The fall rush is on to finish projects for the Carolina Designer Craftsmen Fair at Thanksgiving – only 6 weeks away. Thanks to the two wonderful weeks I spent at Penland in June, I’ve been using the fun and powerful technique of powder printing to create many pictures. Now I’m trying to come with a change to my booth to display them. Here’s one of my favorites that I just finished mounting. I call it, “The road less traveled.” It came from a photo I took of my favorite place in Australia, a rock outcrop at the beach near Crowley’s Point north of Sydney. I couldn’t believe it wasn’t a tourist destination.
I wanted to try powder printing some text, and this seemed like the perfect thing to try. I found these letters from my father to my mother when he was stationed in at a naval repair base in New Guinea during WWII. This letter announced my birth as so many other servicemen also anticipated births of their children during their overseas service at that time.
Last evening (July 17) was a meeting of RTP 180 at the Research Triangle Foundation Building on Davis Drive in RTP, NC. Each month there is a different topic with exhibitors and presenters. The meetings are free and open to the public, but you need to reserve tickets online. The topic this month was art in the Research Triangle, and I exhibited several of my science themed fused glass art pieces there. It was a lot of fun to net work with RTP workers and to demonstrate how I create my artworks. There were several short presentations that connected art and science, and they were very interesting.
I just returned from two wonderful weeks at Penland School of Crafts where I got to play at learning and making art without my usual life distractions. Other artists often said to me, “You’re from NC, and you haven’t been to Penland?!” Everything about it was great. The best part was taking a fantastic class on Powder Printing on Glass (then fusing) with awesome Stacy Smith, a well known glass artist in the Pacific NW. She was enthusiastic, an amazing teacher, patient, knowledgeable, energetic, helped those of us who wanted to work late at night and over the weekend — she’s absolutely the best!!! And I finally got a grasp on “layers” in Photoshop; I’m excited about that. I also learned a lot about silk screen printing, and the technique seems very powerful. I just love the possibilities. Here are a few of the projects I created:
While I’ve been waiting to use a friend’s sand blaster on some vitrigraph murrini pieces, I tried making some more powder wafers. Here’s a new picture I call, “Lines of Communication”. I also used some thin slices of the vitrigraph murrini I recently made.
The piece entitled “Urban Sprawl” that is below in my last Blog, was juried into the “Latitudes and Longitudes” exhibit at the Visual Art Exchange in Raleigh. It will be there until the end of May. If you are in the area, check it out as the show is great.
After learning how to make vitrigraph murrini rods, I’m awed by the variety of patterns that emerge in the cut pieces. Even though making them and creating an art piece with them is a lot of work, I am driven to make more. I love the way they turn out – very cellular and interesting with lots of different patterns in one pull. I have been keeping lists of the 30 layers of starting material glass that go into each crucible as well as the rod number or position as each color emerges in the center of the rods. It helps in planning future pulls. I found that I need about 18 (of 30 total) layers of white and/or clear to make interesting pieces. Here is a sculpture I just finished using the fused glass murrini from one pull and a piece of solid walnut that I refinished after help cutting it by my carpenter son in-law.
Now that spring is really here and life gets in the way of art glass, my new kiln is ready to fire. My plan is to use it for thicker sculptures that take a long time to anneal. In the mean time I have been creating some flatter pieces such as the one below made with glass powder wafers. I love the texture achieved when I fused my diatom wafers to the background glass. I call this piece “Bones.” I mounted the glass on an aluminum frame, and it is 20″ x 16″ x 1″.
With all the snow and sleet we’ve had this winter, it’s been a good time for fusing. I finally finished the leafy mirror.
Yesterday and today I was stuck in the house with few distractions. I worked all day to finish creating and building this leafy mirror frame for a customer. I also plan to add large clear frit surrounding the leaves. It’s almost 24″ x 20″ which is the largest size I can fuse in my kiln. As soon as the weather clears with less chance of power outage, I will fuse it.