I’ve been wondering how I can make layers that meld together. I know this exercise is about joining overlapping edges but the concept of heat manipulation and fusing has taken me to explore the process of fusing glass. Back in ATV I was taken with the colour bleeding when salt was mixed with watercolour and alcohol inks as seen here– this led to experiments with alcohol inks and yupo paper, linked to here – but I still wasn’t satisfied.
I’ve contemplated resin and glass – solidifying that liquid moment, retaining the gloss. Glass has edges that can be toyed with as well as colour – I can visualise it poured, dripped, flattened, shaped – it seems a material that is crying out to be incorporated into my work. What if the edges to be joined were edges of glass – how would this be achieved? What if this were then joined to the welded steel or delicate crochet lace, or the net-making I was working on in ATV. What if the colour came from glass?
Today I was lucky enough to explore this medium for the first time in my life. Mr Man had booked me a course at a reasonably local art enterprise: Creative Creek. The course was run by artisan Yvonne Rigby and with a title of ‘Sea Bowls’ was a complete lure.
I don’t wish to be detailed on here with regards to all the processes we learnt and the details of the workshop- out of respect for Yvonne and her classes, but I will add to my list of new words: slumping, frit, ‘kiln gods’, opal powder, bubble paint… as well as new processes and compounds that have taken on new meaning: copper oxide for bubbles, coloured stringers, thin fire (I think this is what I heard?)
However, the day was exceptionally well organised in terms of time and resources and potential. I desired to work to creating a fractured lace type edging with intermittent bubbles recalling the work of Baptiste Debombourg in his installation in Brauweiler Abbey in combination with weathered rock forms I had saved some while back in pinterest.
I created my intention on paper (an unusual about face for me – it has been so long since I had a final product in mind rather than simply working with materials and process and seeing where they lead).
After sketching and making notes in my little daily sketchbook I wanted to try out colourways so used the drawing app on my phone (which could be further exploited as it can save layers – today we were working with 2 layers of clear glass sandwiching a coloured layer that will be fused in a kiln and later slumped into the bowl shape.
Then on to the coloured layer – I experimented with medium frit and copper oxide, bubble paints, opal powder and copper paint.
These layers will be fused and the glass will expand and pull back together during the kiln processes. I am curious how this will turn out, but I will have to set that curiosity aside until it has been through the kiln twice under the care and expertise of Yvonne. I am hoping for bubbles and erratic edges of colour and fused movement.
Is this eligible for the joining project? I believe so – each layer of glass overlaps as I learnt that glass doesn’t mix but it will mix optically in the same way a pointillist painting works. I have put in some clear glass too between areas to see how that adds to the separation and joining.
I have so much to learn from Yvonne and she may have the answers to current & future question – can you fuse glass to textiles – ‘so long as the textile can withstand 800 degrees’ – kevlar springs to mind immediately – How sturdy is glass? ‘Rigid and firm and strong but not resilient to impact’ – it can be part of my touch-and-feel intention for my work. Can you make texture with glass? What about a fabric out of glass? Here Yvonne directed me to two UK artists who are at the cutting edge (no pun intended) of glass textiles or textile glass. I have emailed these artists to await their permission to write a visual review of their work, but in the meantime they are both innovative and inspirational and worth a look:
http://www.kathrynwightmanglass.com/ (especially her gallery 2 with lace glass)
http://www.fusiostudio.com/fusio_studio/home.html (see in particular Richard Parrish’s glass tapestries)
I really hope to continue learning how to integrate this medium into my work and a huge thanks to Yvonne for her teaching, time and expertise…but most importantly what feels like the opening of a conversation I’d very much like to continue.
Can you imagine being able to create a playground of steel and fabric and glass with ghosts of this (Ernest Neto) and this and this (Lisa Cahill’s ‘Tide’) and this (Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam) and finally this (Maggie Casey). I can and I want it…
Update 16.3.16 (Thanks to Yvonne for correcting my mis-hearing of ‘frit’ as ‘grit’ I have now amended the errors above).
Update 17.4.16: the result: the sea bowl survives the kiln gods.