Instructor Biographies:

James Akers

James is an artist, educator, blue collar worker and CEO with an explosive approach to making.

Akers graduated from Alfred University in 2015 with an addiction to glass, neon, and electricity. Thriving on change and fascinated by waves of all kinds: sound, light, and electricity, he is captivated by the notion of “the wild one” and people doing things they are not supposed to. Akers has shown his work internationally, been the recipient of public art commissions has received numerous awards and grants for his practice and is the is Chief Executive Officer of Cold Cathode Compact Fluorescent Light Company.

Currently, Akers is based out of Dallas Texas where is exploring a blue collar lifestyle while teaching neon classes, and packaging ideas on art and life by creating a series of celebratory, reactive electric sculptures.


Instagram: @jamesakers2


Percy Echols II

Percy Echols II is a Pittsburgh-based Plasma artist and technician. He is behind the most extensive podcast and online educational resource on plasma and neon design- Taming Lightning. Percy’s work at PGC and beyond as well as his dedication to this relatively novel craft is propelling him to be a leader in the field of plasma light art. Echols’ efforts at PGC have put the studio on the map of neon and plasma makers worldwide as one of the few hot glass studios in the country with a plasma-focused neon setup.



(Neon and Plasma) Borderline with James Akers and Percy Echols II
When: , Jul 4 - Jul 8
Time: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Tuition $900.00
Instructor: James Akers

In this hot shop class, we will be learning both traditional neon techniques as well as a myriad of soft glass plasma techniques. By alternating between neon and plasma processes, we will blur the lines between these two related crafts. 

We will be making lots of things! Many of the techniques we will be covering require a bit of trial and error. Some failure is inevitable when learning. By learning and experimenting with a variety of techniques, you will have plenty of tools to use when making neon and plasma ideas.

To allow for maximum time in the studio we will have neon demos in the morning, slide lectures after lunch, with plasma demos, filling, and student work time in the evening.

Our demonstrations will include basic neon tube bending, sealing on electrodes, using glass solder connections, and leak repairs. We will also be making shapes in the hot shop for reworking with torches.

Lectures include examples of both neon and plasma and where they overlap, aesthetic and functional consideration for making plasma works. We will go over rules for making both neon and plasma.

You should expect to create simple neon shapes and see firsthand the luminous differences between neon and plasma. You will also be creating sculptures using blown glass shapes in the hot shop that are turned into plasma with flameworking, coldworking and kilnworking techniques.

This class requires some basic hot glass and/or soft hollow glass flameworking skills. We plan on moving quickly and covering a lot of techniques, leaving very little time for covering glassblowing basics. We recommend that you come to class being comfortable with glassblowing or hollow soft glass flameworking fundamentals. 



3 of 12 seats available.