Thursday, August 21, 2008

Kilnformed Glass Workshops

After several weeks of being off my feet and out of the studio I was thrilled to be back at Wired Designs Studio teaching Glass Fusing I and II this past weekend. So much so it made me think ahead to some of the other workshops I will be facilitating or participating in over the reminder of this year.

Just around the corner, the weekend of September 6-7, is Open-Mold Glass Casting — SCULPTURE IN 3-D. This is your chance to spend two intensive days learning to utilize a simple, versatile and quick method of glass casting. We’ll sculpt objects in clay, create refractory molds, and cut and cast glass billets. This class includes a take home vermiculite box mold so you can continue casting. No previous experience in glass is necessary.

This class can get down and dirty. We work with clay, plaster silica, hydroperm and other mold making material to create molds of our own design or make molds of existing three dimensional objects. We then melt glass billets into/over these molds to make impressions into blocks of glass two to three inches thick.

A new workshop I will be facilitating Sunday, November 2nd at Wired Designs Studio is Kiln Carving. If I told you you could carve in glass without a chisel or other tools, would you believe me? In this workshop we will using gravity to do the kiln forming for us. We will design and create bas relief images to transfer into iridized glass giving the glass a sculpted look. This is a wonderful technique to add dimension and pattern with only minimal glass cutting. Use the smooth clean surface on top and look through to the pattern within the glass. Or turn it over and not only see but feel the shapes and textures.

I love teaching these workshops and often learn just as much from my students. Participants often include artists looking to explore a new medium, stain glass artists who want to take their work in a different direction, people looking for an escape their usual workdays and others just out to have a good time. You can see a full schedule of these and other workshops offered at the Wired Designs Studio website.

Just as much as teaching these workshops I enjoy taking workshops from other instructors. I can't wait for the workshops I will be taking from Melissa Monti to learn more about murrini cane and Roger Thomas who focuses on design for contemporary landscapes in fused glass.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Not Just Black & White

Last week Inspire Me Thursday suggested we take inspiration from our wardrobe. I've seen artists pull color pallets from scarves or pattern ideas from fabric. When I took a look in my closest it seemed it was my wardrobe that could take a little inspiration from my art work. So I worked this challenge in reverse. This is what I came up with.

This black, white and red A-symmetrical necklace was made using glass beads made by Nina "Sam" Hibler. It was strung with white jade, red coral, onyx and sterling silver. Shown here with one of my favorite sushi plates and a six in cast glass bowl.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Ophelia Beads

It seems this poor blog has been sadly lacking the mention to glass recently. And as I am yet in no condition to create and post glass work of my own, I have decided to sharing the work of other artists in my collection. I have been working on ideas for future projects one of which lead me back to a familiar passage from Shakespeare's Hamlet which in turn brought o mind a series of beads made by Nina "Sam" Hibler. The specific text in question was the Queen's description Ophelia's demise...

"There in a will ow grows askant the brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream;
Therewith fantastic garlands did she make
Of crowflowers, nettles, daises, and long purples,
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
But our cold maids do dead men's fingers call them .
There on the pendent boughs her crownet weeds
Clamb' ring to hang, an envious silver broke,
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide,
And mermaidlike awhile they bore her up,
Which time she chanted snatches of old lauds,
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and endued
unto that element. But long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pulled the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death."

As I read this passage I thought of Sam's Ophelia Beads. Sam has indicated her inspiration can from the Pre-Raphaelite painting Ophelia by John Everertt Millais but when I read the passage above I visualize the water and it's contents much like those captured in the small worlds Sam creates. That may be what drew me to these beads to begin with. So much is contained in them, the hint of a story is told and one's imagination can unfold the rest.

I keep purchasing these beads but have
never found a way to wear them I am happy with. In the end I displayed my set in a case where I can see them everyday and take them out and fondle when ever I want. I realize that has a bit of a sexual overtone but hey, they're kind of sexy beads. And yes, those are snakes.