Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Workshop Endeth

Arden's Garden pressed Hotshot juice, "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" by James Brown on the Dancing Goats sound system. I recognized that I knew the song, but I had to ask Dave what and who it was and, boy did I get a glare! Seems *everyone* should be able to recognize James Brown's music IMMEDIATELY (and know that his name is spelled without an "e" at the end). Oh well, I failed.

I began the morning by taking the fabulous Delores Taylor to the airport so she could fly home to Seattle after filling our brain cavities with pate de verre. Now I post, and then I'm going to read and nap in my comfy chair at Dancing Goats for the rest of the morning. Everyone needs a day off to not think of glass or business or glass business *at all*, and today is my day! Tomorrow I'll pick up the reins of the finances, fire loads, plan the next projects and studio undertakings (retail, classes, show display tweaks, etc.), and I'll also start working on Dave's birthday present. Heh. He'll never guess, and reading about it on the blog will drive him mad.

But back to the workshop. How was it, you ask? Mahvelous dahling. Absolutely Mahvelous. Yes, we learned lots and lots from someone who is truly a master (mistress? Mistress Delores... I like that!) at her craft. She has not only studied extensively with other masters, she has also applied herself diligently to honing both her art and her craft. The venue was also exceptional. Lori not only has a beautifully put together studio (The Glass Garage at Glass Inspirations), but she is also superb hostess and we drank and ate well (and often!).

Now for the curriculum itself... Day 1 we learned about color wedges and Delores' formula for custom blending our own colors from Bullseye powder and -01 frit. We used clay to model wedge trays that we then cast in plaster and filled with seven sample mixtures s from 5% to 100% color saturation. It was a long, incredible day and I didn't get home till almost 8:00 pm. Someone in the class had the idea of using wedge-shaped make-up sponges as the pattern for the glass wedge mold, and I thought that was genius. I liked the samples we did, but I want them BIGGER. I also want to do some sort of a reservoir system so I can get them as full as possible.

Day 2 had us taking both the mold-making and color-blending principles we had learned the day before and putting them to use in creating a bas relief tile. I used a couple of real leaves, a real allium flower, and a plastic dragonfly in a very simple arrangement--I saved complex for my vessel on day 3. Did you ever make coiled posts from clay as a kid? Well I coiled clay and curled it all around my hump mold in higgledy-piggledy swirls. All day on day 3 was spent designing, casting and cleaning out our vessel molds so we would be ready to pack them (with a paste of glass) on day 4. We did divest (break out of the mold) our tiles too an I am in love with my simple little one--the colors are so crisp, clean and saturated!

Day 4 we packed and fired, day 5 we started late with lunch and chatting, and in the late afternoon we divested our vessels and coldworked both vessels and tiles. I got a lot of the plaster out of the swirls in my vessel, but I have a lot of cleaning left to do. I also got to see first-hand evidence of the importance of packing, packing, tamping, packing the glass paste. It may look like it's a solid, even thickness, but when it fires it can shrink in in the not-so-well-packed areas and end up thinner. Clearly pate de verre is all about practice.

As I wrote in a previous post, this year is all about professional development for me--taking classes from the masters, and I have been really lucky in my choice of teachers. In many respects Delores and Linda Ethier are polar opposites (their approaches to mixing plaster, e.g.), but with both of them I could easily spend months studying with them and barely scratch the surface of their knowledge. So though my brain is full after five days, I can see great wanging holes in my knowledge that will only be filled with practice, practice, practice (and time).

Now back to my book and my nap. Tomorrow is soon enough to plan class schedules, materials lists, studio carpentry for teaching, et al.

1 comment:

Bill said...

Nice to see you're doing somethings that are educational.