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!!