Bullseye Glass Company holds a biannual glass conference that they call BECon. It was held in their Bay Area Resource Center this year in conjunction with the annual Glass Art Society (GAS) conference held in San Jose two days later. I’ll talk about the GAS conference in my next post. In this post, I’ll share a few images and insights from BECon 2015.
The first image I’d like to share is from Erin Dickson (shown to the right).
This is one of her “Window” series pieces, where she takes a photograph of a window from her past and turns it into a 3-D image, by cutting strips of glass with a water-jet. On the left side of the image, you can see that the art glass image has been made from strips of glass that clearly show a house at photographic resolution. You can see in the right side of the photo all of the texture in the piece, which was created by the glass strips being initially cut to to the same size, then were trimmed away by the water-jet on the front side.
Since glass transmits less light the thicker the glass is, she used that property to make the glass thin where there are light areas in the photo and thick where there are dark areas in the photo. The amount to be trimmed off is calculated based on turning the photograph into a grayscale image and then giving a numerical value to each successive level of the light and dark areas of the photograph. Once she had the values for each area of the photo, she then translated the values into an instruction to the water-jet for how much to cut from the edge of the glass to give the same relative value to the eye as someone views the glass.
While she didn’t get into the precise mechanics of the process in her BECon 2015 lecture, she shared enough to trigger ideas about using thin and thick areas of glass to increase or decrease light transmission to affect the final look of a piece to add more visual dimension. Since Terry has gotten the new sandblaster up and running, I’ve been noodling ways of achieving a similar effect with sandblasting a glass tile to different depths in order to affect the light and darkness of the piece.
The second image I’d like to share is from Jeffrey Sarmiento (shown to the left) that he talked about in his BECon 2015 lecture. Jeffrey also used the idea of cutting strips of glass that have been placed on edge, but his were made in a completely different way. In his “Flutter” construction, he screen printed in color onto both sides of strips of clear glass.
He took two different images, one of an Eyed Hawk Moth and one of a Blue Butterfly, and deconstructed the images into strips. Each of the moth strips were then successively screen printed onto one side of strips of glass, and each of the butterfly strips were printed onto the other side. When you place the strips edge-wise surrounded by clear strips to fill out the piece and fuse them into a panel, you get a really interesting effect. When you look at the piece straight on, you get the image on the right side of the photo where all you see are hints at a moth/butterfly shape. When you look at the piece from an angle, you either see the moth or the butterfly, depending on which side you’re looking from.
This third image is also from Jeffrey Sarmiento – I think; unfortunately, I didn’t write down the name of the artist, so I’m not 100% certain. In this piece, an image has been screen printed in black onto a sheet of white glass, then glass pebbles have been glued to the surface to pixelate the image. On the left, you can see the image as you see it hanging in the gallery, and on the right, you can see the various layers in the construction of the image. While Jeffrey didn’t talk about this particular image in his BECon 2015 lecture, he did allude to the various ways that he’s been deconstructing images to affect the way they appear to the viewer.
And that was one of the biggest take-aways that I had from BECon 2015. Being a texture girl, I really love the idea of deconstructing images to create texture and dimension in glass in my studio. My screen printed red rock tile series is one of those experiments in texture and dimension that I’ve been working on. Buying the sandblaster was another way of adding more texture and dimension to the tiles.
To be sure, I enjoyed the other BECon 2015 panels, especially the one that they had on making your studio more green, which is an issue near and dear to my heart. I also enjoyed making new friends and networking with other artists and learning what they are doing in glass. However, this track really gave me ideas that expand on what I’m already trying to create in my studio and will help me take those ideas to another level. My sincere thanks goes out to Bullseye for putting on these events every other year!
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