Hyattsville resident Erwin Timmers doesn’t just work in glass, he teaches it.
A longtime glass artist who specializes in recycled material, Timmers is the co-founder of the Washington Glass School in Mount Rainier.
The Hyattsville Wire caught up with Timmers by email recently.
How did you get started in glass? What drew you to the medium?
I started as a metal sculptor, often using light in my work. Glass was such a natural addition to my art. It was tough to find classes locally and I ended up co-starting the Washington Glass School.
You use a lot of recycled glass, especially from things like traffic lights and windows. Where do you get it? How expensive or difficult is it to acquire?
Getting window glass is easy; it’s everywhere. People know me now and I frequently get calls if I need more. Every demolition site discards it, window glass never gets recycled. People have panes and often save them for using later (which never happens) and then they end up on Craigslist in the free section.
How long does it take the average student to learn the basic techniques of working with glass?
Not long. I teach a class the long weekend after the fourth of July, here at the Washington Glass School. Those 3 days will give you a very decent understanding and skill set to continue. I did not have the benefit of similar classes around when I started. 10 years of trial and error have led me to where I am today.
You are originally from Amsterdam and went to school in California. Why did you move to Washington, D.C.?
That was a family move. My wife’s job brought us here. Thank goodness I fell into fertile art ground, right at the birth of a new glass movement in D.C. I had not had much contact with glass in California, but here glass has really taken a major role. I still work with metal and also teach welding classes. Although the materials don’t readily translate from one to the other and skills from metal don’t help in glass.
Why did you move to Hyattsville? What do you think of the local arts scene?
We moved out of D.C. to this area when the new D.C. baseball stadium displaced us. The area here is great for artists. I am very impressed with the arts community and the support it receives from everyone. I think this area has really helped us thrive.