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Archive for May, 2010

Last Thursday we had our final session at Glassworks before our show at the Weber Gallery.  The staff and artists from our place all did self-portraits.  Because the StudioWorks artists made colored construction paper self-portraits ahead of time, we were able to make the most from our two-hour sessions.  Many of the problems were solved and it was a matter of finding and cutting the glass to match as closely as possible our original images.  Of course, that is a little easier said than done!

Towards the end of our workshop, the staff was becoming  more adept at cutting and manipulating the glass pieces.  When it was crucial to have a piece fit just right, then we learned how to use the glass grinder.  Yes, we broke a few pieces, but overall, everybody seemed patient with this new for us material and had fun in the process too! Here Kevin gives it a go.

We divided our artists into two groups.  The first group met on Mondays and the second on Thursdays.  If you see people wearing different clothing in this post, it’s because these images were taken on two separate days!  By not trying to get everybody into the shop at once, the staff were able to offer more individual attention and we were more productive that way.

Here are a few of the self-portraits that came out of the workshop.  Mind you, none of these have been fused in the kiln yet.  It should be interesting to see what happens after the heat.  Some of the glass we were using is designed to change color once it reaches high temperatures.  Above is Nancy’s self-portrait complete with glasses and earrings.

This is David Mahoney’s self-portrait before fusing.  His work is a bit more austere, but very effective.

Brad Bohannon worked with Jonathan to produce his self-portrait.  The colors are a bit different since Brad changed things as he went along.  The teeth are created by using glass stringers and add a nice level of detail.

Natalie is all smiles as she works with Susie.  Carol Thorp’s self-portrait is in the foreground.

Sally decided to change the color of her “glass face” once she reached the workshop.  The little cups contain a pink-colored adhesive that helps hold the glass in place and will disappear after firing.

Terry made a simple face against a black background and when he was finished…he took a picture of it.  Terry likes to take his camera where ever he goes and he has a small printer for when he wants hard copies.

Here is the Thursday group again wrapping things up.  I won’t show you all the self-portraits, but it will be an amazing series!  We had a little time afterwards to look around and Jonathan was nice enough to give us a bit of a tour.  From a safe distance, we watched glass being blown and we were all intrigued by that. 

We want to formally thank Jonathan for all his help and good cheer!  I know our artists looked forward to working with him over the last few weeks and I think we will produce a nice show to cap it all off.  Here is Jonathan with one of his signature blown glass wine decanters with the swan-shaped neck.  Swan…Swanz…now we get it!  Thanks again Jonathan!

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Jonathan has been turning us on to some simple and fun fused glass techniques!  We have been able to keep to a two-a-week schedule of workshops for the month and it shows.  We have made some awesome pieces during this time.  By dividing our artists into two groups Kevin, Vickey, Susie, Jonathan, and I have been available to help cut the tricky glass pieces.  It has helped to develop ideas with cut paper collages before going to the glass studio.  This has aided us in visualizing how something could come together using the shapes of glass we are able to cut.  Carol Thorp came up with a really nice yellow cat plaque!

Jonathan is explaining to Brad how to make a simple fluted vase.  Using sheets of glass we have already fused before, Jonathan shows that under high heat, the sheet will drape itself over the form.  Here’s a picture of a vase made after slumping and a sneak peek of a nice red vase that Terry Bishop made last week.

We really looked forward to checking out our glass projects from the previous week.  So far, we haven’t had any losses.  The simple 8″ inch tray was fun to make and we have more than a few good ones!  Carol Mueller from the Council on Developmental Disabilities, Inc. came by to check out the adventure we are having.  Our invitation to participate in the GAS conference came through a partnership with the Council.  We all have been taking lots of photographs!

Dorcas has been working on some very colorful glass projects.  Here Jonathan has been assisting Dorcas with the use of glass stringers, which are thin, glass rods.  Once melted, these rods make nice linear effects.  It helps to lightly glue these rods down to hold them in place.

We are all loving this new medium because the colors are just terrific!  I think Eric Huggins made this dish?  I don’t know how well it shows in my photo, but the base sheet of glass is prismatic.  It’s different colors depending on how the light strikes it…here it looks more yellow.

Susie Sherrard has been a great help to us.  She has been more than an extra pair of hands which has helped make this experience for our artists both fun and productive.  Susie is a pretty good artist herself and is familiar with many different visual arts media.  She’s a patient and kind person which really helps in our setting.

Okay, now it’s my turn to do something different with this glass!  To get a sense of how intense some of the transparent colors are…I used a couple different sheets for filters and photographed through them.  Here’s the same scene with Susie and Julie shot through red glass…

…and now for something in a cool blue!  Our next post will have the StudioWorks artists working on a series of self-portraits you won’t want to miss!  The first workshop went off very well!  Until next time.

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Our first full week of glass workshops with Jonathan Swanz has ended and we have more sessions ahead of us as we prepare for the GAS conference exhibition the first week of June.  To allow maximum individual attention to our StudioWorks artists we have split our gang into two groups.  We are keeping to a schedule of meeting Jonathan at Glass Works on Mondays and Thursdays.  Everybody is in good spirits and our first attempts at fusing glass have gone really well!  Now it’s time to take the next step and begin more ambitious glass projects, but before doing so…here is a quick look at the suncatchers.

This week Jonathan is asking us to create images and designs on 8″ inch squares that will eventually be slumped into a small dish form.  Some of our artists are still trying to be too finicky with detailed imagery, but are learning that there are some limitations to how finely glass can be cut.  To me, there is almost a “sugary” granular feel to this glass.  Because this material is also handmade, we have made a few miscues where we run into slight variations in the glass itself and frankly this is a new material and we also expect to make a few mistakes  along the way.  We are, however, having fun in the process!

Here’s an image of Natalie holding up the glass sheet she has chosen to make something with.  This particular piece has fine black veins running through it.  You can also get a sense for the wavy surface on this glass.

Vickey is helping Sally to think through how her ice cream cone design can be adapted to this new material.  It does take a little forethought and planning, but drawing things out definitely helps.

Nancy has drawn an abstracted landscape with a sun and flower images.  She has selected some of the colors she wants to work with.  The smaller glass pieces were chosen from scrap glass bins so we don’t have to cut up our larger sheets.  We can save those for our bigger projects.

Our sessions are running about two hours in length and that seems enough time to work on an 8″ inch square.  After Nancy has assembled the pieces they are then lightly glued down to the bottom glass sheet.  The glue dries about forty-five minutes later and holds the cut pieces in position.  The work is now ready to fuse under high heat.  The glue leaves no residue.

It’s been interesting to see how some of the colors change after firing.  We are loving how the rougher cut pieces fuse onto the bottom glass layer creating a unified surface.  Here’s Nancy’s piece again after it has been fused and slumped into the dish’s form.

We had a different group of artists on Thursday.  It does take some logistical planning getting everybody where they need to be in addition to covering our home base at our StudioWorks location.  Today Kevin worked with Jeremy.  Susie assisted Dorcas and I worked with Brad.  To be truthful, everybody helped each other!

Jonathan enjoyed assisting Julie.  She has a direct and decisive way of working with materials.  Her example inspired other StudioWorks artists to create more than one glass piece on this day.  I can’t wait to see how her pieces come out!

Eric has determined where all his glass pieces are going to go.  The next step is to set them in place with the special glass adhesive.

A final image shows some of the beauty possible through the medium of glass.  In addition to having a fusing workshop, Glass Works also has a glass blowing studio, an exhibition space, and a gift shop.  These blown ornaments are available in their retail gallery and were not made by our artists.  For now, we will concentrate on producing artworks using the fused glass technique.

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