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!