The print call-of-submission deadline that I was grinding towards delayed this entry, but it ended up being pushed for another month, which is a blessing. That being said, I am going to continue cultivating my rate of productivity.
Vessel has reached the point where I can play around with proofs, to see what needs revisiting and how I want the finals to look. After the Lonely Hydra, I experience a bit of a thrill before running the plate through the press, just WAITING for the dings of stress fissures. But so far so good. I've been posting stories of its progress on my social platforms if you missed them, but I can plant a few photos here. So far so good... the gluechip ripped a little deeper than I meant to, so there is a bit of a dip where the paper won't pick up the ink, but I can work around it. I also have a separate plate I can play around with, maybe to add a different dimension.
Before I started printing, as a precaution, I made a rubber silicone impression of the carving. It's not meant to help recreate a printing plate or anything, but it does give me the chance to make an integrated glass print of it in the future. Since I was working with rubber silicone anyway, I went and made molds of the two skulls I sculpted in wax. A little bit on the thin side, they mark the end of my Rebound 25 supply, so I won't be able to make any more replica molds until I get the funds for a new kit. I guess it's finally time to start making finals and look for kilns to fire in.
Finally. I kept telling myself I was just getting ready for production, getting ready for the time I can start firing in an accessible kiln and be unstoppable. But being stuck in the prep process has admittedly locked me in that stage, extinguishing and confusing my inspirations and priorities. My search for kilns has also been neglected, whether to own and place in my own home or at any collectives. A lot of things have gotten in the way, so I won't beat myself up too badly, but there are certain things I wish I had a better grasp of. Better late than never though, right? I'm excited.
I'm also excited by the fact that my Art of Where shop is F.I.N.A.L.L.Y up to date!! I won't be bogged down by it whenever I sit down to make a new design. I'm gonna get back to Uke Fresco and finish it and post it EVERYWHERE. AT THE SAME TIME. YES. Then I can make some new things! And keep up to date! At all times! Wow, it's silly to me how I let that happen in the first place, but here we are. That platform was new to me and I wasn't sure if I wanted to use it. But considering how little I can markup things from Society6 and Redbubble and make much of a profit, maybe I'll have more control with tangible objects I can carry in stock from AoW.
After posting this entry I have a few non-art-related things to take care of, like catching up on homelife errands but I'll go right back down into the basement studio. I hope all of you are doing well out there.
Uhhh. Things got really hectic real fast!
First part of my week was pretty good, all things considered. There were some speedbumps here and there like weather or things breaking down but we made some hedway in the yard. When it rained I'd pick up cataloguing and bringing my Art of Where up to speed. Uploading has gotten a lot faster on there since I know what I want each product to have. I also accepted the fact that sometimes consistency isn't possible because a design won't look good on certain things so I count my losses and keep going.
Then I realized one of my deadlines was a day earlier than expected and bam!! Kicked me down the stairs into the studio after a long time. I started work on a new image, inspired by simply searching up the word “vessel”.
In glassmaker's lingo, “vessel” refers to any glass object that is made to contain something, so we typically call cups, jars and bottles vessels. I had initially meant for this project to make it for a Call of Submission made by the Glass Art Association of Canada, but that deadline ended up being today and I faced some obstacles in time management. If I really tried to rush it I might have made it, but I feel very strongly about taking my time with this one. So yeah, the impulse to use “vessel” as a prompt was due to my craft side.
The term also has a strong spiritual connotation with me, especially inspired by the media I consume. In this case the vessel is the body containing the soul or some other truly precious essence. A vessel preserves and protects the contents, possibly even imprisons it. I tend to lean toward the latter, because I always feel trapped within the physical, filling me with frustration. Attempts to express myself at a level of catharsis isn't always socially acceptable either, so the boundaries of a vessel can extend to normative expectations, a very ambiguous realm. So anyway, vessel is a very interesting term for me.
So when I searched up the word I was immediately attracted to this structure in Manhattan, New York. Is it a hive? A ribcage? What a pleasantly geometric construction. I thus made a reproduction of it to explore urban ruin. I personally love this image, which is part of the reason why I don't want to rush it.
I have two call of submissions left to apply for, so I have about a week or so. As I mentioned some time ago, deadlines aggressively jumble my priority list so you'll never see any consistent work progress from me. It's a thing! I can't do much about it right now but I hope to improve. I have two plates on the go that I will try to gluechip, (it's gonna be a bit difficult during this humid spell we're experiencing here). Then they'll be dremeled and good to go! I have all of this paper I cut to size, originally for the Lonely Hydra, so at least I don't have to spend too much time on that end. Keep a close eye on my social media and you may see it realized step by step.
Oh, and another reason why I'm kicked back into gear is because there will be a print market day I'm attending, tentatively. I say that because I'm unsure if it'll be pushed further back to abide by COVID19 restrictions. In my mind it was already cancelled, but there hasn't been an official call for cancellation or further delay. Now I feel a bit unprepared, even though I do have lots of stock. There is still much I wish to do, both work- and setup-wise. I will announce it closer to the date of whether it's still on or not, so keep your eyes peeled!
One final piece of news, Art of Where have released face coverings as a product! Looks like I gotta backtrack yet again, but it shouldn't take long. Maybe I can get some in before the market.
Yeah I'm gonna have to sit down and make a whole new list of priorities again. RIP.
The weather has been very good the past week so I spent most of it outside with my father. We installed some drainage pipes in our backyard because our soil tends to soak up all the water and make it extremely difficult to get anything done. So I tuned into some podcasts and dug holes and trenches. In addition to that we sorted through a lot of junk and waste materials, and right before the rainfall we managed to chart them off to a dump. We dismantled some of our fences, trimmed the dying tree we intend to take down later, and more or less reorganized our priorities. While my dad is away for his next trip, I'll just keep filling holes and even out the ground in our garage shed for when we lay down the asphalt.
So with all that happenings, I didn't have much time to return to any of my projects, which is a bummer. In the downtime I did end up having, I was too exhausted or sore. To stay productive in those times I continued documenting my shops and uploaded the Lonely Hydra designs to Art of Where, since I was going to do that eventually. Other than a few bugs with the system here and there, it went by rather smoothly. In the midst of it I realized that I didn't have a white lineart of it in my Society6 or Redbubble shops, so I put that on my list to do. A white iteration of Plague Gaffer was also made, and both have been uploaded to Redbubble since writing this. It shouldn't take long for Society6 because there won't be that many products with them.
I realize that all this is probably really boring, but life be like that sometimes. I am super excited of getting that backyard in order, after years and years of neglect. I'm excited for the garden, finishing the garage shed, organizing a proper home studio! As it stands, a lot of the boxes I've organized with my materials and tools have been piled and tucked, which makes it a hassle to get to. When I can have everyhing on-hand, in a space of work and not comfort, well, I feel that my productivity will be properly maintained.
If the emergency lockdown ends soon, I'll be able to return to the studio space Cheryl has for me in Aylmer. It'll be smaller than what I'll have when we're done here but it's a studio space nonetheless. Plus I get to see some amazing people (and cats) I've really missed.
I'll take this long weekend to catch up on any documentation but to also rest a little bit. Starting Tuesday I have some print-related tasks lined up to meet with some deadlines. Expect to see some pictures this time, since this week has been a little dead on my social media.
Happy Mother's Day!
Mm, this week sort of went by like a blur. Sometime last week, while I was preoccupied thinking about masks through Art of Where, I wasn't aware that Redbubble already released that option. I only really check on my shops when I have a new release, so I was fortunate to have someone mention it to me. So all the designs I've previously published now have a mask option!
And many more!
In addition to that I released and re-released two designs. Sundance was published some time ago but I was unsatisfied with it. I revisited it by taking a properly-lit photo and working with it, and I'm happier with this version. The new design, City of Gold, is a painting I made for my mother five years ago; it currently hangs in the hall outside our bedrooms. Both designs are good additions to my abstract series, Enthralled. You can view products with their print in both of my Society6 and Redbubble shops!
While those were published, I spent time with my Art of Where account. The design lab is very intuitive there, but I wish there was a way to save the workspaces as files. I change my mind a lot about certain products (ex. Background colours, inclusions of watermarks, etc.) so I end up having to start from scratch anyway. I also have to try and keep some consistency, depending on the design. Plague Doctor is the biggest collection because while it's the same concept, there are eight iterations of it. It makes tracking them hard, especially if they all carry the same name. So this week I went back, tallied, and renamed everything, which in turn also alerted me of missing products i had to remake.
I never got around to uploading the Lonely Hydra, which I don't look forward to doing, but hopefully I do everything right the first time. I don't want to have to return and reorganize each time! But that'll have to wait for a little bit because I do want to return to my pending projects.
Wax skulls have been rendered to my liking, thanks to some bingeing of Community. They're currently anchored with their reservoirs in the basement so that I can inspect them one last time before rubbercasting them. I also refashioned the octopus with the reservoir in a new location, in hopes the new orientation will resolve air bubble issues. To carry on with the with bottle prototypes, I'll stick to the fabrication of the first line of cores incorporating the skulls I've made, as well as some flower moulds I nabbed from Michael's.
The printing table has been left in the same state for a few weeks now; I've taken the shattering of the Lonely Hydra plate to heart and the motivation's null. But I'll just have to get it out of the way so that I can proceed with new plates, plates that won't take so long to do because I can't go get em blasted anyway. They will be sketchy, they will be rough, but I'm certain they will be interesting. Anything to keep going, and they'll make great entries for a virtual exhibition coming up!
Lest we forget the Uke Fresco. Sigh. I'll get to that soon.
I leave you today with a bit of a 180, because while things have been mainly positive on my end, I see you. I wish you the best of luck, whether you fear for yourself, your loved ones, your country, our wellbeing physically or mentally (or all of the above).
Keep faith, fight the good fight, and remember your compassion.
Why does King Ghidorah have to have 3 heads? Do other artists get sick and tired of doing the same thing three times? Like gosh dang.
Yeah, so this week was mostly just chipping at the Uke Fresco but I found my focus very divided. So I took the time to catch up on housecleaning and touching base with friends. It was also nice to tune in to some talks about glass art and practice, which were very pleasant to listen to as I worked. The dates of shows and deadlines I had lined up dropped like flies shortly after the pandemic/emergency shutdown took place and it's taken me a while to revise my planner because, well, with all this time it's actually fairly hard to sit down and do. I've mostly been looking at how to improve Spicy Honey Heart.
When I finished Plague Gaffer, I released the design on Society6, Redbubble and (the one I want to talk about today) Art of Where. Like I mentioned some time ago, I got carried away and ended up creating over 600 designs on there, which is crazy considering fabrication actually closed down in response to the pandemic. But I couldn't resist, in the hopes that it would be lifted soon, and lo and behold, we have a (tentative) date. Art of Where will (tentatively) boot up production on May 11th. As opposed to S6 and RB, Art of Where is located in Quebec, Canada, which is an ideal source for my Canadian customers. I don't expect to get an order in a reasonable amount of time since they're backlogged, but I'm not at that point yet anyway.
The main reason why I bring this up though is the fact that they're looking into fabricating fashionable, cotton, filtered masks, and I have mixed feelings about it.
I have had people approach me and mention that they would love to see my designs on a mask and I thought to myself, “how is making a profit on that ethical?”. It's odd. I considered them essential items. Like, I've seen people buy plague doctor masks, but I didn't know if they were using them for practicality, to make a statement or just to be silly/cool (and yes that's a fine line). Does the fact they have a pretty pattern on them make them non-essential? Is it a joke item at that point, a fad?
Am I reading too much into it? The answer turns out to be yes.
I just had an excellent chat with an old instructor of mine, and he stated that the function of a mask is essential, but there's no issue with designing the pattern of a mask and making a profit from people who wish to don that design. He also reminded me that decorated masks have been a thing in Asia for a very long time anyway, which makes me feel silly because I didn't make that connection earlier. What keeps trying to hold me back is the idea I'm making a profit of the situation; kinda scummy, but what else am I to do to earn a living doing what I love?
It's not like I'm taking cheap one-takes that people desperately need, then painting and selling for three times their worth. And I've seen some very talented people sew their own masks, but I admit I don't know if they gave them to close family/friends for free or offered them for sale. If it was the latter... why would be bad? They made them themselves to help others in some way. To pay them for their labour is fair. They would have to price it according to their materials and time though, so unless they gutted themselves in the name of the greater good, they would be pricey. To have a print-on-demand company offer the option of making this item, it cuts costs down for those who are looking for a fashionable and reusable mask. I only make a margin of each one fabricated and sold anyway... I'm doing it because I love to see them actualized, it brings me joy. They are crafted as they're ordered, never wasted. And heck, if this was a normalized option it could encourage more people to don masks in public spaces, which has shown to be effective in flattening the curve. Why not go out with a cool motif or pattern? It brings a bit of light and expression to the situation.
I think I will set aside the semantics and just go for it. We don't know how long we're in this for and we need to adapt.I don't know who'll buy the ones I design, but to have it as an option in general would be pretty awesome. When would this ever happen again in our lifetime?
Hopefully just once.
That's all for today, just a bit of speculation. I sat down and made a list of any outstanding digital pieces I have so I hope to just burn through them before I decide to return to the studio. I'm sorry if you were hoping to see some prints or waxes, It's been a lot more Spicy Honey Heart and less Willowind, but that's hasn't been much on that front. I guess I can show you some refinement of the skull!
Take it easy out there,
I'm gonna be straight with you and say the last week has been very rough for me. After sitting in front of the computer day-in and day-out with cataloging, I developed a bit of apathy and lethargy that really killed my creative streak. When I'm separated from my projects, or even interrupted in the midst of them, I find it very hard to get back into them. I have always been brimming with ideas but I have the greatest difficulty in completing them. So I haven't been very active on social media because I don't really have much to show currently.
I'm kinda stuck in this feeling like things aren't worth completing because no one but me has a sense of its process. For example, I had many process shots of me working on The Lonely Hydra plate. But once it shattered, not only was it tiresome to work with but I set that one aside for projects I could make faster progress with. And for me, that's still very sad. The Lonely Hydra motif is very important to me so that's why it's very hard for me to let go of it, but at the same time, it's had its run and I should put it down. For the sake of my creative health, I need to choose which ones to nourish or abandon.
It's also an issue for me when I come to know of certain deadlines, like a call of submission. I will try and see if any existing works can fit the criteria, but more often than not, I'll try to make a piece specifically for that submission. As such, I set aside all my current projects and work overtime to get it done. By the time I submit it I enter a period of rest, and when I try to get back to the projects I neglected, it's very slow. The Uke Fresco is an example of that; I have to remember what I did or what layers are which. And while all of this internal conflict is going on, new ideas come pouring in. I'll write them down and sketch them out, but by the time I actually get to them, the fire is doused.
I know it just sounds like whining at this point but I am venting out my feelings to help myself come to terms with my creative process. Art is not easy. Quarantine has just made it much more apparent of all the projects I have sitting around waiting to be completed.
I guess it's just a period I have to work through. At school, I only needed to focus on schoolwork, and sometime I'd neglect housekeeping where I lived, but it didn't really matter because it was only a place I slept during crunchtime. I practically lived at the studio so it was easier to finish things, because I would spend up to 12 hours on one thing daily. Without school, I have much more to look after, many of them non-creative things, so I'll admit that I'm having a hard time organizing it all, or dedicating as much time as I used to. Making lists helps sometimes... other times they get a bit overwhelming.
I'll work through it. Maybe the poor weather's wreaked havoc on me too, and I'll climb out of this rut very soon. After all, I managed to sit down and write for today's blogpost. I think I'll just spend today accounting all the projects I had going and decide which are priority.
Thanks for tuning in,
Quarantine is still goin'! I know that some of you are feeling a little stir crazy or lost but don't fret. You can still enjoy the beautiful weather stepping out for fresh air and I highly recommend that you do. I'm lucky enough to have a dog so I take her out on little trips around my area, practicing social distancing but still greeting others when I see them. There have been a lot more people taking walks but it's no trouble keeping spaces between us. The sun and air are very good for us right now.
This post won't take too long to read. Since I'm done with informative entries it's gonna be mostly about how my week's gone, and this week I pretty much did the same thing every day. Whenever I come up with a new design (in this case, Plague Gaffer), I soak up my days just plugging them into my online shops on Society6, Redbubble, and Art of Where. It's taken longer and longer because I end up providing different iterations of the design, so with Plague Gaffer, I made 6-9 different lines of products, basically making as many options as possible. It got absolutely ridiculous with Art of Where; I ended up making 600+ products!! And the site has closed up for quarantine anyway! How it looks on each site is slightly different, so technically Plague Gaffer has ~1000 different products..
What the heck??
The launch of the design is done with, so I originally planned to go back to the Uke Fresco sooner, but then I had the idea of making a physical catalogue of my online shops to bring with me to art markets (when they start up again). So the rest of the week was me just sitting, clicking, downloading, and organizing every and all previews with these items. And I'm doing it for my entire collection... meaning every single thing I ever posted. At least it won't take this long in the future, because then I only have one product to document. It's just a drag. When it comes to the catalogue, I'll be making a document in InDesign to make plugging the images in easier.
So Redbubble documentation is done, and I'll probably finish Society6's today. I... don't even want to touch Art of Where, or else I won't be able to touch my current projects for like a month. I think I'll tackle it a bit at a time in between. Then I can move on to art stuff, an I really need to, because I have one that's time sensitive. It's a secret for the time being, but I will reveal it once the party has received it.
I'm currently waiting on a friend to send me some acid etch for making new vitreographs, so printing has been put on hold. I've still got waxes to finalize but they're for a rainy day. I'm tired of perpetually being in the prep-stages of kilncasting so I needed a break to do things I can actually start and complete, which is all my digital work. I sometimes worry that I'm spreading myself too thin, having a specialty in three disciplines, and sometimes it feels that way, but to abandon any of them would probably kill me. I love em and they're a part of me as an artist. My circumstance is what it is, and I'll keep working hard.
I hope you're hanging in there, too!!
I'm gonna end it there and get back to documenting stuff. In the meantime I hope you end up deciding to take a look at my collections if you haven't! You can visit my shops using any of the S6 and RB buttons I have planted on main each page.
Happy Easter! (or day after)
The days really meld together, don't they. I've been able to stay pretty productive in light of our circumstances. With the new makeshift studio space in the basement I've been able to dabble in both print and wax-sculpting/casting.
The little octopus core I showed you last time has since been rubber-casted so the mould is complete. It does face a complication where, because of the way it's oriented, a cavity of air will always form where the eyes are, but I've found some solutions for it. Meanwhile, I still have some skulls to finalize. Once I finish those and make rubber moulds out of them, I'll make them even more complicated with flowers and moss and all that lovely stuff!
I printed the backup Lonely Hydra plate up to the second layer but it ended up cracking as well. This time, there was a piece of tape on the bed underneath, but I'm just starting to think that it was just a cursed image to begin with. It could be as technically as the image itself providing too many stress points, but it could just very well have been a project that took far longer than it should have. It was an easy project, but the lack of resources and timing kinda botched it from the get-go. All good and well, I then purposely cracked it even more and plan to get some last prints off of it, count my losses. Luckily I bought a whole stack of papers in February before the stores shut their doors. I'll post pictures of those prints when I get to them.
I'd say the most exciting thing I've been up to is my return to digital art. My online shops and activity were neglected when I was working in the basement. My wrist was acting up again after some printing (probably onset carpal tunnel) so I decided to do some work at the computer. It's odd, because typically drawing on the computer can also mess up your wrist badly, but I took it easy at first, and my wrist was bound in a hot-cool compress. Since then it's been much better, and I've been having a lot of fun.
My next design is digitizing the back of my ukulele, which is a fresco-like mural of a few of my favourite things. I've posted pictures before, but I'm really pleased with how the remaster is going. It's a bigger canvas and less messy; more of my details are retained and refined. So far I've gotten, maybe, a third of the way down? I've also added the Termina Moon from Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, and I'm sorta sorry I didn't have the mind to add it on the uke. That game has always made me tremor with fear and awe.
I've reached the same dilemma with it as I did with the uke, however. As cool as King Ghidorah is, the fact he has three heads makes his design tiresome to render. After I finished one head I decided to finish a very quick design to liven up my shop. It ended up being the biggest file I've ever made, but I'm very pleased with it!!
I mentioned before how I was really interested and inspired by Alphonse Mucha's work, or La Style Mucha, and I wanted to employ some of the qualities to my online work. Although still a little messy, I think this is the type of illustration I'd love to move forward with. Digital paintings like the Uke Fresco or my Gaffer Gods will still be approached as digital paintings, but I really like how Plague Gaffer came out, and I want to approach other motifs in this way.
Plague Gaffer's based on a photo of glass artist Alexander Rosenberg, who starred in the first season of Blown Away on Netflix. I haven't had a chance to meet him personally, but I've heard him speak and seen him from afar, he's a really cool guy. I found an image of him working taken by photographer David Leyes on the set of Blown Away and based my drawing off of it. The background is based on an old Art Nouveau tapestry, and the textures from a watercolour image package I downloaded. All and all, a good collection of new techniques for me to employ for future designs.
Right now I'm uploading Plague Gaffer to my shop, which is a long process due to terrible internet connections, but I'll post an announcement on my social medias when all of it is live. After that I'll go back to working on the Uke Fresco.
Stay tuned, and take care!
I'm happy to say that I've finally found structure to my days in quarantine, after last week expressing my lack of motivation. I wake up, have coffee, and walk Lusia before I go to work on studio projects. Because of the nice weather we decided to carry up stuff from the basement to the outdoors, which opens up a more comfortable place for me to work. Most of the floor is dedicated to printing, but I'm very happy that I finally have a spot to warm my wax for mold pours. I print for most of the afternoon, and then I work with waxes in the evening while watching something. I made a little octopus while watching The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance for the 6th time now. I also finally finished the last component of the claw ring, so the preparation of that part of the project is complete. Yesterday and this morning I rubber casted it along with the octopus, so I'll be able to test them out later today. In the meantime, once I upload this post, I'll go print the second layer of the Lonely Hydra. The first layer was just a blank plate, to set up for the etched image. Wish me luck!
So this time I'll be rambling about glass painting.
You can paint on glass with whatever you want, but if you want it to last forever on it (no flaking or discolouration), you use enamels. Enamels are finely-crushed glass powders of various colours, and you can get it in powder form to mix into a paint yourself or get it pre-mixed. Most people are acquainted with enamel on lapel pins and the like, it's a similar thing. There are transparent and opaque palettes depending on what type of glass and function you want, and you can either paint or screenprint depending on the viscosity of your paint. I personally like painting more than screenprinting, despite being a printmaker... mostly because, for me, it takes up a great amount of room. I would have to have a room specifically dedicated to it so that no contaminants or cluttering could interfere. There's an amazing enamel artist who actually ran a workshop in my 1st year, Joseph Cavalieri, and he sparked my intrigue in painting with glass.
However, my first serious exploration with glass enamels was frustrating. We had an experimental class in 3rd year where we picked up a technique we didn't know and worked through tests throughout a term. I did not use the enamels Cavalieri used but high-fire Reusche paint, which came in powders. Enamel painting wasn't taught at Sheridan; instructors had a gist of how to mix, apply, and fire, but it was mostly self-taught, hit-or-miss. My tests were more or less a successful endeavour, and by that I mean I gained a greater understanding of firings, but the results were still not what I was looking for. There was not really any point of choosing high-fire enamels when low-fire enamels can do a similar, if not better, trick.
When I worked for Cheryl at Rubyeyes Kraftwerks, she showed me low-fire Reusche, and it was a lot more conclusive. She showed me step by step, gave me one of her designs to try painting and get used to the application, and allowed me to make my own enameled piece. I didn't have to spend so much time on testing, which was nice for a change.
She also introduced me to silver-stain, which I immediately fell in love with. Enamel painting is technically a fusing, whereas silver-staining is a chemical reaction with the glass. The silver-stain is actually invisible; the reddish hues of the pigments are merely terracotta dust to help visually for where you want to apply it. I love the golden warmth that a window with silver stain brings in natural sunlight, even on rainy days. My time with Cheryl motivated me to have one of my thesis projects to be done using enamel and silver-stain together.
During my final year of Sheridan, anyone who needed my help knew where I'd most likely be, and that would be in this tiny room with a sandblaster and an even tinier fume hood. I hogged up that fume hood all the time, which I feel bad about since enamel painting doesn't give off fumes. The ventilation was great for sucking up any particulates, but I mostly worked there for the privacy. No one seemed to mind though, and I was always willing to move if someone needed it for spray painting and such. People joked that it was my office, and that it still is even after graduating, which I find endearing. The space was just big enough for me to work on Self-Vanitas, one sheet of glass at a time. The final ones, which were exhibited at the Sandra Ainsley Glass Gallery in Toronto, each had three sheets of glass, the image divided into fore-, middle-, and backgrounds. I also have iterations where the whole image is on one sheet, but they're not mounted yet.
Stained glass is something I truly wish to pursue, but it's the least accessible for me right now, especially during quarantine. The most I can do is prepare illustrations for when the time comes, in the same way I make rubber molds for the time I have a fully-functioning kiln. If I were to exhibit at places like Toronto Outdoor, One of a Kind, or The Artist Project, it would be with glass objects. Silver-stain windows, glass-casted sculptures and vessels, and integrated glass prints.
Man, I really hope I get there.
In the meantime I will just keep developing my skills. Right now I've been really studying Alphonse Mucha and his style, because that's the direction I want my illustration work to take. Between studio work and reading, quarantine isn't gonna hold me down.
And that concludes the last of my mediums!! I have no clue what the next blogpost will be, but we'll see when the day comes.
Step out for a little sunshine!!
I won't pretend and say quarantine life is easy. I'm not sure where other artists find the motivation to continue updating their art but I find it a bit difficult to do so stuck up in one place. I've been much more inclined to catch up on things that I neglected in homely life, now that I'm here long enough to notice. Chores and housecleaning have taken most of my attention. I figure that it's not something to be sorry for, though, because I'm still staying productive and exercising creative thinking. Even so, it can be real boring in a box.
That being said, I'm not staying quiet on social media simply because I'm unmotivated to create. I'm all for staying informed, however it's a bit overwhelming to be bombarded with the news, misinformation and opinions of other people. It's discouraging to see people acting rebellious, self-righteous or lacking compassion.
I know in my heart that I should still focus on my work, because it's my intention to show people that good things still prevail in bad times. I get that some people don't/are unable to understand but it's my purpose to reflect on it. I can't directly help with the efforts against the sickness, but an instructor of mine once told me that art isn't functionless if it can't be used. It can always have a function to inspire.
I should still try and show you what I'm working on, even if you may not happen to see it in the saturated feed, because in the chance that you do, it might comfort you in some way.
...that was a bit hard to articulate, but here's hoping I didn't sound completely sloppy. Now we're gonna about integrated glass printing.
Okay! During my studies at Sheridan, one of my instructors lent me a book because he learned about my interest in print. In the contemporary art world, interdisciplinary methods are continuously evolving and it's very worth the time to read up anything relating to your intention, aesthetic, etc, in case you stumble upon a medium you particularly like. This book is Glass & Print by Kevin Petrie, and I liked it so much that I gained my own copy. It listed and explained a few of the many ways both glass and print can lend their best qualities to one another. There was a short chapter of vitreography, which helped my understanding with using glass as a matrix.
Another method, which I found very interesting, was integrated glass printing. This method was essentially a way to make multiples of three-dimensional pieces that functioned as “glass editions”. The process involves making a rubber casting of an etched plate, with which you can easily make plaster molds of. The linework of the plate would thus be replicated in the plaster, and you would fill these in with coloured glass powder, almost as you would ink a plate. Then you pack it up with more glass, enough to allow the linework to have a body to integrate with. It's brought up to fusing or casting temperature, and when it comes down again, you pop it out. If the mold is still in good shape, you can cast again for a “ghost casting” the same way you could monotype a “ghost print”. The mold may split in another firing, but with so little glass you aren't at risk of a spillage in the kiln. The piece itself will remember these scars, which I personally find very cool.
I have yet to replicate exactly how Petrie does it; his work seem to have a transparency and vividness to them that leads me to believe he has the resources to have very clean glass or powders. Each particulate of glass you mill yourself is covered with glass dust, so it exhibits a milky translucency when fused or casted. Almost all of the works I've made have been opaque, unless I specifically use clear sheetglass as the body. That could very well be how Petrie does it but it's not mentioned in the book and I haven't contacted the man myself, nor have I actually seen his work in person. It has been a very interesting journey, however, working through this process on my own.
Instead of etched printing plates, I use glass that have been deeply engraved through sandblasting and dremelling. Thus, my integrated glass prints have a lot more depths and levels to them, acting as reliefs. I'm interested in using the engraved pieces as vitreographs, but they're much bigger than what the baby press can handle. With having different cavities to work with, I can work with a variety of colours without having to worry about them mixing and muddling together. The first half of this process is very straightforward. The casting bit, however, was when things got real complicated.
Many glass colours are reductive in nature. They strike into a different colour when another variable is present, like duration at a particular temperature or a chemical reaction to something in the kiln. Many of the first castings I did burnt out to dark, ugly things. It was apparent to me that this process required many, many, many tests.
But the nice thing about that is I'm very stubborn and methodical, so it wasn't a big deal.
Through these tests I managed to develop a deep understanding of what happens to glass in the kiln. Lost-wax casting is a lot more apparent because the glass is more active, but when you make integrated glass prints, you learn how to distinguish subtle details. How deeply packed your glass was, what shade of colour ended up exactly how you wanted, how clean the glass was to begin with, whether there was any moisture left over in the mold before you started working... so many variables had their part to play.
I had a very good sense of how the kilns functioned at school. People requested my help beyond technologist hours so that made me feel pretty cool. Yet, when it comes to a kiln of my own, my research will have to backtrack, maybe even start in the dark. Every kiln behaves differently, so at any time, the knowledge I've developed won't always be automatically correct. I am really excited for the moment I finally fire my own kiln!!
I think I'll end it here. The last thing I wanna talk about in medium is glass painting, so look forward to that for next time!