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.
What's worse than Castuary?* Castuary squared. What's worse than Castuary squared? Obviously: Castuary cubed. I am in Castuary for three simultaneous firings, and it's driving me nuts. I've stuffed my own kiln to the gills, along with Hugh's kiln and Kat's kiln, as if I'm in some goofy and rather spendy race to see which spits out sculpture the fastest. And it's teaching me a great lesson in the whole artist/show/gallery thing: Procrastination costs bigtime money and biggertime anxiety.
I'm SUPPOSED to be working. Instead, I'm petting crystal, which either means I'm a glassist who's finally gone over the edge...or that the nice delivery man just dropped off a big honkin' Gaffer shipment. Lordee, these things are gorgeous. How are you supposed to actually chop them up?
Why does there seem to be so little time when you're facing the future, and so much when you're looking back? It's mid-February already? How did that happen? Eeek. I've got to get on the ball. Now. I've got a show at Guardino's in late March/April and another, OGG's Spring Glass Gallery, at the end of April, and I'm not nearly ready.
OK, so where are we? Oh yeah. At the end of the first firing of Triangle, this was the tally: One destroyed clay sculpture (getting it out of the mold kills it) No silicone master as a backup One spent plaster/silica mold About 8 pounds of unfused frit mixed with talc and hence garbage One giant glass donut that should [...]
So...in part I, I meandered through a lot of creative angst and made this clay sculpture. Now, in part II, I pretty much wreck the heck out of it.
Sometimes, no matter how often you destroy it, a piece refuses to go quietly. Instead, it hangs around and bugs you until, in desperation, you finish it just for the sake of peace and quiet. Triangle was one of those. Despite seven disastrous mistakes, it's finally out of the kiln. Along the way, it taught me quite a bit about what makes my work tick.
SHOUT is a big (for me) piece, and probably the most difficult glass casting I've done to date. SHOUTing, Part I was about the problems I ran into. This post is about how I fixed them.