The reward for patiently, carefully weighing and mixing and packing frit into little plaster cells, then documenting the result? You get to play with blocks. Those of you who've been to the studio know my obsession with color tests. I once tried to build a full catalog of readily available tints but got discouraged at how long it was taking. So I sat down and figured out how many combinations I should test:
It makes sense, but I'm having trouble believing it: My kiln failed because I left the garage door open. As you might have read, Skooby-my-Skutt bathtub kiln died right at the start of an important pate de verre firing last Saturday. Since I'd bought him a brand new controller not four months ago, I was pretty unhappy about it, and left a flurry of HELP messages with Skutt. "Hmmmm," said Perry-the-Skutt-kilngod when he called this first thing this morning, "I read your message(s) and I've been thinking about what might have gone wrong. Do you have a voltmeter?"
Significant reward* if you're the first to correctly identify this: In part II, I'll give you the story behind it. *A drink with me next time you're in glassland. I'm buying.
OK, glassists: What's the first thing we learn when we start working with glass? CAREFULLY LABEL EVERYTHING! Right? Sigh.
It was the perfect end to a very glassy week. I've been to a few BEcons, and this was the best, IMHO. Of course, it helps that it was about casting, my current obsession, and that BE attracted some of my favorite casting artists as speakers. Gotta give kudos to the BE staff, not only for pulling this off at all, but for keeping 250 cats herded fairly efficiently.
Transparency is seductive. It's why we prefer diamonds to coal, windows to walls. I think that's why a lot of glass artists go miles to avoid it. It takes a very strong artistic voice to speak louder than transparent glass.
You can take the girl out of the newsroom, but you can't take the newsroom out of the girl, it seems. No matter how many days/weeks/months/years I know in advance, I don't zoom into high gear until it's down to the wire deadline time. And so I've got four pieces due at the gallery by 11am this morning, and I will just exactly make it...with three.
The art of casting is also the art of spending money. I publish a little resource list (I think it's now six pages long) of where to buy all the stuff you need for casting. None of it's cheap and most of it's indispensable. Interestingly, though, there's also a bunch of stuff that's equally indispensable but can be had on the cheap. Here's my list of 18 cheap THINGS you should keep around a casting studio to make your life (and your bank account) easier. ...
Normally, I craft my mother molds out of plain old plaster of paris. It's cheap, relatively quick and the cleanup is easy. But the resulting shell is also heavy and brittle, hard to store and prone to chipping off in exactly the spot you need it to be whole. Smooth-on's Plasti-Paste promises to alleviate at least 75 percent of those problems but costs about $17; plaster costs about $3. To work, the Plasti-Paste shell needs to be VERY light, VERY rigid and VERY easy to get off the mold. So...here goes.
OK, really not going to get too awfully philosophical here but over the weekend a realization was slammed home that should have been obvious and somehow was not: Once you get art into your head, one way or another, it's gotta come out. ;-) ....