State of Flux!

Hi everybody. it’s been a while since my last post, but I have finally finished the profoundly dull assignment for Uni, so I can get back to some proper full-on creative expression. However, maybe because of the boring assignment, or I’m just not in the groove, I’ve been having great difficulty coming up with an idea for the next brief “Artist/Designer Maker”. After last terms constrained “Design for Industry” brief, which turned out very well for me, this new brief allows a lot more freedom. Freedom to express myself is the problem. I have too many unfeasible ideas which has cause this state of flux, which is not a comment on the condition of my Borax (a bit of a silver soldering in-joke, sorry).

My first idea came from an old brief that Sue McGillvray mentioned when I was first shown around the Glass Department, at an open day. That theme was “Message in a Bottle”. My idea is to use my favourite bottle-related song “The Bottle” by Gil Scott-Heron and transfer that song around the outside of the bottle, etched on the surface. Then construct a Phonograph, the type used to play wax cylinders before discs were invented, to play the song. A kinetic sculpture!

The problems are that glass will be very difficult to etch sound onto and I don’t know how to build a phonograph!

My next idea was to use the “9 Cubes” and develop the flexible composition idea of having many similar forms and blocks of glass that can be arranged accordingly. I can across a couple of amazing Czech glass artists who use kiln formed and cut glass, Frantisek Vizner and Stanislav Lebinsky.

Vizner’s pieces are based on functional vessels, but they defy expectations and they are beautifully cut and finished, and Libensky creates forms and cuts into them to create interior shapes and spaces. Sidney R Hutter’s geometric vessels contain “…nothing but the liquidity of light” and are cut from laminated plate glass.

I also looked at Op Art from the likes of Bridget Riley and Victor Vaserely, but I have always been interested in including photography to glass and I am an admirer of the work of Deborah Sandersley. She makes photo-montages and prints them onto glass, and it is as if the 2D medium of photography acquires 3D properties.

 A while back I took some black and white photos of my home town of Croydon (pre-riots)  and I thought I might try and use them to create a 3D sculptural block of cut glass, where the images react to the light and the refractive properties of glass. So I printed the photos on overhead projector film through my printer and came up with this!

The top picture is a transparent maquette from made from transparent film prints and acetate, and the bottom is a just paper impression. the print quality on the transparent maquette is a bit light and insipid, but I’m hoping that when it is printed on the glass it will have more definition. I will add some enamel paint for some spots of colour and the outer cast will have sand-blasted details. and heat polished to give a smooth glossy finish. This is still a work in progress and I may even change my mind and do something completely different.

My plan is to make seven different sculptures based on these photos. As you all know, all the great cities are built on seven hills (Rome, Athens, Lisbon, Barcelona and Edinburgh to name a few of sixty or so) and Croydon has seven hills! During the regeneration of Croydon in the 50s and 60s, seven car parks were built and the are known locally as Croydon’s seven hills. You can even go on a historical walk to these edifices of the automobile!

Quality! See you soon.

On the wheel of steel!

I came across this photo of some pots that I did just before Christmas.

When I first did the “Pot Throwing” workshop, I managed to drop a days worth of pot throwing on the floor! At the end of the day, I was moving the pieces that I had thrown to a shelf for bisque firing. The pieces were lined up on a plank of wood behind the wheel, but the plank was not fixed or a part of the wheel station, as I was lead to believe. As I lifted the second piece, the rest of the days work fell to the floor as the plank tipped.

So always check that shelves are shelves, and not planks! As you will end up looking like a plank!
Anyway, I returned and redid all the pots that I did the first time round, then when they had dried Leather-hard I was able to finish or turning them.
I find pot throwing very therapeutic and I can easily zone-out when I am at the wheel, which is okay when throwing pots but not when you are driving! Pot turning also has that affect on me. To those of you that don’t know what I mean by turning, is the method of smoothing the pot, in particular the base or foot of the pot. When the pot is almost dry it is leather-hard, and the pot can be put upside-down on the wheel, secured with wetter plastic clay around the lip and the wheel. Once it is secure and centred, the base can be shaped and smoothed to form a foot using tools.
 So if anyone knows of a cheap potter’s wheel for sale let us know. Anyway peace out until next time.

Another “Blast from the Past”

Hi you lot, I’m just taking a break from some profoundly dull college work to show you something else that I made a while back. Yet again it is the copper-foil method of joining stained glass and this was my first attempt at a box.

The glass reminded me of a beautiful sunset which I thought was appropriate, and the lid was cut in sections to represent a cross and a capital “A” for Anita. The side is made from cut rectangles of glass to roughly form the shape of the heart.

The handle is made from pink geometric beads that I stuck with epoxy resin. It is not quite the correct shade and in hindsight I would have used the same glass and copper-foiled the edges and soldered. The handle was a bit of an afterthought.

9 Cubes, 2011

Hello and welcome to my blog. I’ve been meaning to set one up for a while and I have finally got round to doing it. I am a student at Plymouth College of Art studying a BA Contemporary Crafts, but I prefer to call it Applied Arts.
Before I started this course I was doing a class in Stained Glass that included glass painting and basic glass fusing. The teacher on the course, Nicky Calvert, was the one that suggested I enter a piece for the V&A’s annual “Inspired by…” competition. Unfortunately by the time I had designed the piece, it was too late to enter the competition. I still finished the piece regardless. It was also Nicky that helped me with advice about a portfolio to apply for a degree course. So I am eternally grateful to Nicky for her expertise and enthusiasm for all crafts.
Anyway, here is the piece that I didn’t get round to submitting.
9 Cubes, 2011
 It is based on a couple of pieces in the V&A, and the criteria of the competition is that your piece is inspired by the exhibits within the museum. The pieces are “Triangular Basket” by Maggie Henton (1992) and “12 Cubes” by Glenys Barton (1971). The surfaces of each cube are based on the pattern of the basket, and that I opted for cubes as opposed to tetrahedrons after seeing them. The cubes allowed the piece to be flexibly displayed, which I thought was rather appealing.
 These are made from decorative glass, the type used in stained glass, and joined using strips of copper foil, bead soldered together.