Susan Isaac and Tom Kral plan to fuse together two long-lost ways of art: glass fusion and natural methods of cooking food.

Local workshop teaches lost art of fused glass and natural food

The workshop is broken down into a two-day event, as it takes 18 hours to fire and complete a decent-size tray or a plate.

Sooke is about to get another one-of-a-kind art workshop.

It’s called glass fusion, an art form developed 6,000 years ago, perfected by the Egyptians 4,000 years ago, and then lost for many years since then. It wasn’t until 1984 when it made a comeback, though it remains in practice in small numbers.

Fortunately, one Sookie was keen on not only learning the rare art form, but teaching it to others as well. As such, Susan Isaac has held glass fusing workshops at her own Shard Glass Studio for several years, showing participants how to create just about anything they can think of out of glass.

Now, Isaac is taking it to the next level by teaming up with professional chef Tom Kral to create a workshop that not only allows people to make their own dishware, but also put them to use right away.

Frankly, it was a match made in heaven.

“I’m a foodie, so I always dreamt of students making their plates and trays and working with a chef, adding a cooking class and learning a new art and putting it all together,” Isaac said of the newly proposed workshop, which is expected to start Oct. 1.

“When the chef serves the food, they serve it on the plates the students made the day before.”

The workshop is broken down into a two-day event, as it takes 18 hours to fire and complete a decent-size tray or a plate.

Isaac said she needs time to fire up the students’ pieces in a kiln, then the chef can take over.

The cooking will take place at Isaac’s house not far from the studio, where Kral comes into the picture with an art form that is even older than glass fusing itself.

“I’m very holistic, so staying within our land, with the cooking techniques I use more traditional and natural ways such as salt rocks and hot rocks,” he said, adding that he cooks the food in the earth, as humans was did hundreds of thousands of years ago.

Kral said his more natural approach to cooking is a way to preserve the ways of the past.

“I want to share this ancient wisdom of cooking techniques. We’re used to pushing buttons, but what’s going to happen when we forget the old ways? We can’t afford to lose these techniques.”

In many ways, the workshop is a fusion of two ancient ways of life and art, something that enticed Kral right away to sign up for it.

“It’s about tapping into our ancient beings and instincts… I needed to break free from restaurants and hotels, on my own, no control, just me and nature, cooking on a fire, you can’t do that in a restaurant,” he said. “I love the personal connection, I love people, seeing their reaction, getting them to savour the food, and give them time to enjoy it.”

The workshop starts on a Saturday morning and runs from 9 a.m. to noon. And all people are required to bring is their own thirsty imagination, Isaac said.

“I want to honour this ancient art, so people are going to learn the history, and they’re going to learn this as an art form, not a craft,” she said. “My commitment to fusing is to give enough time so that people slow down, learn this ancient art and see it take shape.”

It takes three hours to learn about the fusing; to actually do it, participants will crush their own glass, after which they use grinders, belt sanders to mold it into shape they desire.

“People come to me with their ideas, and I’m passionate about helping them express who they are, not do a project, so I let them do what they want,” Isaac said.

To learn more about the workshop, go to shardglass.com, email at susan@shardglass.com, or call 250-642-4942.