Foster’s Beauties is a family affair. Scott, Aviva and their daughter Ellie make up this talented team of artists. The Fosters create beautiful functional art through fusing glass and wood turning. Each piece, whether a bowl, tray, trinket or dish, is creatively designed and reflects the Fosters’ passion and love for their art and for each other.
The Fosters’ Beauty: The Fosters are a family that creates and plays together beautifully. When listening to them share their story, it is apparent they not only love their work and art, but love each other. You see it in their eyes and hear it in their voices. It resonates in their art. They radiate a passion and energy that fills the room and leaves you smiling and wanting to make your own art. I think they are not only creating beautiful art, but also living with beauty.
Foster’s Glass: The Fosters design and create dishes, trinkets, bowls, coasters and heart sculptures from fused glass. Ellie creates with them too. The first piece they showed me was made from powdered glass that was fused onto a sheet of glass in a design. The piece looked almost like it was hand painted, but not quite. The design becomes part of the glass through the fusing process.
Powder Print: Aviva explains this process is somewhat similar to screen printing. She creates the designs using silhouette software and bases them on photos. The screens are like stencils, and are used in the long process of fusing the glass. The powdered glass is even finer than sand, with its own emulsion properties. The powder is fused onto a sheet of glass for texture or as a smooth surface. Aviva says she learned this process from Stacy Lynn Smith, who developed it.
Blobs of Glass: The Fosters also work with torches. They start with a rod of glass and use a torch to shape it as it heats up. Aviva reports that “it’s easy to get lost in a blob of molten glass. It’s mesmerizing.” They shape the rods before placing the shapes into the kiln. They begin the work with a shape in mind, but sometimes the rod morphs into something else. The Fosters told me they “never refuse to refuse.” Leftover glass can be crushed to powder or melted to create something new.
Meeting Glass: Aviva worked with fabric and sewing prior to fusing glass, sewing brooches and hair items. But one day she fell in love with a piece of glass work at an art show. She bought the piece without knowing what was involved to create it. The next year, Aviva planned a very late birthday party for Ellie at Live Laugh Love Glass, where Ellie and her friends got the chance to fuse glass.
Bringing Glass Home: Aviva watched Ellie and her friends having so much fun, she decided she wanted to do it too! Aviva went back to Live Laugh Love Glass three times and decided she wanted to fuse glass at home. Scott jumped on board and said they should just get a kiln, and they found one on Craigslist and brought it home. The glass addiction began.
The Science of Glass: At first, Aviva didn’t feel comfortable programming the kiln. Scott, who is an electrical engineer, dived right in. Scott explains there is a lot of science involved in glass work. It changes color and changes shape depending on the elements in it. He took some classes and learned through trial and error. Ellie got hooked too. She created a science project for school to test how different compositions of glass move differently when heated.
The Wood Shop: Scott has loved working with wood for a long time – in fact since childhood. Scott originally started by making furniture. When the Fosters moved into their house, he finally had room for his wood shop. Scott started collecting tool of all types – saws, hand tools, tables. Then he thought turned table legs might a good idea, so he added a lathe to his tool collection.
As the Wood Turns: But Scott never actually turned a stable leg. He started playing at first by making a bowl. He had a lot of fun, and he admits he enjoyed the faster gratification. He could complete a project much quicker. He started working with segmented wood turning and has never really looked back.
The Design: When Scott talks of his work, he can’t hide how much he loves wood turning, He likes the puzzle of figuring out how to cut the pieces of wood and place them together to create the design. He sees the beauty before it is born. He sketches and calculates. He imagines and cuts. Then he turns and creates a piece of functional art that is just as wonderful to look at as it is to use.
The Vase: Scott and Aviva told me the story of a vase. Scott’s father-in-law wanted a wood turned vase, but the vase needed to be able to hold water and be reusable. Scott was up to the challenge. He turned what I would call a vase sleeve or jacket. A glass vase could easily slip in and out of the piece. It seems all the wood turning pieces are like this vase. They are more than art work, but pieces cleverly imagined and designed to have beauty in function and aesthetic.
Dazzling on Skates: I’m not quite sure where the Fosters get all their time to do the things they do. Scott works full time. Ellie goes to school. They create their art, and Scott and Ellie roller skate. Ellie started skating at Oaks Park and started getting pretty good. One day she saw some roller skaters doing tricks and decided she wanted to do tricks too. It didn’t take long for a coach to discover her, and Ellie’s skating experience began. Scott also started skating, and now they both compete individually on roller skates.
Show and Tell: Scott and Aviva brought out several pieces for me to see. These pieces are so intricate, so beautiful, and so imaginative. Their work is one of a kind and work to cherish. Their talent and love of their work shines from the pieces. But just as beautiful was the way the family interacted, shared their story, and shared their joy in what they do and their love for each other.