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Ocean Studios & Plymouth Art Weekender

Ocean Studios

I have finally moved into Ocean Studios last week. Unfortunately the workshops won’t be ready until the end of the month, so I’m getting things ready for the Plymouth Arts Weekender and the 2nd Half Career Art Exhibition.

I’m sharing my studio with a fellow glass artist Matt Tomas who will be a Tent London next week, so won’t be around for the Plymouth Arts Weekender.

Plymouth Art Weekender

This will be taking place in arts venues all over Plymouth from the 25th – 27th September and Ocean Studios will be having open studios during this weekend. 
I will be there all over the weekend and I will have the studio open with examples of Matt’s and my work on display. Ocean Studios will also be having a private view on Thursday 24th September from 5:30 – 7:30pm.

Also I have been involved with a networking group for creatives for Plymouth and the South West. The group is called Doo:zie SW and it’s first event is at Radient/Rumpus Cosy on the 24th September, from 6-9pm.

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FabLab

For the past few weeks I have been participating in a course at the FabLab at Plymouth College of Art. The FabLab has 3D printers, CNC milling and router machines and a laser cutter and this technology is at the cutting edge of art, craft and design. We also to become competent using Rhino 5 CAD software. This enables you to generate 3D work which can be printed on a 3D printer.
My project was to create a section of a larger piece and these sections will be cast in glass. The interior negative space has a grid pattern with lots of undercuts. So printing on a 3D printer is the ideal solution as the PLA plastic will burn out in a kiln.

Ideal for lost “wax” style casting. I will probably make a silicone mould of the printed model and then I can make many wax casts.

From these I can make refractory moulds for different coloured glass.

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Gosplan, 2015

Here are some photographs of one of my finished pieces. Apologies for the the poor photo quality as I used my phone to take them, so the colours are a bit muted.

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!…2…3 and I’m back in the room!

Well back in the workshops at Plymouth College of Art to be precise. As a result of my Hothouse activities, I have kindly been allowed back to use the facilities on an informal residency. So I am currently working on a new body of work that is influenced by Constructivist architecture.

Copyright: Andrey Stvolinsky

My main focus has been on the grids and tessellation of windows, and the piece that I am working on uses the main round window of the Gosplan Garage by Konstantin Melinkov.

I started to make my model from clay but I decided to use polystyrene instead. I used wooden coffee stirrers for the window frames. However I had problems with gaps so I had to cut out, accurately, cartridge paper to cover these gaps.

From this I made a silicone mould so that I could make wax casts. There was problems with the window frame details breaking off or the wax not getting into the channels, so I did a silicone cast form the silicone mould which worked perfectly. I used the rest of the polystyrene ball to make a mould. This half-sphere mould could be filled or partially filled to create sections in wax, as if sliced in half or thirds.

I eventually made open-cast plaster/flint moulds of all the sections.

When these came out of the kiln, I set about grinding them smooth so that I can assemble them as complete pieces.

I plan to fuse the sections together by making moulds and stacking the sections within these moulds and firing them in the kiln.

#hothouse5

I am pleased to finally announce that I have been accepted onto the craft Council’s Hothouse programme.


Press Release

Crafts Council announces the 39 new makers selected for Hothouse 2015 The Crafts Council has selected 39 makers to take part in the six-month Hothouse programme which is delivered in partnership across four regions in the UK.
Hothouse has quickly established itself as a gold-standard professional development programme for new makers. Over the last four years 122 participants have completed the programme with 100% of last year’s cohort of 38 saying that the programme had enabled them to think differently about the direction of their career.
This is the first year that Craft Scotland has sponsored a cohort of six makers all based in Scotland. Other new regional partners include Manchester Craft & Design Centre and Manchester School of Art.
The 39 makers selected already display a high level of technical craftsmanship and originality but the programme, which starts in February 2015, will equip them with the business and creative skills needed to run a successful and sustainable craft practice.

“Hothouse has proven itself an invaluable programme for early career makers and it is only possible by working with knowledgeable and enthusiastic partners. This year is no different and we are looking forward to working with Craft Scotland on the first Scottish cohort.” Rosy Greenlees, Executive Director, Crafts Council
“We have seen the positive impact on the careers of the few makers in Scotland who have been fortunate enough to have taken part in Hothouse programme in previous years. Therefore we are delighted to host a Scottish cohort for the first time and look forward to learning alongside the makers in their journey of discovery and development.” Fiona Logue, Director, Craft Scotland 
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(Get your kicks on) Route 66!

I have been working on a commission for my cousin Karen, who took her family across the United States along the famous Route 66. Karen wanted a version of the route sign in leaded glass. I downloaded a photo and manipulated it so that I had a high contrast print that could then be used to create the “cartoon”. The cartoon is an accurate drawing of the panel, which indicates the glass and lead sections.

I also had to tighten up the lettering as the characters had started to fill and I wanted to sharpen up the typography. So I was now able to paste this onto the finished cartoon.


I decided that I wanted the lettering on the shield to be “reversed-out” of colour, so that the lettering would be clear glass. I thought that powdered and granulated glass (frit) would emphasis the weatherbeaten aesthetic that are a feature of these rusting signs. I used Spectrum 96 compatible fusers glass for the clear glass base and the “grit”.
 I cut out the lettering from a copy of the cartoon and stuck them in position with double-sided tape. I could then apply fuser’s glue and sprinkle the powder and granules onto the sheet of clear Spectrum 96. On the lower panel of the shield I used powdered frit and then poured more fuser’s glue and let it run to give the impression of spray paint graffiti.


Once the glue had dried then the lettering was pealed away from the clear glass bass and fired in a kiln. Unfortunately the firing proved to be problematic as bubbles were formed on the lower panel, causing the lettering to distort. I then decided to follow the distorted shape of the lettering, again to emphasis the shabby aesthetic. 
Despite spending quite a bit of money on my Dremel tool, the attachments were not suitable for glass so I ended up using the tips of diamond files to hand etch the lettering.

I was able to complete the panel despite the issue with the glass bubbling in the kiln and the subsequent distortion of the lettering.

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Getting my house in order

Since leaving Uni I have been organising my studio/workshop that I have set up in the small bedroom. I already had my dad’s homemade light box, which is useful for flat glass and creating presentation material.

I needed somewhere to set up a ‘cold working” area. Grinding, polishing and engraving with glass requires the necessary tools and that vital element, water. I set up a bench using a couple of “A” frames and a board, and then set about figuring out a water supply. I didn’t want to plumb in a water supply but I found a camping water container with a tap and I fixed a hook into the wall and hung the water container from it. However the weight of the water pulled the container out of shape. I needed to find something to hold the container securely. I found a small wooden fishing stool, which had been used as a bedside table in the guest room, and that was attached to the hook and the container sat comfortably on the opened seat.

The next thing was to attach a hose so that the water could be directed towards the working area. I got  clear plastic hose and ear defenders and pushed the hose through one of the ear plugs. This was plugged into the tap of the container perfectly without any leaks. I am able to control the amount of water for any cold working that I need to do.

The bench has a grinder, a Dremel multi-tool, a light source, a large magnifying glass and various grits and polishes for hand lapping.

Unfortunately I am now unable to close the studio door, but at last I can now experiment with the Dremel.