I do not need these tools, please award them to someone who does. However I do want my experiences with Elio memorialized.
A turning point in my artistic development was a class at CMOG with Maestro Elio Quarisa in 2004. Although I learned many techniques during the class, the most important thing gained from Maestro Quarisa was confidence. During a casual conversation at lunchtime during the class, I mentioned that my dream of building a glass studio.
Rather than dwelling on the difficulties of such a venture, Maestro Quarisa encouraged me to move forward and build the studio. He then offered to come and teach after the studio was built. This gesture validated what previously had been a pipe dream and was a defining moment in my journey as a glass artist.
Spurred on by the courage Maestro Quarisa had given, in 2006 I founded a public-access glassblowing studio, East Falls Glassworks, which has grown to be a focal point of the Philadelphia glass community. The studio continues to be a place where many glass artists create their work and learn from each other. It also makes glass accessible for the greater community through classes and public demonstrations.
Maestro Quarisa visited the studio and taught a master class the first year the studio was in operation and twice returned to teach over the next few years.