Funerary Art

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I’ve had this idea of a soul “catcher” or container for at least a year, if not 2. In the past 2 years I have lost family members who are dear to me. Part of what I am learning and observing is that death is such a part of living and yet, our society generally wants to sanitize it and separate it from every day life. This is my way of making it a companion and not something to be feared. Life must be celebrated in every way. We all are born and we all will die.

I want to create something that will be its own entity artistically, but will tell the story of my loss and learning about how death and life are entwined. I want to create these items in a way that they are remnants of a society that is no longer active. An archeological find, that we are discovering and interpreting for ourselves. There will be symbols, figures, and items that we will not be able to know the true meaning of, but as a whole will speak to us about how these people lived and died.

This idea started with just a simple bowl – something that would be light (luminous) and substantive. Over time, it has evolved to become more. I realized my symbols could enrich the meaning behind these tools. I could create a full story that would share what I have learned, what I am learning, and even what I don’t know yet. I could bring peace to my sorrow and celebrate the lives that have ended.

Everything’s Copic

I’m still deciding which way I will go with glass work – studio or shared space. But in the mean time I’ll be creating in another way.

We went to Emerald City Comic Con for the first time and HOLY COW!! That was awesome! Any of my friends are welcome to come stay with us next year since it’s sooooo close. And awesome.

We did a lot of things and bought a lot of things. And there were so many artists, we got inspired and bought some markers…

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And I’ve been busy drawing since:

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And we had our photo take with John Barrowman, and visited Karen Hallion and the Devil’s Panties:

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My daughter’s a huge fan & since she couldn’t be there, we did the next best thing…

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And some other in process shots:

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My poor little naiad. These are process shots. I eventually gave up and started anew. I’m not even bothering with showing v.2WIP_Nymphea2WIP_Nymphea3

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Getting my Sea legs

I’m settling into life here in Seattle. My first challenge – the hills! Man, oh man, are there some steep hills around here! But, I’m getting stronger everyday and soon I will wonder why I was such a crybaby at first. :)

It’s also time to start looking for a creative space. I visited Pratt Fine Arts today and it’s an amazing facility. I’m also looking at Bulleye‘s class schedule and deciding on what I want to do first.

I’m beginning to feel the separation from family and friends. As much as I looked forward to being in Seattle, I’ve reached that transitional stage where I start reaching out and making new friends and missing the ones on the other side of the country.

Cross your fingers I can find an individual studio space as well. Right now, I have to work within the parameters of using other people’s equipment, which requires me to plan. Planning my creativity? What is that?!

I will have pictures to post of new work – just give me another month. :)

Until then, here are some photos of my cats after their long flight.

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Transcontinental, aka the Big Move

I have been in the weeds for so long, I didn’t realize it’s been nearly 4 months since I’ve posted anything.

The Big Move is that I now live in Seattle, Washington!

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Long story short…Just the week before Thanksgiving 2014, Donald received his offer from a job he applied for in Seattle. We spent all of December packing up, then I spent all of January and February cleaning up.

I’m very, very excited to be close to friends who are glass artists, friends IRL, internet friends, Desert Bus, glass creatives in general, and Bullseye Glass in Portland. My scooter will be burning up I-5 in warmer weather, or via train or zip car in cooler weather, to learn as much as I can at Bullseye. Plus, I will be creating at Pratt Fine Arts here in Seattle (I have to get “certified” first though).

Look for more to come in the days ahead.

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Our first day, we had to go up in the Space Needle.

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On the train between Seattle, WA and Portland, OR

Some things I did before the move:

Through the Fire Show, 2014

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A Green Lantern Plate:

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A set of Borderlands plates:

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Keychains for PAX South:

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Finished my Explore NY pieces:

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And made a gift for a friend:

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Reset

I think it’s reset time for me. I had a great time in New York and it’s really put me in a place to create again. I won’t be moving to the new studio, but working in my studio at home. This is a GOOD thing and it doesn’t mean I will be any less involved at CoRK or elsewhere, just concentrating on creating smaller work that will be more experimental – stretching myself to focus my artistic voice.

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Painted Frogs

I was contacted by a friend of mine who wanted to give a gift to a friend of theirs. We discussed what he wanted and I was pretty excited about the subject: frogs.

I have a thing for frogs and my favorite is the green tree frog. So that’s what I made for this project.

I knew exactly what glass I was going to use, too. A piece of the french vanilla with cascading rhubarb pink-green shift glass. The really cool extra about the rhubarb glass is that is color shifts from green to a reddish color depending on the light.
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Yes, this really is the same glass in both pictures. No, it's not the exact same piece of glass...

Yes, this really is the same glass in both pictures. Sunlight on the left, fluorescent light on the right.

I had just purchased my enamel paints (bonus that they are lead free!) and this would be my first attempt at color work. It was good that I had a great subject to start with.

After selecting the glass, I looked at all the molds I had to offer and we decided on a 6″ round bowl. I hadn’t had success with it the past, but I figured it was because I hadn’t actually leveled the mold & glass.

Cutting circles is tricky business. You need to cut in one, continuous motion without overlapping your starting point. Then you have to press on the backside of the score line to make the cut. It really sucks when your glass doesn’t crack along the score line.  Fortunately, my glass behaved, for the most part, and I didn’t have to grind it much to smooth it out.

Tricksy circles...

Tricksy circles…

I selected my colors, found a reference photo and painted away. It took me about an hour to get it just the way I wanted it.

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Close up!

Close up

Ready to fire!

Ready to fire

The enamels mature at 1500°F, but I didn’t want to fire it above a “normal” tack fuse temp, 1410°F. And I wasn’t sure how the enamels would look at a lower temperature. I put it in the kiln and prayed the mixed colors and the texture wouldn’t do anything funky.

To say I was pleased with the results was an understatement! I loved it so much, I knew I had to do another for myself. My friend was also happy so it was on to slumping!

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Slumping, as I have touched on in my Star Wars plate video, is where I heat the glass enough for it to bend so it takes the shape of the mold it is on or in. I set my temp for 1225°F and timed it to stay at top temperature for about 10 minutes. I leveled the mold so the glass would fall in evenly.

Or so I hoped.

Wonky little bowl... so sad.

Wonky little bowl… so sad.

When I opened the kiln the next day I was frustrated. The glass had not slumped evenly, though better than the only other time I had used this mold. I contacted my friend and agreed to make another.

Prefired, Le Grenouille Deux.

Prefired, Le Grenouille Deux.

In the mean time, I had an idea to use a different mold that I would drape the glass bowl on. Draping and slumping are essential the same, the difference is a convex vs. concave application of glass on the mold.

The second frog turned out as great as the first, and the second slumping of the original bowl was a success! My friend took the flat, second frog and I got to keep the original! Win win!!

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Froggy goodness.

In the sun, the base green glass shows it’s pink side.

In the sun, the base green glass shows it’s pink side.

I’ll be doing more of these types of paintings on glass as soon as my new studio is set up. In the mean time, feel free to ask me questions about this project. :)

Pendant Classes

It’s been a weird summer… not a lot of productivity, however…

I met Jane Bruce at the Bullseye RCNY for a critique class. She’s AWESOME.

I’m moving to a new studio across the street in October. Yay!! More kilns!

I’ve started having pendant classes! Details are below. The next 2 are Friday 8/22 @ 7 pm and Saturday 9/6 @ 1 pm.


Pendant Class

Make your own fused glass pendant using “part sheets” (pre-fired, patterned glass), color, and specialty glass. You will learn about the range of effects you can achieve with kilnformed (fused) glass and design your pendant(s) from start to finish.

All supplies, plus one Sterling silver chain included. No prior experience necessary.

$40 for a single pendant, $25 per additional pendant. A deposit of $20 is required to secure your place. PayPal email is helenc *at* elemental *dot* name.

5 student maximum.

Revisions & Visions

I have new art up on my Etsy – go buy something!

I revisited these panels and here they are finished:

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(I’ve gained new respect for those who photograph glass professionally after updating my portfolio site.)

I’m also working out some ideas involving casting, audio, LEDs, & arduinos in line with my idea about reliquaries.

I’m finalizing my plans for a trip the to the Bullseye Resource Center NY in Mamaroneck. I’m pretty stoked about this one because it’s a salon/discussion/critique session. I’ve been feeling very stuck and directionless for the past couple months. I’m hoping getting feedback from other glass artists who have not seen my work before will be a good check for me and help me on my way to find my artistic voice.

Jeremy Scidmore, one of the instructors from my North Lands class, offered this advice:

Here’s a tough question.  “What do you want to personally get out of your art?”

Next question is “What do you want the viewer to get out of it?”

I sometimes find the easiest way to go about answering these questions is by isolating myself and writing it down in list form and then flesh out paragraphs from that.

I think this will be a great tool to use continually to keep me focused and going in the direction I want/need to go with my art.

I may be moving to a new studio in September. If I do, it will me I can have EVERY kiln up and running! Wooooo! But I have to save my pennies for the deposit and 1st month’s rent. Help a girl out and buy some glass! :D

Tiny Grass Dreaming

Its funny what will spark ideas. I was reading one of those internet lists of funny translations and came across this:

Dreaming Grass

I love the idea that grass could dream. So, I’m running with it.

Test panels for Tiny Grass Dreaming.

Tiny Grass Dreaming tests

 

And while I was at it, I revisited one of my river panels. I think I definitely needed to add more to them. The right one will be revised as well.

 

River Series green