 3 to 9 p.m., beside TOSH.
Also sharing the main gallery at TOSH with an extraordinary display of their internationally acclaimed work are potter Larry Aguilar and wood turner Jason Marlow.
The current exhibition, part of the 100th anniversary celebration of TOSH, features some of the finest three-dimensional work to be found on Vancouver Island.
Marlow is recognized internationally for his innovative and original pieces.
One of Canada’s most distinguished wood turners, Marlow established his studio in 1981 and uses indigenous woods of British Columbia.
Particularly known for his signature helmets, he produces large scale wall pieces and a range of smaller objects inspired by Vancouver Island forests, rivers, mountains and wildlife.
Aguilar’s reputation has grown to multiple award-winning status both as a potter and as a gardener.
The master of Bonsai is deeply influenced by the simplicity of nature and his delicate brushwork and glaze techniques evoke an Oriental flavour. Fine porcelain, functional stoneware, vibrant raku, pit-fired art pieces and lamps are created by this alchemist from mud to magic in his pottery studio and gallery in Qualicum Beach.
He has been a potter for over 30 years in Oceanside and his wife Dee joined in the studio over 10 years ago.
You can see or purchase the unique pieces by the three talented artists. The exhibition at TOSH runs until August 12.