29 February 2008

Scribbles at the Whitney

This isn't the version of Scribbles by Sol LeWitt that I saw painted directly onto the wall at the Whitney (because no photography allowed), but it was rather like this, with the white path more central. This would have fitted in with my theoretical discourse essay (not that I needed it) because, according to the caption, LeWitt (a minimalist par excellence) wrote: 'the idea makes the art'. By following a set of instructions, a team created this wall drawing. The artist didn't handle it himself at all. Think Gallé. Think Lalique. Even the eponymous Eiffel Tower (actually designed by Maurice Koechlin & Emile Nouguier whom no one has heard of). If 'the idea makes the art' (and isn't that too glib) then it's OK for me to be getting technical assistance. Discuss.

Velcro and glass

Yep, that's what I said, 'velcro and glass'. Home now (and jet-lagged) sorting through all my pictures from New York and here's something for those of my family who rag me for my 'assembled' goblets (that's UV-glued to you and me). These about-to-be-assembled glasses that I saw at Urban Glass will have velcro at the joint between the bowl and the stem so you can swap bowls as you change your wines and velcro the bowl to your base. I didn't see the finished object, but there's something to talk about to the folk at Farnham.

27 February 2008

Why is a glass not a shoe - revisited

If I had gone on with the crazy goblet idea I would have had to go no further than the Museum of Art & Design, next door to the New York Public Library from where I am blogging this entry. I have just seen a collection of over 100 truly mad goblets - this one shown isn't even the craziest. The exhibition is called Cheers! Very inventive. Come to think of it, it's a good thing I didn't do that project or I'd be feeling a bit disheartened as my thesis had been that drinking glass design was less whacky than shoe design. Perhaps this exhibition disproves that.

Heller Gallery

Truly inspirational morning at the Heller Gallery which is one of the best modern glass galleries in New York. I was fortunate in that a serious buyer seemed to be there at the same time as I was and he was taken down to the vaults to see more pieces that were not out on display and I was invited to come along too. I've loads of pictures - these three are Etsuko Nishi (top) 2 pâte de verre vessels [I must find out more about her technique]; Steffen Dam (middle) 'Specimen Panel' [they had several of his pieces and I really loved them - couldn't figure out how made]; Robin Grebe (bottom) which isn't my 'thing' but it was rather lovely. Plus some Chihuly, Lino Tagliapietra and other luminaries. I spent ages there. Nice of them to let me take so many pix - and I had a really good look at several pieces trying to work out they were made and also looking at the way round things were displayed.

26 February 2008

The Met

The Museum (not the opera, which we went to as well). I must admit, I think the V&A does things better. There's no glass department as such: all the glass is in its various sections - so Roman in classical (first picture); medieval in European and so on. No modern glass to speak of - the handkerchief vase (didn't get the attribution). Still, I had a good time combing through. Including seeing two trumpets made of glass (middle picture out of focus). The reason I snapped the roemer is the incised map around the bowl, which set me thinking about my ghost platters because I keep thinking engraving on them is my next step. A germ of an idea began.

25 February 2008

Urban Glass

I didn't know what Urban Glass was before going to look: had heard of it, but hadn't realised that it is entirely hired out, either to individuals or for classes that it runs. There's also a gallery where this blown piece by Katie Creyts called 'Enchanting' caught my eye. Was I enchanted, though?
Or did it resonate with the flavour of my all-American-kitsch lunch earlier in the day? (Or is it just that I was looking for an excuse to get this ketchup picture in?)

21 February 2008

Roundel fever

The one I had such high hopes of wasn't out of the lehr when I left yesterday - and I'm pretty sure it's too thick and not as I'd hoped because various things went wrong. I'll just have to make it again. I polished these two reasonably successfully (still finding cold-working the bottom very tricky) - one of these I think I will give to our New York hosts-to-be. Slumped some other failed pieces in a kiln, ready to cut up and re-fuse. One of those weeks when things didn't go according to plan. Except for spectacular marks for my 2 assessment units - really very pleasing indeed.

18 February 2008

Cracked it

Another one I've got high hopes of. I can just see it blown out: the khaki colour will blow out gold. When I say 'cracked it' -- unfortunate double entendre -- I mean, I think I've worked out how to get the crushed glass to stick to the sides of the mould without disintegrating into the middle as it dries out.

14 February 2008

Brightly coloured

Now this one is just a bit gaudy, I'd say - though there are parts of it I quite like. Same day we did a beauty, but there were incompatibility cracks in it and then I ruined it by grinding some of the colour out of the middle. And I thought I'd been quite canny, too, in having a good base of dark colour. There are just so many things that can go wrong. Even at the very last stage. I don't know if I ever blogged the time I went through all the processes from preparation to final finishing and then dropped it on my way to the car. Hey-ho, but I'm always hopeful of a real success. Two more are cooling in the lehr as I write.

07 February 2008


Why are spirals so innately satisfying? My theory is that it's buried deep within our DNA. This is what the entry below blew out as (apparently I was a nightmare assistant because I lost my cool, which you must never do). Being quite controlled with my colours at the pate de verre stage seems to have held the blue in, but I should have had the courage to put a subtle dash of red somewhere. A flamed flick in the centre, perhaps. It's a pretty nice piece of glass all the same.

03 February 2008

Ghost bowl

I have high hopes of this one blowing out well. But it will be tricky as the dark blue will want to distort the whole thing. I have had success with a thin line of blue, and I am hoping that by balancing it all round, the colours will hold each other up and not blow out differently. In hopes my next blog entry will report back a good outcome - though one thing I have learned is that you mustn't get attached at this stage, despite the investment in time and resources. I reckon each blown out piece takes 5 person-hours, of which 1 is help with the blowing. And for every 1 that is a real success, there are perhaps 3 that aren't. Perhaps even 4 or 5. So (conservatively) the one in table jewellery takes 20 hours to achieve. Plus costs. A gallery mark-up is standardly two-and-a-half times what the artist receives (taking account of VAT). So it's not exactly going to be a bread-winner.
Posted by Picasa

01 February 2008

Final Project

This is the booklet describing the requirements for our Final Project in university-speak. I'm on the home run now with the workshops at my disposal for the next 30 weeks. The academic writing is more or less over and it's a case of thinking through what I want to present as my body of work. An installation or series using my captured bowl roundels? A finished proposal and sample panel for the hospital project? Or jewellery for the ZeST show? I think I know, but now's the time for serious planning.