Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Never be afraid to stick your finger in the Pie

Today was my first full day at Pilchuck. I firmly believe that those creative people that put this wonderful place together decided to put the living quarters at the top of a 6 percent grade in order to discourage themselves from sleeping.

All my tools are not in my workplace and I will hopefully only have to make the hike 4 or 5 times tomorrow.

Never have I been surrounded by such a group of talented people! While I am on the older side of the bell curve, there are some older than me. The general population are younger than middle age, this includes most of the staff. But they are talented well beyond their years. I see the list of alumni, and cannot honestly believe that I am walking the same ground.

The hot shop demonstration last night is a great example of the spirit of this place.

To streamline the process, several of the hot shop people spent about 3 hours during the afternoon to prepare a piece of glass. In the first minute of the demonstration the piece accidentally fell off the punty onto the ground and broke.

Then the most amazing thing happened. Without a word, everyone on the shop floor went to work, It was a beautiful dance, only interrupted to hug the glassblower, and huddle up for plan B which was completed in about 45 minutes.

The spirit that built this place in 1971 truly lives on here. It is really contagious.

What did I learn today? I learned that our job as artists is to observe what other people fail to see, and then never be afraid to stick your finger in the pie......

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, July 8, 2013

1200 Miles and only 20 to go

I left for Pilchuck Saturday morning and made it to Sacramento that day. Woke up at 5 am and headed north. Drove 500 miles and finally quit in Eugene, OR. California is a big state! While I could drive the length of the Central Valley on auto pilot, once in the Shasta area I-5 narrows and climbs to about 5,000 feet. It is very beautiful.

Today I had a relatively short haul to the Seattle area. I stopped in Tacoma to visit the Museum of Glass. The exhibit there at this time is entitled "Links: Australian Glass and the Pacific Northwest."

When you walk into the exhibit the first thing you see is the amazing "Portland Panels," by Klaus Moje

and some of his other works..

Twenty-one artists were featured including Kristie Rea and Jessica Loughlin who will be my instructors at Pilchuck.

While time and the drive served to calm my nerves a bit, after seeing their work in person, I am once again in awe. Nearly every artist, and the museum itself has a direct connection with Pilchuck. Today I meditated that I will allow myself to open my mind, close my mouth and learn as much as possible the next three weeks.

I am also going to try and discipline myself to blog as much as possible as a way of journaling to myself (if internet connection at Pilchuck will allow).

I am 20 miles away, and they don't want us there until 11am. Hope there is a place to park down the street when I get there at 8 or 7 or 6 in the morning.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Getting ready for Pilchuck

Just spent a great week with my family. Had a baby shower for Julie, spent quality time with all three daughters, my two granddaughters, met the new machatunum, meditated, and am now ready to pack for Pilchuck.
It's going to be a grand adventure.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Learning Curve

A while ago I bought two books on the art and life of my glass hero/god Klaus Moje.  The first book is entitled Klaus Moje: Glass by Megan Bottari, which was part of a series called "Living Treasures: Masters of Australian Craft."  The other book is called simply Klaus Moje and was written by Bruce Guenther.

Years ago, when I was just beginning to imagine myself as a glass artist, Karen and I were walking through a retail gallery somewhere (maybe Carmel) where I first saw a bowl created by Klaus Moje.  I wanted it!  It attracted me because it was fused, not blown, and it was smooth and not shiny.  While I still wanted to have the bowl, after seeing the price tag we moved on to the next store.

But that one bowl had an impact on me.  I sort of abandoned my bead torches and converted my garage into a fusing studio.  If you happen to stumble into the gallery sections of this blog site, you will see the influence that Klaus Moje, Dr. Steve Immerman, and all those other artists who make fused glass art by cutting strips, making pattern bars, high fire designs, and other glass components to combine into a final piece of glass art.   You also will see Patty Gray's influence.  She told me that when I like a piece of glass that I just made, to cut it up and move it around and refuse it. 

Here is a piece of glass measuring about 12" x 12" which I did not particularly like, but cut up anyways. 

It ultimately became this...

13" Diameter   3/8" Thick   1.5" Deep

After this I began to assemble two other large glass sheets which are awaiting the diamond saw once I figure out what I want to do with them, or get some "Klausian" inspiration.

Blue sheet (19" x 16" x 1/2") front side.......

Blue sheet back side.......

Green sheet (19" x 16" x 1/2") front side ....

Green sheet back side........

Thursday, January 31, 2013

It's been a long cold (anything but lonely) winter....

It's the last day of January, the sun is out, the temperature is about 70 degrees, I live in Southern California, and by my blog title you might think I was writing from Fairbanks!   But it can get cold here (many or our plants died in a frost) and it does rain in Southern California.  Nevertheless, since I last blogged the season has changed twice, Karen had her appendix out while in Seattle, we re-elected a president, Karen and I flew halfway around the world to see a total eclipse of the sun, returned to a house full of family the day before Thanksgiving, saw the house fill again for New Years, had our son home from Australia for the first time in a year, met his girlfriend, took Karen to the hospital twice again, and learned that there is another grandchild on the way (not Sam and his girlfriend).  

It has been too cold to work in my studio, and while I do own several space heaters, I have had an energy obsession since we installed Solar Panels.  I did however, buy some hand warmers to put in my pockets and bundled up enough to make two pieces.  The first piece was eclipse inspired...

We were at sea to see the eclipse and the blues of the sky and ocean were altered and blended by the moon's shadow in a way that cannot be described, interpreted, or even photographed.

After spending a lot of time working on 12" x 12" squares, I decided to get back to my roots and make a round bowl.  Sometime before New Year I bought a 20" stainless steel mold.  The mold was interesting to me not only because of its diameter, but also because of its depth.   I have been wanting to make a large bowl for some time, and when I saw this mold I bought it.

The result is a 15.5" diameter bowl that is about 4" deep.  This is the largest bowl I have made to date.  It is 3/8" thick.

I was able to fuse both these project in the oven at one time thus saving energy to compensate for Karen wanting to use the heat in her studio.....

Friday, August 10, 2012

Pot Melts and Screen Melts

"Melts," are an amazing way to use scrap glass.  You begin by stacking pieces of scrap glass in a flower pot, on top of a stainless steel screen mesh, or by any other means you may devise to hold the pieces above the kiln shelf, so they may drip through the mesh when heated to a temperature of about 1700 degrees F.

I created the above setup by using stainless steel rods which are held in place by holes I drilled in some kiln furniture.  I like this setup because it gives me more control, will hold more glass,  and does not mix as much as a 1/4" screen.  Melts through Terra Cotta pots tend to create a spot where the glass flows out of, but can also yield some amazing results as well (The Abyss).   With experience, you can get a certain amount of predictability.  By knowing the mix of colors, their placement on the screen, and the size and number of openings that the melted glass will flow through.

But by their very nature melts are always a surprise when you open the kiln. In the piece, Quetzal, I have cut the pot melts in a number of pieces and then re-assembled them and re-fused to make a new design. This also allows you to cut our any sections of the melts that you didn't particularly care for. You can also combine portions of several melts into one or more bowls, plates, or art pieces.

The Abyss (2011)