There’s something magical about talking to an artist in the middle of their creative process – when the initial inspiration has flowed into action, but the finished piece is yet to take shape. Today we were lucky enough to catch Pilisa right in the middle of a glass piece that will become a garden stake – and she filled us in on the experiment she’s currently making.
I put a piece in the kiln about a month ago, and it came out so much darker than I expected that the result totally changed my direction and focus for this piece.
This piece of art glass is also going to become a garden stake, similar to the previous one I made. It’s a square shape and will be placed on one corner when it’s in place, making a square diamond shape to bring light, color and interest to the garden.
I knew I wanted another piece to go in the garden, and what inspired me was looking out of the studio one day and seeing a row of evergreens against the sky. Those colors sparked the idea for what this piece became.
As with the previous garden stake, I did some background work in powder and water. This time I used one layer of deep cobalt blue like the sky, and another of two shades of green, echoing the color of the trees.
Usually when I work on a piece like this I’ll work on the layers separately, firing them to fix the colors in place before fusing them together. It means I can move the two pieces around and decide how I’d like to position them.
This time, I decided to work a little differently. It was a spontaneous thing, but I decided I’d lay the two pieces on top of each other before they went into the kiln, and fire them together, fixing the colors and fusing the two layers together at the same time. I wanted to see what would happen if I trusted my intuition and let the glass show me how it wanted to turn out.
While I liked the way the piece turned out, it was very light in color and the iridescence of the top layer of glass became impossible to see! So, I decided to add a layer of black powdered glass to the backside of the piece and fire it again in order to bring out the iridescence of the top layer of glass. Unfortunately, I was a little heavy handed on the powder, and that made the lovely green grass and blue sky impossible to see.
My new direction for the piece was inspired by the sand painting techniques of the Dine tribe located in the American Southwest. Since one of the medicine women that I know well told me that I have an affinity for the Thunder Beings, I decided to use an image of the Thunder Beings as the focus for my modern interpretation of their ancient sand painting pictures and woven rugs.
Doing new things like this is always little risky, but it also can yield some wonderful surprises. It’s exciting to trust that the glass is going to come out in an interesting way, maybe beyond what I would have planned. Working in glass involves a lot of observing, experimenting and playing – and this piece is a perfect example of that.
In the AMusinGlass studio you can talk to our artists about their work at every stage – from the first glimmer of an idea, through the exploration and uncertainty of creating it, right through to the finished piece. Come and see what we’re playing with right now: click here for details of how to plan your visit.
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