26 May 2005

Award for cold glass decoration

I am the proud winner of the John Davies Memorial Award for my progress in engraving (mainly, I think, the plate). I win £100 and a glass trophy to keep, and my name on a large cut crystal trophy that the college keeps. Picture of presentation still in Stephen's (non-digital) camera. I am thrilled.

25 May 2005

Jug-a-jug jug

I made a jug on Monday. Invented a new fashion in handles. No I didn't; who is kidding whom? The zany result was because I couldn't control it. And the spout (which is passably neat) isn't opposite the handle. Honestly, I thought it was as I confidently pulled a lip out of the rim. If you are reading this without a picture -- look back after the weekend when I hope to have posted one.

21 May 2005

First attempt at marbling

Here's a picture sequence:
Jim bringing me a colour trail; feathering the trail

blowing the bubble; necking in

cracking off the punty; opening out

boarding the edge; spinning out

cracking off

I forgot to photograph the finished bowl.

18 May 2005

Drop an egg

Tore out a page from a notebook today and found the 'ice breaker' exercise we did in 2 teams in the induction week. It was a good way of engaging with each other. One of John's best ideas. He gave us all:
2 sheets of A3 paper
6 sheets of A4 paper
a roll of cellotape
10 elastic bands
1 egg
The task was to construct something so we could drop the egg from the top of the stairs onto the floor without breaking it. We had a notional 20 mins (extended). My team made a parachute which successfully sailed down the stairs. The other team suspended the egg inside a structure that had cone-shaped landing points all round to buffer the drop. We all won.

17 May 2005

A rosy bowl

It's very quiet here. Hardly anyone using the workshops. Seems daft to me when we have all these facilities at our disposal, free. True, it's difficult to get on the kiln rota because the professional development crowd have priority, but there's plenty else to do. I am cold-working a bowl with a hint of a rosy streak across it. Was meant to be feathered trails, but it didn't do that. However, it's given me an idea. I don't think I've seen much engraved work that uses colour as part of the design. Going to try it. Picture will follow.

15 May 2005

Life's not all Me, Me, Me

Nor is it Ha, Ha, Hee. 36 other students were exhibiting too, natch. Here's are things by Ai(left) and Louise (right). I should emphasise that other people are far better at glass-blowing than I am. Not everyone, but quite a few. And lots of very interesting kiln work on display too.

14 May 2005

Plate codicil

Final version of the plate - now packed up and gone to Himley. Got a nasty turn when the college chose this and my curtain of lenses as the two pieces they would keep. We've known from the beginning that two 'representative' pieces of our work would become the property of the college in exchange for our free tuition and materials. Tears and tantrums (well, a sulk and then a regroup). Anyway I've renegotiated. Promised to do a plate specially. And I have an idea -- which makes it exciting and more fun.

13 May 2005

Party pictures

Here's a sample of the jollities:
the spread depleted; John delivering invitations to the Himley Hall private view;
and a demo in the hot shop (they made a huge plate).
I rather enjoyed it -- the usual tongue-loosener contributing to get-on-better-with-colleagues syndrome. I come across normally as a bit distant. Lunch at Ruskin promised with Sue the sandcaster, and a Bingo date with the other Sue, who used to live in my flat. We can't, we agreed, live opposite a Bingo Hall for a year and not go.

11 May 2005

Party time

The exhibitions are all up, the moderator has been, pieces have been chosen for the public exhibition at Himley Hall (7 of mine selected), and the party starts at 6.30. I have got the wine boxes in my locker. Going home now to do platters of baked potatoes, curried egg halves and salami slices. Stephen arrives on the 5.30 bus. Should be fun.

09 May 2005

In moderation

The moderator is here and everyone is wandering around not quite knowing what to do, but needing to be around in case called upon. It is mildly enervating. There's a group dynamic that everyone feels. People are also anxious about pricing the work that is to be chosen for Himley Hall. None of mine is for sale, but it still has to be priced for insurance. Very difficult.

07 May 2005

Engraved plate

I'm ready, except for my final best (I hope) piece, which is to be this plate I blew at Martin's with 6 dancing couples engraved. I am still struggling with the rest of its design. Shall I put lettering in the middle - e.g. 'On with the dance! Let joy be unconfined' (Byron) or 'Now is the month of Maying...', or a grassy bank, or shall I do something else between the couples, like a maypole? I've got the weekend to do it. Or I might just present it as it is and finish it when I go to West Dean in June.

Exhibition nearly ready

This is what my part of the room looked like as I left on Friday. Nearly ready for the moderator's visit on Monday morning.

06 May 2005

A run of three quite good blown things

For some reason I felt quite relaxed in hot glass on Wednesday, and everything suddenly flowed and I made these three (cold-worked today). The cranberry one is like the bowl of my Victorian glasses and it's a good shape. Just a lot too thick. I lose courage at a certain point when it seems to be going well and I don't want to ruin what I've got by over-working. The Thursday evening class also went well - the largest item with 4 gathers. It's in the lehr now. I'll see on Monday.

05 May 2005

Almost a palindrome

How can I resist an entry at 5 o'clock on 05/05/05 - almost as good as the palindrome party we had in 2002 with delicacies such as evil olive, wet stew, salad alas - and I can't remember what else. So what happened today? Well, I notched up my 24 assessment points (which, of course, the moderator might moderate) and the only thing spoiling my run of Level 3 in everything (highest we can get) was the scent bottle unit in which I got Level 2. But maybe I was lucky to get it at all. Lucky? No, actually. I worked rather hard at it. Another week devoted to the cause and I could have got more than 3 out of the stoppers in my collection fitting.

04 May 2005

Comma Separated Values and Storyteller

The Red House Cone is going to exhibiting this in June and has found a story-teller called John Edgar who will use it as a springboard for stories of misunderstanding and ambiguity. I've reduced my 'blurb' on it to this:

This piece shows an outsize punctuation mark made of layers of optical lenses. Removed of context, it could be a comma, an apostrophe or a quotation mark. This ambiguity is reflective of the way in which language, meaning and vision alter according to perspective.

The title is a metaphor: technically it denotes a computer file format used to exchange data between disparate applications, but viewers are invited to create their own meanings according to values of their own.

This is part of an ongoing exploration of where text and glass interact.

03 May 2005

Patterns of behaviour

Got this up now. This piece is based around the circle as a metaphor for the cycle of life. It celebrates exuberance and asymmetry of pattern within a constraining circular form. The patterns are drawn from primitive motifs from all parts of the world as well as from photomicrographs of living organisms. Within this arrangement is the human form; at times precariously wedged, at others in harmony with the rest. They are bound by patterns that have existed before they were born.