From mould-phobic to mould-enthusiast in 4 days

Well what can I say?? What a revelation it’s been this week – I spent a fantastic 4 days on a course at Creative Glass in Rochester, with the marvellous Marina Hanser (look up her work!!). The title of the course was ‘Hybrid Processes’ – it was a combination of techniques involving casting glass into hand built moulds and taking impressions using various every day objects and living entities… It was truly a revelation for me!

Now don’t get me wrong, I like to experiment, and I’m not averse to getting wet or making a huge mess, and I’m a magpie for tools and stuff. Plus, I’m all about process and I like nothing more than learning a new skill – but I have always shied away from mould-making and casting. Over the past few years however, I have noticed that the glass competitions I enter are always won by a piece of cast glass….. so I got to thinking that if you can’t beat ’em then you just have to bite the bullet and join ’em!

I was thrilled to discover therefore that I actually enjoyed the process of making my own unique moulds (just as well huh? the class wasn’t cheap!) The sad thing is that once your glass is cast (fired), you need to break the mould off the glass. This to me seems like such a waste, as they are not quick and simple to make and you will only ever be able to use it once. But maybe that’s the key to the allure of cast glass? Maybe knowing that there will only ever be one piece of glass like it IF it survives the casting, that it is therefore unique and individual – is this why judges love it, and people pay a lot of money for it? I think that is part of it, that, and the time and effort and electricity and materials and trial & error and mess and the need to wear a claustrophobic face mask and development of skills & knowledge and getting wet doing cold-working and the extortionate cost of cold-working equipment and praying to the kiln fairies and understanding the difference between a negative and a positive impression…… Yes I can appreciate the pedestal upon which casting is placed, now I’ve done some.

Here you can see a few pics of the process and how it comes out with still a lot of work needed to make it look like glass again! These two pieces were made in moulds taken of (top) scrunched up paper and (bottom) draped cloth – wonderful shapes and contours can be found in the simplest of familiar things x

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Glass Artist and Proud!

Well after last weeks little incident at the hockey and the subsequent self-doubt, you will be pleased to know that today’s ‘Old Girls’ gathering at my old school’s centenary afternoon tea was refreshingly jolly, nostalgic and full of lovely Old Girls – some of whom were the class of ’55!!! Blimey!! Me and my lovely friend Sam who is also a sculptor turned up and immediately met 2 others from our year who seemed genuinely interested that we are real artists who actually sell our work!! Phew! I’m not going mad after all :0)

The thing that made my day however, was not their appreciation of my chosen career, but the fact I found my name in the 1983 Sports Day programme – My record for the 4th year long jump (4.27m!!!) had been unbroken for the next 6 years! Those people who¬† know me will appreciate how very exciting this was – not only had I completely forgotten I’d ever won anything, (let alone long jump) but I was easily the shortest person in my class, not known for my athletic prowess and never picked first for teams! When I saw my name, I not only took a picture of it on my phone, but I looked around me for someone to tell – anyone! Random old girls were told ‘I’ve found my name here and I was good at long jump! Look!!’ And nobody gave me any blank or ‘nutter alert’ type looks – they just enthused along with me and smiled, because everyone was happy! I have to thank the PE teacher Miss Stuart, who, 30 years later is still there, for keeping such fantastic records – of every sporting fixture we ever attended, of all the sports days, of all the sporting colours awards, and had pictures of girls with their wooden tennis rackets and their perms……. She would never have known at the time how one entry in the records would have brought such satisfaction 31 years on – YAY for Miss Stuart!!

And so, with renewed enthusiasm, I must now turn my attention to my son’s school Art/DT showcase on Weds, followed by Medway Open Studios the following week…..

IMG_8464 IMG_8479 IMG_8506 IMG_8518 IMG_8547

This is Ellis’ entry (he’s 10, and yes, he made this completely on his own, apart from me programming the kiln, and taking the photos!)

I still can’t get over my long jump record… lol

Long time no see!!

Where has the time gone?? I can’t even claim to have been that busy with glass, but I have been visiting my caravan lots and been a busy bee with lots of school PTA related activities like the Summer Fair etc, so I am letting myself off my tardy attitude to my little blog.

The Summer fair was scheduled for last Saturday, on the day that the SE of England was due thunder, lightening and cricket-ball sized hail, the like of which had not been seen in 171 years! It was an interesting exercise in damage limitation! As it happens, it poured with rain at 10am and finished at 11am, then the sun came out! Well you know what they say about the righteous lol

Because I was in charge of securing a nice selection of ‘outside stalls’, and being an arty crafter myself, obviously I was drawn to local artisans. It was great to see Tina’s Tasty Treats (pickled pears, plumbrillo, chutney and coconut ice….) rubbing along next to Creations by Amanda, selling some lovely glass jewellery and coasters, alongside Dolly Dewberry (aka Karen) with her sewing machine and a variety of ready-made bunting flags that could be mixed to make ‘instant bunting’! Then Turning Matters (Mark) who makes fabulous turned wooden and acrylic pens and accessories – they were all unique and very unusual….. The list goes on….. FAB!!

Talking of the appearance of the sun, I have finally made it up to Berkley Square to see the stunning Chihuly ‘Sun’ installation, albeit, lit up from below, since it was dark by the time I got there and the park was locked up! lol However, even from the pavement, and in the dark, there is no denying the amazing skill and sheer creativity of his work! I do wonder how it’s all held together – I’d really love to know that – it’s the engineer in me!

chihuly sun Blue fiori sun

The stunning Blue one is Blue Fiori Sun – unfortunately that’s in the US somewhere, but if you are as impressed as I am by this amazing glass then take a look on his Facebook page – just make sure to have tissues ready for when you start drooling!

http://www.facebook.com/chihuly

My own contribution to outdoor art this week was 6 fused glass sun-catchers for the Nucleus Garden in Rochester – they are very pretty, but somehow not quite as ‘take your breath away’ stunning as Chihuly’s suns – one day!! lol

6 sun catchers suncatchers in the acer

Must take some more pics when the sun catchers are actually catching some sun! They do look nice in the tree but obviously they are then not then in the sun – doh!

Until next time, enjoy the weather and keep those sun dances up – they are obviously working!

Bev x