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!