Tuesday, 15 May 2018

The Dance of Light

brightening up a bit

One of the aspects of working in the medium of glass that continues to engage and fascinate me is the interplay between light and glass.  My skill in serving as a dance-partner with light is always evolving.
Glass art is always seen in relationship with the light that enlivens it.  The warm light of sunset is totally different from that of a gloomy morning or of a sunny winter day.  Artificial light differs from natural light, and incandescent is different from LED. Front lighting and backlighting are often both present.  The goal is to find a balance that works in these changing light conditions.
Colour, translucence and opacity are all affected by light.  I took some photographs of a recent commission that I was able to observe over a few of days under different conditions, before delivering it to it’s new home.  Look closely to see what differences you notice.
a dull day

finally sunshine!

A blast of evening sun

The panel (18”w x 25”h) will be installed to provide both privacy and a visual feature in the room.  I imagine the client may spend more time there from now on, as each viewing offers a unique experience!

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

My latest commission goes home

Newest creation

Last September at the Apsley Studio Tour a customer asked me to make a custom panel for her. Elisabeth’s interest had been caught the previous year, and now her mind was made up.  We talked about what appealed to her in my work, the colours she’d like to include, and the location of the commission.  She sent me photographs of the room, and a painting that would be seen in relationship to the panel; a beautiful abstract painting by Molly Moldovan, my host artist on the Apsley Tour.
Usually I do a site visit before starting a commission to see the space, the natural and artificial light, and the general environment. In this case Elisabeth and I were both comfortable foregoing that step.
This was a larger piece than most of my recent work, and I loved making it.  I composed the panel in 3 stages building layers and visual depth.  Working as I do with cut and crushed glasses I’m continually burying what lies beneath; I can’t see what the composition looks like until it has been fired, which offers a challenge peculiar to the medium.  I must rely on my experience and on memory of what’s beneath.  After firing, the glass becomes transparent and I study what I’ve got.  I decide where I want to intensify or modify the colour, add textural elements or introduce detail.  Then I fire again and repeat the process.  Once the final firing is complete and I’m satisfied, the grunt work of grinding and belt sanding to perfect the edges begins.  This was a heavy piece to support, but it’s a good workout for those biceps!  Finished edges look tidy and ensure a perfect fit in the custom-fabricated iron stand.
Elisabeth at my studio

Today Elisabeth came to pick up her new glass art at my studio near Huntsville.  We were both happy with the result!

Saturday, 24 March 2018

photographed by Kelly Holinshead, Shutterbug Gallery
The 41st Annual Muskoka Arts and Crafts Spring Members show is on this weekend at the Bracebridge Sportsplex, offering an incredible range of art on Sunday, from 11am to 4pm.  The opening ceremony was Friday evening, and along with many of my colleagues, I was honoured by the judges with an Award of Excellence for one of the pieces I entered in the show.

This is one of my current favorites, an 8" by 12" flat square platter which is part of my Ice Series. It caught the eye of judges Thomas Aitken and Kate Hyde who remarked on the depth of the piece, achieved by the skillful layering of  glass.

It's always a great experience to view the recent work of so many Muskoka artists at the Spring Members' Show; such imagination and skill is evident in the work displayed.  Congratulations to all the participants and award winners, and thanks to the many volunteers who make the event possible!

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Apsley Autumn Studio Tour

In about a week I will be packing up my work and hitting the road for Apsley Ontario to exhibit at the Apsley Autumn Studio Tour.  This is an outstanding studio tour with many talented artists and artisans eager to open their studios and share their work with the public.   I am a regular guest artist at my friend Molly Moldovan’s painting studio, and I’m looking forward both to seeing her recent work and to meeting the many people who will be coming through the door on their own art adventure.
Pictured is my studio set up for my own recent studio tour, and a few pieces in the kiln awaiting their final firing before heading to Apsley. 

 My “Northern Lights” themed pieces are very popular. When completed,the ones below be free-standing art pieces in iron stands, like the pieces on the right in the image above.

in the kiln for "fire polish" firing
Finally, is a piece that I just composed but is not yet fired.  It will look completely different after it’s fired, ground, polished and mounted.  Meet me at studio “M”, September 16 & 17 and see how it turns out!

Friday, 21 July 2017

A Successful Collaboration

HFA Award

Earlier this year, the Huntsville Festival of the Arts, a cornerstone of culture in Huntsville, decided to celebrate the convergence of its own 25th anniversary with Canada’s 150th, by recognizing the contributions of its volunteers and sponsors with a specially commissioned award.  Both sculptor Brenda Wainman Goulet and I were invited to make proposals, and we decided to offer a joint project, incorporating my glass and Brenda’s sculpture together in one work.  The prototype was received with favour, a final design was approved, and production began on 25 small sculptures in our two separate studios.  

The sculptures, now known as HFA Awards, incorporate a musical note (representing the Festival) embossed in a glass Northern Lights sky, mounted in an iconic northern landscape sculpture. Each glass component was individually made, so they have variations while maintaining a consistent overall appearance.  They were presented at the Festival’s season opening on July 5th,, at a concert by The Canadian Brass.

detail showing embossed note
the completed glass pieces

2017 recipients of the HFA Award

Brenda and I have both created commissioned art for the Huntsville Festival of the Arts in the past, and it was an honour to have the opportunity to contribute once again.