ISABEL DE OBALDIA
I was a painter originally. As I developed my technique with oils and glazes I became more and more interested in layers and transparency of colors. I started looking at French glass of the Art Nouveau period because I liked the engravings and the texture.
In 1987 I went to Pilchuck for the first time to find out a little bit more about glass. I took an introductory course in glass blowing. I realized then that although it was fascinating this was not something I could pursue back home in Panama. We were undergoing political turmoil in my country and things were complicated. A couple of years later I went back to Pilchuck to take an engraving course with Jiri Harcuba and that is when my relationship with glass really begun. I acquired an engraving lathe, and started building my cold shop. I went back to Pilchuck on several occasions to enhance my knowledge of certain techniques, as my curiosity took me from engraving and painting on glass to kiln casting and later on, to hot casting. Now in my studio at home I have several kilns and great cold working equipment. There are very few glass artists in Latin America so it was very important for me at the beginning to be able to travel and learn from others.
In 2006 I received a Creative Glass Center of America Fellowship. I had been pursuing an idea that I knew I wanted to achieve with the sand casting technique and I was able to develop this at Wheaton Arts. Since then I have gone back there to cast pieces on a larger scale. I have been working on a series of “ Totemic animals” and “Modern idols”. Crocodiles, jaguars, hammerhead sharks and a few men. I do a lot of cold working on some of them, but like to leave their primitive imprint, their “raw” quality.