Progression of a Project:
September 21, 2009
Fellow artist and sculptor Tom Herrera had me make some glass inserts for his metal work recently. I’ve made dragonfly wings, a couple sea turtles, a deco style guitar replica, and the latest was an insert for a sculpture he’s making for the Master Gardeners’ new Japanese Garden.
He brought me a drawing of his sculpture and we discussed his vision which included the use of triangles and warm rich color. He wanted a half inch thick 7″ square that would be finished with a half inch metal frame. Translucency was of utmost importance.
After researching Japanese Garden Design, I chose to concentrate on water and stone as my elements and sketched out a few possibilities. My color choices representing stone are in keeping with Tom’s vision.
In the photo above, I’m building the layers of ‘water’ using Bullseye’s 1116 Turquoise on top of clear irid with the irid up so it will sparkle without the glare of the coating being so obvious. I use this approach often as I love the sparkle of irid but it’s a more subtle effect.
Next I clear capped with more iridescent clear glass, but this time the irid is facing down. Again, this is for subtlety and so the face of the project matches the back. I frequently check my notes and sketches making sure the design in my head translated to paper is corresponding with the glass (turning out the way I want it to).
Now ready to fill in the ‘path’, I’ve mixed 3 to 5 colors each of gray & brown -02 frit (medium) in translucent and opaque; purple and pink -02 frit in translucent and opaque; and a couple off white opaques. I mix them ahead of time for a more even application of color, alternating between the mixes as I fill the path.
The final step is topping the path off with clear frit (I used -03, course) so it matches the front and back with a layer of clear glass to look through before the eye sees color. You can see the set up inside my kiln, just prior to firing, surrounded with fiber paper and held in place with cut up kiln shelf.
Forgive the quality of the final image, I was at the end of my deadline so this was taken atop a neutral canvas bag as I delivered it to Tom at Starbucks where we meet for deliveries. The top image shows how the piece glows in the sunlight which is how it will be viewed. In this photo I wanted to capture the iridescence. Tom promises to get a photo to me when it’s installed and I’ll post it here. When Tom gets his blog going, I promise to link to it so you can see his work!