So last year a group of my friends went to Burning Man and I made about 100 hearts for them to trade and give out to people that they met. When they returned they told me so many stories of how much people loved receiving the hearts, so this year I’m creating a new token for them and learning about another aspect of glass at the same time.
There are many ways to shape glass, and a mold is one of them. Then again there are many many types of molds. Some you drop the glass in, others you clamp down, and some you stamp into the glass.
My idea is to make necklace pendants out of glass that have the symbol of burning man stamped on them.
So the first thing I did was carve the symbol into a piece of graphite:
Burning Man symbol carved in graphite
Graphite is a friend to glass! It can take a lot of heat and not leave any residual marks on the surface of the glass.
Next I hastily built my own handle out of some scrap wood…and voila! I have a stamp:
The first stamp
Now I take a really fresh hot glob of glass and drop it onto a steal plate and then stamp the symbol in!
Burning Man Medallion first attempt
I initially like how it looks, but I am going to construct another stamp to get an even better design. This has been really fun so far and I’m looking forward to doing these in a lot of different colors!
I will keep you updated on the progress of this project and if you are going to Burning Man and would like some medallions of your own…don’t hesitate to email me: email@example.com
I recently returned from Toledo, OH where I was attending the annual GAS (Glass Arts Society) Conference. This was my first year going and it was a really eye opening experience. There was so many great lectures and demonstrations, below is a link to my photobucket album:
This year was the 50th anniversary of the studio glass movement in America. It was started by Harvey Littleton and Dominick Labino in Toledo, when they held the first studio hot glass class ever. Many of the first students including Fritz Dreisbach and Marvin Lipofsky, who went out to teach their own classes were at the conference this year. Because I was with Randy Strong, who has been doing glass for 44 years, I really benefited by being able to meet a lot of the Old Timers from the glass movement.
If you are involved in glass or would like to be, this is definitely an event you don’t want to miss!
One of the most common question people ask me when I tell them I’m a glassblower, is “Where does the glass come from?”. This is a really interesting question because when you think about all glass objects you use throughout the day from glasses to phone screens, it becomes quite amazing that this substance can be shaped and used for so many different things.
So in this post I will explain how we make the glass that we use in all our work.
The Glass Furnace
The first thing to know is that our glass is kept in a furnace at over 2000 degrees 24/7! At this temperature it has a consistency similar to hot honey.
Inside is a big pot that holds 500 lbs of liquid glass and we open the door and gather it up on steel rods or pipes.
How does the glass get in there? Glad you asked!
So there are two parts that we use for this recipe. The first is batch, made from silica, soda ash and variety of other minerals and chemicals. The second is recycled clear glass that we have used already.
We mix these two ingredients in a loading trough and dump it into the furnace. After the melting process, the mixture of the two create a crystal clear glass with no tarnish or seeds (bubbles).
Although this process makes beautiful crystal clear glass, the chemicals in the batch can be harmful if inhaled over a long period of time. So always remember to wear your Respirator!
Every now and then I pick up an art magazine to look at what people have been doing and get some fresh inspiration. Usually I look at Glass Art, Niche Magazine, and American Craft, but today I flipped through Ceramics Monthly. The forms and colors of the clay pieces in this magazine really struck me more then any had before. It gave me a lot of ideas of where to take the forms of my glass next.
One artist in particular that really caught my eye was Christopher Melia. He was featured in their 2012 emerging artists section of this issue. I was most inspired by the forms he incorporated into his vessels. Check out his website here and let me know what you think!
On the topic of clay, many glass artists I have met, including my mentor Randy Strong, started out in ceramics. I think that exploring clay and making clay models may help me develop my ideas for glass further, so I’m going to pick some up and experiment with it before I start my next work.
I am looking forward to getting my glass out there and hearing responses from people at the fair. I will be displaying my figurative sculpture, paperweights, glassware and some special gifts for upcoming Father’s Day.
The fair is on Saturday and Sunday June 9-10 and located at Live Oak Park in Berkeley, CA at Berryman St and Shattuck Ave. www.liveoakparkfair.com
If your in the area come down to the fair, I would love to meet you and talk about my work!
For the last year and a half while working at R. Strong glass I have been learning how to
make hearts. These paperweights began as a Mother’s Day present from Randy Strong to his mother, and continue as a permanent product in the R. Strong Glass line.
I really enjoy making them because whenever someone buys one or is given one as a gift, you can see their whole face light up with happiness. The gift of something beautifully handmade is truly like no other.
So far in my heart making adventures, Along with making hearts for R. Strong glass, I have made 100 crystal hearts for the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2011 conference in San Francisco and I have made 90 for friends to bring to Burning Man and give as gifts to people they met there. Everyone comes back with stories of how much people loved the hearts and sometimes were in near tears when receiving them. I really believe that hearts are a powerful symbol and I will probably continue to make them for the rest of my days in glass.
For me making these hearts has been an interesting journey. When your making them you always have to be critical of what your are doing and really see the design as you are making them. It has taken me since I started here to really get the process and design down, but all the realizations I have had while making hearts have helped me gain more knowledge about everything else I do in glass.
I would like to share with you my journey and relationship with glass starting with today. I have been working at R. Strong glass for the past year and a half in Berkeley, CA. Working here and learning from glass master Randy Strong has been such a crazy experience. I have learned so many new things it is hard to wrap my head around them.
Sometimes I will be making a piece of glass and then start thinking, wait a minute, I was studying economics in San Diego, how the hell did I get here? What’s this thing at the end of this stick I’m holding?
This is, I have found, the nature of glass. You start with a little bit and then all of sudden 5, 20, or 60 min later you have a thing! For Example:
Today I started with this
And ended with this
The glass is always moving. I still have so much to learn about how to work with it, but I feel like it has already taught me a lot about myself. I hope to share my work, realizations and experiences.