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Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Symbolism of "Destination"

The countdown till the completion of the installation in late June begins and I can hardly wait!

This message driven “green” project consists of forty (40) kiln-cast recycled glass dragonflies that are flying towards a center pond vessel of brown/tan concrete with glass bits. The glass came from numerous free sources such as freecycle and individual businesses.

Dragonflies in various cultures have a positive symbolism conveying renewal, change, and activity. Since the dragonfly lives a short life, it knows it must live its life to the fullest in the shortest time.

The dragonflies vary in size and color which signifies that we all come in different colors and sizes. A few have elongated necks to symbolize younger dragonflies (children/teenagers) that have not “fully grown” into their wings. Yet, all the dragonflies share a common experience in that they are flying towards a center “destination.” This destination for them is a pond but for each of us, it is something different. The number forty signifies maturity and completion of a test or trial.

Process wise, my forty dragonflies are each unique and were created from forty original hand sculpted clay models. These clay models were cast in a mixture of plaster and silica and after setting the clay was removed and the mold was cleaned. Special frits were added to broken compatible recycled glass to give each one a consistent but different appearance. The glass was slowly fired up to a temperature over 1550 degrees and the glass was removed after cooling. It was then cold-worked with a tile saw to remove uneven glass overflow.

The final glass castings had to be hand sanded and sandblasted to give them their final appearance which I refer to as a “prehistoric modern” look. A number of the dragonflies were then placed back into the kiln for an additional two or three day firing with enamels that were applied to the wings and body. The dragonflies averaged 3 to 8 days of work which included the time in the kiln.

I work with recycled glass because I feel that I am creating a balance in the environment. I am taking something out of the environment, granted a discarded material (a negative) and returning it back to the environment as a positive and a sense of balance is achieved.

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