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Posts Tagged ‘fused glass’

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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At long last it’s here!  Our eagerly awaited glass workshop has begun.  This past week we met Jonathan Swanz (glass artist, yogi, and guy in the green shirt) at Louisville’s Glassworks shop for an orientation, but it went further than that!  We initially scheduled this trip to get our artists used to a new studio and to see logistically what needed to happen to make this all flow smoothly.  The staff at Glassworks made us feel welcome.   And Jonathan surprised us all when he said we should try to make something simple like a sun catcher.  For most of us, this was our introduction to a new material and method of working.

We brought our supplies and Jonathan gave us a quick overview on some basic concepts and techniques for handling the glass.  I was pleased to see that everyone in our group was into it!  We began by having our staff cut the glass into roughly 4″ x 5″ rectangles.  Organic shapes are especially hard to cut.  Next colors were chosen and glass shapes cut to lay upon these rectangles in compositions of our artists’ choosing. 

Here’s an example of what we were doing.  Once the glass pieces were in position, they would be glued down with a special adhesive that would burn out in the kiln.  Under high heat (1800 degrees) all the glass would “fuse” together creating a unified surface.  This is the basic technique we will be using to create artworks that ultimately will be shown at the Weber Gallery during the Glass Art Society’s gathering in Louisville.  The next time we visit Glassworks, we can check out the finished sun catchers and we will post of few of those here. 

In this image, Jonathan is assisting Eric and Sally with gluing the pieces down.  It’s funny how the glue being used is pink and one of our group thought it looked like Pepto Bismal!  Here are Terry and Dorcas working on their projects.  For the StudioWorks artists that like to work geometrically, this is going to play to their strengths.  For our artists that prefer representation, this will be a great excercise in abstraction.  Terry and Dorcas were having a blast and the whole experience was so stimulating.

The majority of our glass sessions are scheduled for the month of May.  Our goal is to eventually move on to more ambitious projects that we can exhibit.  Once the glass is fused, it can then be shaped by “slumping” it in a mold.  Again under high heat, the glass sheet softens and conforms to the interior shape of the mold.  Here is a display of the types of molds that can be used to create bowls, vases, platters, and more.

Since this experience, our artists have been itching to go back and I can’t blame them.  I think we all really enjoyed our first foray with glass.  There are so many partners to thank for this experience, but I would like to begin by thanking the folks at Glassworks for their hospitality and to say we look forward to working with you to help realize our projects!

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