There’s been a long pause in my posts to this page. Since the Open Studio last year I have moved house and built a new studio. I now have good light, a warm room and running water in the Studio.
I am pleased to be able to say that I can now handle sheet glass safely again, and have begun working in a variety of ways rather than just with frit.
Recent works include two commissioned triptychs, one an abstract piece in tawny and orange tones for a dining room in Cheltenham, and the other a rendering of a view in Cyprus for above a fireplace near Milton Keynes. This is photographed on acrylic stands before posting.
Both of these allowed me to explore the commissioning process, new colours, and the excellent adjustabail hanging system which gives great ease of hanging for the customer.
I’ve also been working on lower fired double sided pieces which have a rough powdery surface texture. This piece is called Moongazer, and I am submitting it to the Bullseye Emerge competition.
The first few days of this powder drawing challenge we were allowed to use a sifter, a business card and our fingers to do the imagery. Yesterday we could add any tool provided it wasn’t a brush – and people came up with an amazing array of found and constructed tools, including a meat tenderiser (made a great sunflower heart). I used a toothpick, mostly because I had just bought a very cheap box of a thousand, and I had a card lying around with a frosty teazle and I figured they could be great together.
Today we were allowed to add another new tool, though again not a brush. I wasn’t sure what to pick. I wanted to try a picture of an owl, having torn one out of a magazine, and I wanted to get a soft fluffy look – several people had done images of cats and birds that looked really strokeable. What could I use to help me get a fluffy look?
After a bit of thought I decided the real tool I needed for this kind of textural detail was time and patience. I allowed myself a larger piece of glass (I’ve been working on 10x5cm pieces of white opal glass). This piece is 10x15cm. I then got myself some zippy trad jazz on the CD player and set to work slowly and carefully. Nine whole tracks later I decided I wasn’t improving things by going over the image so I stopped.
Not as good as I hoped, but better than it might have been. I then did a super quick teazle with the 5x10cm piece of glass made by cutting the other bit….
Today is day of the sgraffito challenge. Today we were allowed to add tools other than our fingers and business card. Drew a quick sketch of a teasel (think I accidentally called it a thistle) using a tooth pick. The pointed tip was just right for getting the wispy spiky stem. Having enjoyed that I then worked with a photograph of Camille Claudel- apart from realising after I finished that the eyes were too large I quite like this.
Moved onto some Rodin sculptures- don’t have the originals to hand but propped a book up and set to work. I tried using a rubber tipped tool which did move the glass powder well but I lacked dexterity with it. I threw away the full length image, after doing it twice when I knocked it over once just as I got to the point that I liked it. The final image isn’t recognisable as anything, but it was the back of a crouching figure. Hence the title…when else am I going to say I threw away Rodins.
I chose a picture of the Cornish coastline for this challenge. I decided to do two drawings, one where I added the glass powder with my fingers and the other when I sifted powder over the whole glass to start with and then removed it with the card. I found it tricky working so small (these pieces of glass are just 5cmx10cm). I should have converted the coloured image to black and white as that is another difficulty trying to imagine the correct grayscale on a coloured photo. I forgot about this step as I had found this photo while tidying up and thought it would do.
This one was done by dribbling glass powder onto the glass with my fingertips, and then moving it a little with either fingers or card. I did sift a little powder onto the whole image near the end to give some colour to the sea and sky.
I sifted black glass powder thickly over the glass first then removed some with the card, and finished off by trying to soften the clouds and waves with my fingertips.
Both together in the kiln waiting to be fired when it is full. They do look quite different.