In this series, the artists working at Creative Gateways give us a behind-the-scenes insight into their current works in progress, inspiration and creative challenges. Today, Marika tells us about a recent work in progress and the challenges it’s brought so far…
Fall is a big inspiration to me: the colors and the changes in the landscape during this season always spark new ideas. This year, I made a couple of Halloween themed pieces, but one of my favorites is the piece I’m currently working on now; a bowl made out of different colored leaves, incorporating the natural shapes and the rich colors of Fall.
My first step was to draw out the design. Actually, I found a template to use as inspiration – but I modified it to make it as simple as possible, adding my own curves. I knew it would be important to keep it really simple, as I suspected the shapes would be tricky to cut out!
We have a bowl mold that has a pattern like the veins of a leaf in it; I drew that on the glass, to see what it would look like. The next stage was to cut out the leaf shapes that will form the sides of the bowl.
We draw the outlines of the pieces to cut in Sharpie markers. The challenge I have come up against is that the ring saw we use to cut the glass uses water, as well as the blade. So, as I make the cut, the pressured water blasts the line I’ve drawn right off the glass!
My first try in cutting out the leaf shapes was in a dark red glass. The cutting was going really well, but the glass broke just as I was cutting the final corners off. I might be able to reuse the piece in some way – I haven’t decided that yet! But for the leaf shapes, I needed to start again.
My second try is in an orangish red. I tried doing some of the cutting just by eye, but when I compared it to the original design, it wasn’t very close. I’m still learning how to use the saw and I guess I’m not practiced enough to be totally accurate without an outline.
The next thing I’m going to try is coating the marker glass with an oil based covering, like Vaseline, before cutting. The oil will protect the marks I’ve made from the water, so that I can see what I’m cutting. One problem I can see is that this will make the glass slippery – which is intimidating when using the saw! But hopefully I’ll figure out a way to make it work.
Sometimes these kinds of challenges can be really frustrating. Glass art isn’t just about coming up with a design and then making it. There are all kinds of unexpected technical issues to solve along the way. But I know I’ll get there. After the first piece of glass broke, I left the project for about a week while I worked on other pieces. I have the freedom to wait; there’s no pressure and no time limit in our studio, so I don’t feel like I have to rush anything.
A huge part of what inspired me is experimenting, and trying out new things. Sometimes the studio feels like a giant playground. It’s a really exciting environment to create in.
To find out how Marika’s leaf bowl is progressing, and see what other experiments are going on in the AMusinGlass studio this week, come in and visit us! We’re open 12 to 5 daily and we’d love to say hello and show you around.
Where color and texture come alive through the magical alchemy of fused glass. Do your home and work spaces feel beautiful and inspiring? Are you looking for a splash of creative color to spark your own creative energy? We create beautiful and functional pieces of art glass in unique handmade designs for your home or work space.