So things are getting under way and speeding up. I was initially restless with the speed of the class at first, however that has quickly gone away. Aimee and Anjali have a good schedule of flooding us with techniques this week and then letting us concentrate on our own projects later. For right now we have some daily tasks, and assignments. Every day we have to come up with two; 4 x 4"; test tiles of glass. Each tile is then fired to a different temperature. One low at ~1375, and the other high at ~1550. This gives us a chance to work with 6 different types of glass, combine them, and see what works and what doesn't in terms of temperature and compatibility. The first set is out, and the current set is coming down in the kiln this morning. My first test tiles were composed mostly of float glass, something that is readily available in most areas, and it's pretty much compatible with only itself. I had combined the float glass with Spectrum; Bullseye; bits of glass bangles from India; small stones; clear beer bottle glass; some of those clear marbles I've used on vessels and micro-beads. This lead to some beautiful marks in the glass. Now I have to figure out a way to get the crazing, lots of small cracks, to happen and less of the big chunky cracks. I'll probably be able to control it more once with have access to the second hot shop this evening. Pulling stringers to about an 1/8" thickness and embedding that into the float glass should be able to accomplish this. I think. I'll find out later once I run another set of tiles. That's the whole reason for being here... experiment, take notes, and record.
We have had a bottle assignment... cut it up, arrange it, fire it, maybe manipulate it hot once it hits it's peak temperature. This assignment is one I definitely want to bring back to the school. It's readily available glass, it would introduce students to the cold shop(cutting; grinding; polishing), adhesives, the kiln, rendering a former 3-D object to a relief or a new hot manipulated object. Exciting stuff really.
My bottle project has kind of been a launch for of lot other projects. To quote Beth Hasseler... "Work makes work." This has been true ever since she uttered those words. So being a vessel maker, it's been hard for me to get past that part of myself, however I've decided to use it as a catalyst for my works here. So far the bottle project has spun off into several things. The first of which are powder drawings.
The one thing I noticed about several of the other student's slides, we all had to present examples of our work to the other students, that there was a lot of layering of glass powder in the kiln that would then be fired to stick together that would then be stacked or arranged after it was out of the kiln. This gives a delicate and organic quality to the glass that you "sort of" have control over in regards to how the glass is piled on. So I started thinking about how I can use these qualities, and after some talking to the instructors, we came up powder drawings. I made a stencil, and then sifted glass powder directly on to the kiln shelf. These are only about an 1 1/2" tall, so they'll be really delicate once they come out of the kiln, but they're are a starting point for a few other projects as well.
After they out of the kiln today, I would like to get them to the library, scan them, manipulate them in Photoshop and use those digital versions as a basis for a print series. Maybe just a clear digital photo will since they are small, only an 1 1/2" tall and, and the line quality is very thin, maybe a 1/16 of an inch. I will probably have to transfer the image by hand onto a sand blast resist, which would be on a glass printing plate. Sandblast the image out, kind of deep, and load the plate with ink really well and then print that plate until it runs out of ink. Then clean that plate out really well, and then load it again with glass micro-beads and then tack fuse that. Then possibly do another print run, but this time slowly increase the pressure to emboss the paper more as the pressure increases. Several ideas for one project, and we're only four days in.
My feeling is that as this goes on I will more than enough information to have some collaborative projects with other areas of campus. Using 3-D prints from the FabLab for making quick silicone molds for casting. Or talking with the print department to figure out a way to make an add-on for the presses to accommodate glass plates. I believe it's just a wood board with a rectangular hole cut in it. Getting a specific mesh of screen for the glass department's own silk screens to silk screen glass powder on to a plate before firing it. Which would be great for illustration and printmaking focused students taking glass. We could then use those fired plates back in the hot shop and roll them up into vessels or put them back in the kiln, perhaps on a metal armature coated in kiln wash to sag it.
I already have 7 pages of notes to go over and compile when I get back... and there's still 13 days left.