29 March 2006

The search for fittings

This is the second time I have trailed up and down looking for fittings so I can join the lenses together. I don't know why this is such an intractable problem. OK today it was Hatton Garden, the jewellery area, and I don't really need silver or gold fitting, but the Bead Shop (where I've been 3 times) only does fittings for beads. Also went to a fishing tackle shop in Stoke Newington which had good long crimps, which will be better than the ones I bought before. I think it simple is going to have to be holes drilled into the glass. I bought six 1.1 mm drill bits today and treated myself to an expensive pair of round-nosed pliers.

24 March 2006


I thought it would be a good idea to string up a few lenses within a frame (not the shape of the final design) to see what the problems might be. E.g. it might be a two-person job and I am not sure threading them 4-deep will work. I did think I had got the methodology right -- 2 holes in each lense, a metal or rubber ring glued inside, and then threaded on tensile cable and double crimped. However, looking at it with a jeweller's eye, the tutor of the day, Yvonne Coffey, thought the detailing a bit naff and she was worried about safety. So it is back to the drawing board. At any rate, this is the effect I want -- lots of distortion and illusion, which this picture doesn't convey.

23 March 2006

Glass Bar

Transposed-space experience by Euston Station at a gay bar -- called The Glass Bar. I wondered whether it related to the Glass Ceiling (as in women's achievement potential) but informed by my companion that not. Day at WAES all about fixtures and fittings as far as I was concerned (how to secure my lenses) -- then on to a glass and ceramics private view in Islington where I noted that frames, lighting, wall-hanging and all that looked like afterthoughts.

22 March 2006

My Glass Circle Lecture

Yesterday I gave my presentation on my year at the International Glass Centre with 40 slides showing what we did in all the seven different areas of the course. I think it went well; certainly I had a good audience (bumped up it is true by the odd friend and relation) and interested questions. Peter Layton said it was 'brave and impressive'. Not sure what 'brave' means. Foolhardy perhaps, to show heavy, wobbly glass to a society of connoisseurs. But it was something a little different from their usual.

14 March 2006

Casting is not for me

... but I've learned something. The wax has to be perfect before you go any further. Because I did this ampersand by the lost-wax method and if I had got the exact sculptural shape I wanted at an earlier stage, I wouldn't have impossible cold-working to do. I don't think I will finish this one. But it was interesting to try it out.

08 March 2006

Central St Martins Open Day

I went to the open day and exhibitions today. I don't know [sigh].

The glass department is down in the basement and is rather cramped and gloomy. We were taken round by a photography tutor who couldn't answer specific questions. And the pieces made by the current Post Grads didn't wow me. Don't know if the text of Failed WorkNo. 2 is legible. Is this typical of art education?

03 March 2006

Casting the ampersand

I actually managed to make 2 moulds on my own -- only asking for a little help from my colleagues. I don't actually enjoy the whole process, because it is a lot of mess before the fun part begins. But the more familiar you get with a process, the easier it is to do next time. Question remains -- what is the point of casting a glass ampersand? Never mind, I decided yesterday was just playtime.

01 March 2006

Visiting Katharine Coleman

I went to tea with Katharine Coleman in her workshop yesterday to have a chat about my article for the Guild of Glass Engravers, acquiring a lathe, photographing glass, and other things. She said something I've since been turning over in my mind about what an engraved object is for; what does it say? What is the engraving adding that makes a meaningful statement. Traditionally, it's had a commemorative purpose, as I had in mind in my 7 July bowl, but that doesn't move us very far towards the 21st century. I am remembering now that my award at Brierley was for cold glass decoration, but what do we now take that word to mean?

Later in the day, Franky came round with a hugely improved version of my Cinderella plate. What I learned from him was that the art of touching up in PhotoShop is not to be eschewed.