I’m asking y’all to take a break from the regularly scheduled programming for a first look at a fabric I designed for this week’s Spoonflower competition. For those of y’all who don’t know, Spoonflower is a great website where you can design custom fabric and have it printed. They also hold weekly fabric design competitions. This week’s theme is roller derby!
It just occurred to me that I have two craft shows coming up in the next month and a half. Yikes! I’ve been diligently working on a not-so-secret but not-ready-for-primetime project so I hadn’t really been focusing on the shows!
The first one is the Bust Spring Craftacular and Food Fair. Michele and I will be teaming up for this one for the first time, although we have done their holiday shows in the past. The fair will be held on Saturday, May 21st, 2011 from 11am-8pm, at 82 Mercer Street between Broome and Spring. Its a new venue for us, and indoors, but should be fun!
And the second is Renegade Brooklyn… Alison, Michele and I took the summer off last year, but we are back in full effect this June 11th and 12th from 11AM – 7PM each day. It’ll be in McCarren Park in Williamsburg, and we’ll post more details soon.
Hope to see y’all there… new post coming up soon about the new Stereoette stuff i’ll have there!
Yesterday I went to the New Collectors/Young Designers Night at SOFA. Julie came along… but neither of us could have expected what an amazing experience it was. It was like going to a baseball game, expecting to sit in the nosebleed seats, and then being escorted to a seat the flippin’ dugout. We expected artists to give talks, but what we ended up experiencing was one-on-one conversations with some of my favorite glass artists. Sadly, cameras were not allowed (the above photo of a Benjamin Moore piece is one of the press photos available on SOFA’s website) but photographs alone wouldn’t have been able to capture what a great night we had.
The first artists we met were Benjamin and Debora Moore. I was a huge fan of Benjamin’s work and after going to SOFA, I’m an equally huge fan of his wife’s. The Moores are two of the most neatest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. They both were so warm and so willing to talk about their artistic practices. And I think I was most impressed that my star struck gushing over their work didn’t even phase either of them… well, gushing over their work, and our gushing over Debora’s hair (us naturals have to stick together!).
The next artist we met was Marlene Rose, who we asked about her sandcast sculptures. She was also incredibly nice and talked us through the process of sandcasting. I’m actually sort of intrigued by sandcasting, and would really like to one day try fusing into or slumping over sand. Marlene is taking it a step beyond that, though, and is casting molten glass into wet beds of sand. Its a process I’ve seen on video, and I think its incredible.
We also popped by the booth by Echt Gallery, which was showing work by Oben Arbright, who I remembered from a feature in Glass Quarterly a while back. Oben’s work is cool, but the thing that blew my mind at their booth was a pair of pieces by Shayna Leib. I have been obsessed with Shayna’s work for a long time, and to see the pieces up close was absolutely mindblowing. I could have stood back there and stared at them all night, except we wanted to go meet another of my favorite glass artists…
I have been a giant fan of Alex Gabriel Bernstein‘s work since Gordon and I went to the Affordable Art Fair a few years ago and one of his galleries showed me some glass and steel sculptures like I’d never seen before. At the time, I thought that his sculptures were electroplated, but as he explained to me yesterday, he actually fuses chips of mild steel into the glass in a procedure that is absolutely brilliant. He talked to us about his studio practice, and had great pointers about summer programs to check out. Also, he was really encouraging to Julie and me about pursuing work we’re passionate about. And it is obvious that he is passionate about glass. He got me thinking about a life balancing glass and my law practice and all the stuff that makes me tick. I know I’ve said this word a thousand times during this post, but meeting one of my artistic heroes was really amazing.
Also amazing? Jeweler Yael Sonia. I love kinetic things. I love shiny things. And so, of course, I was drawn to Yael’s work like a magpie. What I didn’t expect was for Yael to kindly chat with me and Julie for a half hour about jewelry and fashion and whatever else came to mind. And I surely didn’t expect for Yael to let us try on jewelry she knew we weren’t able to purchase. (Can I just say, though, that I have never felt a ring that felt more comfortable than this one that can also double as a pendant? I tried on a version that didn’t have pave diamonds on it, but if you ever really want to impress me, people, THAT IS THE RING TO BUY. Anyhow, Yael is an amazing designer, and a sweet person. I’m a fan ;o)
The last glass artist we met was Abby Modell, who turns out to have her studio in my neighborhood! Abby is as addicted to color as I am, which is obvious from the work on her website. Sadly, her website doesn’t show my favorite work by her, a HUGE fused glass triptych that she created especially for SOFA. Abby was also a fountain of information on coldworking and glass blowing and was incredibly encouraging to me about continuing my glass work while Urban Glass is renovating over the next few years.
Anyhow, sorry for such a long post with few pictures – to make up for the pictures I couldn’t take at SOFA, here’s a slideshow of the pictures I took at the Armory show, which Jocelyn and I attended last month but I didn’t blog about. Here ya go!
So, here is my last big glass project! I am a member of a glass message board where we talk about glass casting, fusing, and other “warm” techniques. Every year, the members do an exchange where they make magnet sized pieces to send to one another. Magnet sized… but without magnets because at some point someone figured out that attaching magnets really increased the shipping costs! All the participants get one example of everyone elses’ “magless.”
I wasn’t really sure how I wanted to approach the project so I tried a few prototypes. My friend Rachel had recently showed me this amazing music video by David Crowder band done in stop motion using a lite brite, and I was totally inspired. (I totally loved those things as a kid!) I tried a few things out with chopped up pieces of glass rod – some on white backgrounds, some on clear. I also added black powdered glass frit to some of the samples to see if I could get that “lite brite” effect.
I fell in love with the look of the pieces on white backgrounds with black frit, so I started by chopping up a bunch of glass rods. Normally they are used for lampworking, but they are perfect for this project. I used a mix of 96 coe “veiled” rods, sold by Gaffer USA which have color surrounding clear centers, and regular 96 coe cathedral (transparent) glass rods in bright colors.
I cut 50 one-inch square pieces of white glass, and then glued seven centimeter-long pieces onto each square. I use regular white glue for this as it burns off cleanly in the kiln.
So then I had to gear up for the powder frit section. Safety first! When dealing with powdered glass, you have to protect your lungs by wearing an appropriate dust mask. This one filters both vapors and particulates, so its perfect for both powdered glass and for soldering jewelry or stained glass.
Holding the sifter over the glass piece, I put some powdered glass into the sifter, and then rubbed the spoon over the handle of the sifter, which shakes the glass down onto the piece. Then, once the powdered frit is sifted onto the piece, I used a soft paintbrush to gently knock the powder off of the top of the bits of glass rod.
Repeat 49 times, load them into the kiln as many as you can fit at once, tack fuse the glass so the powder glass melts completely but you still have tall rounded bubbles of color, and you’re ready to go! It took me about three kiln loads to get them all done, but oh well.
Here they all are all together! (They’re numbered so I can remember who made what). Some of them are really amazing, using multiple techniques and equipment I’ll have one day in my dream studio ;o)
I had a fabulous time working on this project and I’m looking forward to participating again next year. It is a great incentive to learn how to do some new cool stuff!
So, I finally have something to show from my new stained glass class! The design has been in the works for a few weeks, with a lot of missteps along the way (oops!). My initial plan started with a sketch that was off by a half inch from the 12″ circle I wanted, and also, wasn’t quite symmetrical, so I started over with a new design. But the central part remained the same – the Texas medallion I wanted for the center.
I knew I wanted the center medallion to be thicker and textural so you could feel it. I know that people don’t initially think “tactile” when they see stained glass, but making glass objects you can feel has become sort of important to me. Perhaps it’s a subliminal rejection of all those “don’t touch” signs on glass objects! But I digress. I started with a 4″ circle of clear glass and put chunky frit (which is crushed glass) on top, then melted it entirely smooth.
Making the medallion itself was old hat, and I love the mottled look that really stands out when you hold it up to the light. But, to get the silhouette of Texas on the medallion, I had to try something new. I freehand sketched the outline of Texas on cardboard and then used an Xacto knife to cut it out and make a stencil. It worked out pretty well.
I put down the cardboard stencil, and used a sifter to spread out a fairly thick layer of white powdered glass. Then, I cleaned up the edges, using a paintbrush to wipe away the extra powder. After a quick tack fuse in the kiln, the glass was permanently bonded together, with a pebbled feel over the Texas bit.
Then, in class today, I went crazy cutting everything out. I’m a pretty fast glass cutter, and actually stayed an extra hour to finish because I knew I would be missing a class in February, and wanted to get ahead. I think it paid off, although I will need to do a lot of cleaning up on edges so the pieces fit together perfectly. And then, I’ll have to copper foil and solder… two things that take me FOREVER.
So, because I cannot (a) measure or (b) do math, I haven’t gotten as far with my “rose window” as I might have hoped. But you can see the sketch I’ve done of it above – yes, it is a “yellow rose of Texas” window, and no, you may not make fun of me for that. It actually has a special meaning to me, hence the choice of subject.
The problem thus far has been that I somehow mismeasured while drafting the initial pattern, which resulted in a window that would have been a half inch too short in diameter for the frame I intended to use. And, since I decided I would just “easily” go on and fix that problem, I also decided to make the window perfectly symmetrical so each of the five sections could be based on one pattern.
(Anyone who knows me well is likely shaking their head as they read this and thinking “here she goes, biting off more than she can chew…” and they’d be right.)
Dividing things into fifths is just plain not as easy as dividing things into quarters! It requires math – the sort of math that I should have been paying better attention to as a high school sophomore in geometry class. The sort of math that is evil and will take up the entirety of your stained glass class while your classmates and instructor look on with expressions of mixed pity and horror and suggest that maybe it might be a better idea to use a computer program to design this thing… or something. But, I am stubborn, and was determined to do it all by hand.
Hopefully by Saturday, I’ll have a pattern ready to go so that I can actually get something out of my next session!
“I do make a living as a surgeon… but when I retire… I’ll be doing glass.” — Steve Immerman
Steve Immerman is one of the more generous glass artists out there – i frequently turn to his website for information on tile saws and pattern bars, two areas I hope to dabble in more this year. So, to find out that he is actually Dr. Immerman, both glass artist and surgeon, was too exciting for me to not share right away. Hope y’all enjoy this video, and I’ll be back in the next few days with a post about the “rose window” I’ve been designing and will work on this winter.
I did another show, and forgot to tell you guys about it!
Bust Holiday Craftacular wasn’t as profitable this year as in the past, but I got to see some old friends (like Kim Fraczek) and meet some new ones (like Penelope Rakov, an amazing glassblower out of Philly).
I shared my booth with my buddy Michele who had a killer day. She is an amazing illustrator and you can also snag her stuff on her Etsy shop.
Beyond that, I have not been up to a lot crafty stuff – work was very busy in December and then I went to visit my family for Christmas. But, on the weekends this winter, I’ll be taking another stained glass class with Joseph Cavalieri, one of my favorite artists, who y’all will remember as the instructor from the 4 day intensive workshop that I did at Urban Glass in Brooklyn last July. I will be updating the blog with photos from class fairly regularly.