Well uh... I will date this moment and say that I'm writing Wednesday night, right after an unfortunate occurrence took place.
The Lonely Hydra plate shattered on the second run.
And yeah, glass breaks, it's a thing! It's the risk you take when you use it as a matrix. Up until this point I had been very careful with the pressure of the press and adjusting every few prints. Sometimes the pressure seems extremely dangerous but when the plate is on the bed with nothing underneath, it can withstand it.
It could have either been two things: the pressure-adjusting cranks shifted, as any little nudge can do so easily without me knowing; or I was truly careless when I decided to put the glass facedown on the paper, rather than traditionally faceup. It could be both, but I'm leaning to the latter. I was just so excited about using alcohol inks as a middle layer, and amidst the excitement I thought to myself, “wHy, It'S gLaSs, I cAn SeE tHrOuGh It To ReGiStEr!” and the logic centre in my brain didn't light up. Doing it this way introduces the gaps of the matrix (the blasted image) as pressure points. When you cut glass to pieces, you snap it in the opposite direction of the scored surface, so it only makes sense. I had a separate plate that I was experimenting with... if I had thought to use that for this experiment I may have spared the Hydra.
But it can't be helped. I had initially thought to play off the cracks (a slight impression transfers to the paper) but it's more hassle than it's worth. It takes maybe twice as long to ink because you're careful not to cut yourself or damage any of your applicators. Don't even get me started on the slivers and crunching. I can see it being done with the glass fastened on a stiff backing, but it would have to be water/oil resistant and thin enough to accommodate the height this press already lacks. It's overall messy and cumbersome.
My plans for the print have been scrapped, obviously, because registration is very particular. Making a new plate would require an identical piece of glass and an impeccable eye to place the design exactly in the same spot and orientation. I would be better off starting from scratch, reprinting the first layer all over again, but no! I will not.
Glass is versatile, and I should be, too. I'll take this blunder as a reminder that approaching it like a traditional printing method squanders its potential. Its quality really allows it some flexibilty, which is hard to believe considering what happened but I mean it. So I'll get some similarly-sized pieces of glass and brainstorm with it.
I had originally decided to move on to glass casting in this post but when interesting things happen in real time they should be covered first! My only regret is that I didn't make a rubber casting of this plate before it went, which would have allowed me to make integrated glass prints of it down the line. While I'm working on my next print I can cut another vinyl of it.
In other news, I've been keeping busy at the studio in Aylmer, making many rubber casts of bottles! So far I'm up two six completed, with some simple yet interesting shapes. Cheryl noticed my current project and gave me some more from her collection to make some more.
I just realized that I never really explained how I got access to a studio space, so let's dial back for a second. The third year of my program at Sheridan required me to find an establishment to fulfill my Co-Op term. Glass-related places offering a paid position are next to nothing, especially London since I wanted to be closer to home. Galleries seemed like my only hope but they all fell through as well. I guess in desperation I started contacting art guilds to help me connect with any glass artists they knew. The Association of Port Stanley Artists was the only one that replied back and connected me with Cheryl Garrett-Jenkins, artist and owner of Rubyeyes Kraftwerks.
I met up with her in Port Stanley at her brick-n-mortar location at the time, a very cozy shop close to the beach, with a studio in its garage. It was a very pleasant meeting and she agreed to take me on because no one else would. She paid me bi-weekly for gas in exchange for my hours helping her around the place. I'd step in at the register when she was working in the back, open and close the shop, and basically any grunt work she needed. Luckily enough she was clearing out some unused/scrap glass at the time. It was a wonderful summer, and I gained an invaluable friend too; it never really felt like she was my boss, and in fact it kinda feels like I got a really cool aunt and uncle (her husband is really sweet). It was at this time that I learned how to properly fire enamels, solder, came, and cut glass, and it was the first time I was acquainted to silver stain.
I returned to school but made sure to come visit Rubyeyes whenever I came home for the weekend. Then, after graduating, I still remained open to work with Cheryl. However, at that time she had decided to close down the store front of business and merely keep working from her garage. I helped them move her studio to Aylmer and things look really good. I don't technically work for her, but she's graciously provided me space in her studio to continue my practice. We hope to make a collaboration piece very soon! It just takes a while with all of our personal projects taking precedent. I visit her studio twice a week so that I don't lose grasp on the medium, now that I don't have the school facilities or assignments to keep me in check. Since going there, I have developed an extensive mold library that keeps on growing. Now I only wish I can finally fire these objects in glass sooner!
And perhaps I will.
Glass casting is next week's topic, I promise.
P.S. In light of recent news, don't panic, and stay away from fear mongering social media outlets. Be sure to continue supporting local artists and businesses because they rely on you.