Sunday, October 3, 2010

Painting with glass

Funny how every now and then you get up in the morning and do something different. One morning a couple of weeks ago I drove up to Portland and bought 15 pounds of scrap glass from a couple of professional glass artists, and ended up cranking up my little HotShot kiln that I hadn't plugged in since I moved into this house five years ago. It took me two days to find all my tools and books and firing logs, but eventually I got everything together and started playing with my scraps. Having them already cut into small random pieces made it really easy to get started, I didn't need a plan or pattern, I just had an idea of which colors to start with. I made a pile I liked:

Now I had an arrangement I liked, but it was too big to fire in my little kiln, so I cut the pieces down to this:

It was late night by that time so I went to sleep thinking of colors and shapes and different designs I could try, and right after breakfast the next morning I set up a chair and table in the garage so I could babysit my first firing in over five years. My brave little kiln fired right up and worked perfectly, and later that afternoon I was able to take out my piece and enjoy it:

I love glass! I love the colors, I love how it melts and flows together, I love the technical aspects and the need for focus and attention, and I really love how it adds light and beauty to a space. The transparency or translucency gives you another parameter to play with. It's also really fun to have something you can hold in your hands, and hang indoors or out.

I had so much fun I did four more firings in the next 6 days!

Here's another piece in the kiln, ready for firing:

And here's my latest piece, which I fired yesterday:

Having all these colors of glass, not to mention iridescence and dichroism and surface textures as well to play with is just like being a sugar junkie in a candy store. I think it might be addictive. One thing it's great for is playing with color in a free and fun way. But like the ink paintings, there's a need for precise control during the process and there's waiting involved, so it's no instant gratification thing. Patience is good, and it's something I find myself working on all the time.

Another great benefit to living in NW Oregon is that Portland is home to two premier manufacturers of glass for fusing, Uroboros and Bullseye, and probably hundreds of glass artists, many of whom are constantly pushing the boundaries of glassworking.

So I've got me another fascinating indoor hobby to work on through the winter. I hope to have a garden full of glass goodies by spring!

No comments:

Post a Comment