Saturday, August 29, 2009
Recently, the Green Recycling Network http://greenrecyclingnetwork.com graciously donated two large bins of glass to my public art project. This private company serves a critical role in our community by specializing in the deconstruction of whole buildings and interiors such that the maximum amount of material is diverted from land disposal at a competitive cost to traditional demolition. They also have items for sale on their website. Please visit their website for further information.
Friday, August 21, 2009
I am using plate, window or bottle glass for each of the dragonflies and will be adding special frits or enamels to bring additional colors and dimension to each cast piece. I have been working on a 16-17 inch test size for the large dragonfly and it looks about half of them will weigh over 10 lbs and require over 2 and 1/2 days of kiln firing, annealing and controlled cooling.
Process-wise, I first make a 3-D model of the dragonfly in clay and then build a dam (using clay or other materials) around it and pour a plaster and silica mix on top of it. After this plaster/silica mix sets, I carefully dig out the clay which can be reused. After cleaning the mold, I then have a final mold to place the broken glass pieces into for firing. After cooling, the mold is broken away from the cast dragonfly. Additional coldworking with sanders, dremel bits, etc. is done to further clean and refine the glass casting. So, it is important to note that each dragonfly is cast in a one time use original mold and the mold is not reused since it must be broken to remove the cast dragonfly. The molds are about 20 inches across and weigh over 35 lbs.
The photos below demonstrate this process.
Clay model of dragonfly
Sunday, August 16, 2009
The Arlington Commission for the Arts administers the grants program for Arlington County's artists and art organizations. Grants are available for non-profit arts organizations that are headquartered in Arlington and for individual practicing artists producing, composing, writing, presenting or supporting dance, literary arts, media arts, theater, visual arts or related arts, who are legal residents of Arlington.
Every year, the county awards up to three individual art spotlight grants ($5000 each) for visual, media, literary and performing arts. The deadline for the application package is in January and one has to attend a short grant seminar before applying for a grant.
While not everyone is familiar with art grant writing, myself included, I found the county contacts to be very supportive and patient in giving feedback on a draft application (prepared well in advance of the deadline of course).
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Thanks to Editor Rob Bettmann for his assistance in this article. I would encourage all artists to take the time to submit a piece for this interesting magazine! The magazine has a lot of great content for all levels of interest in the arts.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Neel has an interesting website that also covers issues for Arlington county.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Recycled glass comes from everyday window glass, table tops and bottles. Since the manufacturers of such glass are simply creating a fast setting/stiff glass as a consumer product (i.e, a bottle to hold soda pop, etc), they are understandably not concerned about small changes in the glass manufacturing formula. Therefore, the COE's between even bottles from an identical product or sheets of window glass can vary typically from the 70's to 80's. However, if you use glass all from the same piece (i.e., a broken glass table top), that glass is always compatible with glass from the same exact piece. If you want to mix glass from various sources, you have to do pretesting with several pieces in a small kiln and examine the cooled pieces for stress cracks.
Recycled glass takes on a fascinating stone like appearance after several kiln firings. It has to be fired at higher temperatures than art glass (over 1550) and one only gets about 2-3 firings before the glass stiffens up so much it will not flow any longer in a kiln. If you look closely at a glass table top or a clear bottle, you will often see a greenish tint which becomes very pronounced after the glass is kiln-fired.
The second photo above (Glass Flower Reborn, Copyright 2008) shows a sculpture I created using clear bottle glass for the top/flower (with copper foil inclusions), bottle glass for the stem and window glass for the base. The first photo (Glass Flower Reborn, Copyright 2009) shows a sculpture using various shades of green bottles.