Pate de verre combines glass casting plus frit-painting plus sculpting plus moldmaking plus coldworking. Each of those can be daunting by itself; when you combine them, pate de verre can seem awfully difficult. In this project, I'm trying to reduce the complexity for beginners and still come out with an acceptable pate de verre piece. Most pate de [...]
Wax ain't just for candles. Surgeons pack bone with it, medievalists seal letters with it, it coats cheeses and shines your car (or your shoes), makes edible Halloween lips and honeycombs and mascara and photocopies and lava lamps and soap and art. It's pretty wonderful stuff and, much as I dislike using it, invaluable in glass casting. HOWEVER...it's daunting, potentially dangerous, and very, very [...]
Several of y’all have asked me to explain how to use stainless steel rod to create custom dripping platforms for potmelts and such, so I thought I’d oblige…let me know if you have any questions. Glassists are also scavengers–our favorite stores are Harbor Freight and Goodwill–because we’re always looking for cool stuff to use in a kiln. And the most [...]
Been awhile. Been a looooong while. As a couple* folks have noticed, this blog's been closed for remodeling for more than a year, and the why part is a bit tricky. What I'd love to say: I've been slaving away for months, crafting the jo-block perfect Morganica website, and so now...taDA!!!...here it is: The world's most wonderful resource for glassists [...]
WaxVac Hampton Direct $7.99 on Amazon I put earwax vacuums right up there with nosehair clippers and recreational high colonics, so it kinda took me aback when online artist friends said they LOVED theirs. (eeeeeuuuuwwwww) Turns out that if you don't use one for slurping out your ears, it makes a fairly good frit-drawing pen. The one I tried, Hampton [...]
Q: Is there a better (faster, cheaper) way to coldwork small glass sculptures? A: Yep A BeCon or two ago, Richard Whiteley, head of the Canberra glass school, said that glasswork fresh from the kiln was only half finished; coldwork was necessary to take it the rest of the way. Ouch. I happen to agree with him, but as much as I love HAVING coldworked, I hate DOING coldwork and seem to be on a neverending quest to avoid it. Right now I'm testing a bunch of machines to see if they can automate the finishing process for small cast glass sculptures, like pendants.
If you mix frit colors--as all pate de verre and frit painting artists do with abandon--you quickly learn about reactivity between colored glasses. Try warming up the chill BE Salmon Pink with a little BE Medium Amber, and the resulting sludgy grey-brown will stick in your mind forever. Or so I thought. At a beginning casting workshop recently, one of my students complained that it was tough to simply remember what reacted with which. Or worse, when they combined glasses from two manufacturers, they couldn't find any reactivity info at all, which apparently resulted in some unpleasant surprises.
How do you give non-casters a taste of pate de verre making..in less than four hours? That was the assignment, anyway. It was the Portland chapter's turn to host the Oregon Glass Guild's annual state meeting, and we wanted to do something a bit special. We decided on a theme of Stretch Your Wings, and gave it multiple meanings. First, we meant "stretch your wings by reaching out to the community." Instead of focusing on personal enrichment, this time we'd make art for the community, a glass quilt to be installed in a local hospital. Everyone who came would make at least one 6x6 inch tile for the quilt.
I'm giving in to glass transparency right now, (weird, because I tend to sneer at artists who substitute transparent bling for a voice). What's utterly fascinating is the almost symbiotic relationship that transparent sculpture has with its environment. I want to learn to use that power in my work, and from what I've seen so far, it'll be a helluva challenge. Sculpting with glass is, for me, an extreme exercise in controlling the viewer's eye. The artist directs the viewer's eye with all art, of course, but in other media that control is largely confined to the surface. A work's mass and volume are simply vehicles for presenting (or hiding) whatever the artist has put on the surface. Not so with glass--you can send the eye anywhere you want in that volume; surface constraints only exist if you choose to use them, i.e., opaque the glass.
Remember awhile back, when I was petting a huge shipment of glass? (And in my best non-denominational mode had included most all of the blues and greens sold by Gaffer, Uroboros AND Bullseye?) For about two weeks, my house looked like the inside of a sapphire geode...and then all that glorious, sensuous glass billet was broken into chunks and melted into my molds.