Glass artist Corey Silverman, is used to creating special items at the request of his clients.
But when Rich Neumann, marketing and outreach supervisor for Westminster’s Parks and Recreation department, walked into the studio last year, …
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But when Rich Neumann, marketing and outreach supervisor for Westminster’s Parks and Recreation department, walked into the studio last year, Silverman said he was a little surprised by Neumann’s request.
“He asked us to create, basically, a pile of poo. They wanted to plant the poo around Standley Lake Park, and let people find it, as part of a program they created,” said Silverman. “The first attempt was too realistic looking, so we decided that since it was the poo of a mythical creature, it should have rainbows in it.”
Silverman, a Wheat Ridge resident, is co-owner of The Furnace, a studio in Lakewood that produces custom glass pieces of art. In addition to the colorful poo, Silverman and his team also created 300 glass eggs for Neuman.
Their artwork was hidden along the Standley Lake portion of the Rocky Mountain Greenway Trail. Community members were encouraged to walk the trail in search of the eggs and poo — all a part of an initiative to get people out into their local parks.
Initially, parks staff would hide one or two of the pieces each day on the trails around Standley Lake Park. The program was such a hit, Neumann returned to The Furnace this year, requesting another 400 eggs and 50 more piles of poo and have extended beyond Standley Lake.
“Well over 1,000 extra people have been on the trail each month,” Neumann said. “The monster has increased its range this year with eggs being spotted at Big Dry Creek between Standley Lake and City Park.”
People that find the colorful glass creations get to keep them but organizers do ask that they stop in at the Standley Lake ranger’s station and record their find.
Each piece is numbered and Neumann said finders are encouraged to share their discoveries on social media with the hashtag “#standleymonster”.
He expects new pieces will be placed daily this year through December.
Art of glass
Silverman has been blowing glass for more than 21 years, after receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Alfred University. He spent several years working in various studios before coming to Colorado in 1999.
“I almost didn’t continue glass blowing when I came here,” he said. “But once you expose yourself to an art form like this you want to keep doing it.”
His wife Leanne joined the studio full time last year, to help manage the office as requests for Silverman’s pieces grew.
Each piece of glass that leaves the studio is truly one of a kind, as Silverman employs two other artists, and there is no assembly line process. Every piece has been “hand touched” by the artist, said Leanne.
Glass is heated up to more than 2,000 degrees, and is constantly manipulated by the artist to create the finished product. Mixing of colors can be challenging, and requires a bit of faith.
“Opalescent white will become completely transparent when heated,” said artist and Studio Manager Taylor Kelly. “The glass is red hot, so you don’t see the true colors until it’s done. You just have to have faith in the colors.”
The artists work closely and intuitively with each other, using signals and simple commands, as time is of the essence when working with cooling glass.
“As Corey’s blowing into the glass, he obviously can’t speak, so Taylor is right there, and when Corey taps his foot Taylor proceeds to the next step,” said Leanne. “They really work well together. They all love what they do.”
The Silvermans welcome visitors to their shop, either to observe them at work, or to attend classes they offer to the public each week. They also participate in several community projects, including a Christmas ornament program and their latest VFW project, which includes creating an elaborate Columbine flower that honors service members from VFW Post 1 who died in service.
“We always like to get involved with the community,” said Leanne. “We do a lot of outreach, and have definitely enjoyed being part of the Standley Lake project.”
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