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Saturday, October 23, 2010

More Colors: Orange and Black

Orange (tangerine, not burnt orange) has always been my absolutely favorite color. According to Wikipedia, "the color is named after the orange fruit, after the appearance of the ripe fruit.[3] Before this word was introduced to the English-speaking world, the colour was referred to as ġeolurēad (yellow-red). The first recorded use of orange as a colour name in English was in 1512,[4] in the court of King Henry VIII."

If you favorite color is orange, (see,
"this color of luxury and pleasure appeals to the flamboyant and fun-loving person who likes a lively social round. Orange people may be inclined to dramatize a bit, and people notice them, but they are generally good-natured and popular. They can be a little fickle and vacillating, but on the whole they try hard to be agreeable. Orange is the color of youth, strength, fearlessness, curiosity and restlessness."

Wikipedia states that "Black is the color of objects that do not emit or reflect light in any part of the visible spectrum; they absorb all such frequencies of light. Although black is sometimes described as an "achromatic", or hueless, color, in practice it can be considered a color, as in expressions like "black cat" or "black paint"."

If black is your favorite color, it can mean you are "dignified and impressive without being showy and you want to give the appearance of mystery. But this color preference may also indicate a suppression of desires and worldly aims, suggesting hidden depths and inner longings."

And of course, we cannot forgot the symbolism of black and orange on Halloween.  Black cats, the night, vampires and witches are all associated with the color black while orange is connected with pumpkins.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

"Art Glass Today" by Jeffrey Snyder/Schiffer Books

I just received my copies that I ordered and it is an amazingly beautiful book.  It is available on

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Color Associations: Pink and Blue

As artists we are often interested in adding just the right bit of color to our works whether they be paintings or sculpture. I was always interested in how different colors came to be associated with certain things such as "blue for boys", "pink for girls." I assumed this association went back a hundred years or more.

But, according to Wikipedia, "In Western culture, the practice of assigning pink to an individual gender began in the 1920s[13] or earlier[14]. From then until the 1940s, pink was considered appropriate for boys because being related to red it was the more masculine and decided color, while blue was considered appropriate for girls because it was the more delicate and dainty color, or related to the Virgin Mary.[15][16][17] Since the 1940s, the societal norm was inverted; pink became considered appropriate for girls and blue appropriate for boys, a practice that has continued into the 21st century.[18]"

Pink is a mixture of red and white and the use of the word for the color we know today as pink was first recorded in the late 17th century.[2] Blue is one of the primary colors and the word itself is derived from the Old French word "bleu."

Next time, my favorite color "orange."

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Symbolism of the Dragonfly Installation Project: "Destination"

Cindy Ann Coldiron

Destination, 2010

Kiln cast recycled glass

Residing in a circle that is intersected by three paths, in Destination by Cindy Ann Coldiron (b. 19xx) the dragonflies are all flying towards their goal of the center concrete and glass "pond." Dragonflies symbolize renewal, change and activity and each of the three paths lead to different destinations in the park. Since the dragonfly lives a short life, it knows it must live its life to the fullest. in the shortest time. This destination for them is a pond but for each of us, it is something different. The number 40 signifies maturity and completion of a test or trial.

Coldiron created each dragonfly for this "green" project using 40 hand sculpted clay models that were cast in plaster and silica. After removal of the clay, the mold was filled with discarded bottle, window or plate glass. Colorants were added using frits and enamels along with a special glow powder for some of the molds. The molds were kiln fired at over 1550 degrees Fahrenheit. After cooling, the glass was cold worked with a wet tile saw and sandblasted.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Finishing Up The Dragonfly Project Tomorrow 10-10-10

Here are some updated photos below.  I spent three hours on Friday evening cutting off the excess adhesive (with a serated knife) where it had dripped down and set. This marine adhesive, unlike normal caulk, cannot be smoothed until it sets a bit and I did not want to accidently push it up against the glass since it is impossible to remove. Today, I applied additional adhesive around the edges of the glass where it joined the plate and filled in any gaps. I also applied the cast blue bottle pieces to the concrete "pond."

The county is supposed to start the landscaping this coming week.  Additional soil will be added so that the concrete and glass "pond" is flush with the ground. This will give it a natural look.  The planting of dwarf ornamental grasses will help obscure the metal posts in time.

A Story About Dragonflies, Author Unknown

Once, in a little pond, in the muddy water under the lily pads, there lived a little water beetle in a community of water beetles. They lived a simple and comfortable life in the pond with few disturbances and interruptions. Once in a while, sadness would come to the community when one of their fellow beetles would climb the stem of a lily pad and would never be seen again. They knew when this happened; their friend was dead, gone forever.

Then, one day, one little water beetle felt an irresistible urge to climb up that stem. However, he was determined that he would not leave forever. He would come back and tell his friends what he had found at the top. When he reached the top and climbed out of the water onto the surface of the lily pad, he was so tired, and the sun felt so warm, that he decided he must take a nap. As he slept, his body changed and when he woke up, he had turned into a beautiful blue-tailed dragonfly with broad wings and a slender body designed for flying.

So, fly he did! And, as he soared he saw the beauty of a whole new world and a far superior way of life to what he had never known existed. Then he remembered his beetle friends and how they were thinking by now he was dead. He wanted to go back to tell them, and explain to them that he was now more alive than he had ever been before. His life had been fulfilled rather than ended. But, his new body would not go down into the water. He could not get back to tell his friends the good news. Then he understood that their time would come, when they, too, would know what he now knew. So, he raised his wings and flew off into his joyous new life!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Updated View of the Dragonfly Project

Even the Romans Recycled Glass

This is one of the most interesting articles on recycled glass I have come across in the past year. I found it on the Planet Earth Online site and the full version of the article can be found in the Journal of Archaeological Science, published 22 July 2010, doi:10.1016/j.jas.2010.07.007.

Even the Romans Recycled Glass

30 September 2010, by Tamera Jones

The Romans weren't just dab hands at making beautiful vessels, ornaments and plates from glass; they were also good at recycling the stuff. A new study has found that towards the end of their rule in Britain, the Romans were recycling vast amounts of glass.

Roman Glass.

But the researchers behind the study think this probably had less to do with their concern for the environment, and more to do with the fact that glass became scarcer in the northern fringes of the Roman Empire during the last century of their rule.
Glassmaking was a highly sophisticated and successful industry during Roman times. Not only did the Romans spend over 600 years making things out of glass; they also knew exactly how to colour or decolourise it.
When you make glass out of sand, it takes on the colour of the various chemical elements from the sand. Given the right furnace conditions, sand containing a minute amount of iron makes glass blue-green, whereas iron and sulphur make it brown. So, sand from different parts of the world gives glass its own distinctive colour. That is, if you don't add anything to it.
'We think this means the Romans were increasingly relying on recycling to produce the vessels they wanted, possibly because less glass was coming into that part of the Empire by that time.'

Harriet Foster, Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service

But the Romans already knew how to make colourless glass. If you add tiny amounts of a so-called decolouriser like antimony or manganese to the sand, it'll come out of the furnace nearly clear. 'Although if you look closely, this glass isn't always truly colourless,' explains Harriet Foster from the Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service and co-author of the study.
'The Romans clearly had an understanding of how to colour or decolourise glass to their liking,' she adds.
But very little is known about exactly where the glass was made. Glass produced throughout the Roman world has a relatively uniform composition, suggesting it might have been made in a few small centres, and was shipped across the whole Empire before being reworked into different shapes in regional centres where necessary.
'We know a lot more about Roman glass now than we did 15 or 20 years ago but there's still a real vacuum in our understanding of the development of glass in the civilised world,' says Foster.
In an attempt to understand how colourless glass was made and distributed during the mid-third to fourth centuries, Foster and co-author Dr Caroline Jackson from the University of Sheffield decided to analyse the chemical composition of 128 samples of glass from 19 sites across Britain. They sourced samples from intact vessels, bowls, jugs or plates held in museums around the country.
'We used a technique that meant having to destroy the glass in question, so we had to make sure the information we were getting about each piece outweighed the fact that we'd be destroying a tiny piece of valuable archaeology,' says Foster.
The researchers used a sophisticated spectroscopic technique called ICP-AES, which can detect the the major and minor element present in the glass, including metals the Romans used to decolour it.
Of the 128 samples, 46 had been decoloured using antimony, 13 with manganese and the remaining 69 contained both. Dating evidence suggests the Romans may have increasingly relied on manganese over antimony by the mid-fourth century.
But the 69 samples that contain both metals point to recycling well into the fourth century.
'We think this means the Romans were increasingly relying on recycling to produce the vessels they wanted, possibly because less glass was coming into that part of the Empire by that time,' Foster explains. The Roman Empire may have started to fragment by the end of the fourth century. There's less evidence for investment in public buildings, statues and amenities. And trade seems to have slowed down.
But the researchers can say that their findings point to the Romans using three distinct sources of raw materials to make their glass. However, they're still no clearer about where this glass was produced.
'To get to the bottom of this, we need to analyse better dated colourless glass over a larger geographical range,' says Foster.

The research was published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

Click Here.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Major Progress!

I now have all 40 dragonflies adhered to the posts and it looks great. I still need to do finishing caulking around the edges to give it a nice clean finish.  I am also working on fusing the recycled blue glass bottle pieces for the bottom of the concrete vessel. So I hope I can finish this up by this coming weekend.  The county will then add 12 inches of soil so that the pond is flush with the ground and the posts will have more soil added around them as well.  Dwarf grasses will be added as a landscape feature to help camouflage the posts.

Here is a picture of the marine adhesive that I used.  It is great and allows for the expansion and contraction of the glass but it is impossible to remove it from your hands.  Even a small pin point of it acts like a tar and is seems to spread onto anything near it like a magnet.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Adhering the Dragonflies to the Metal Plates

I was able to get about 24 dragonflies adhered to the plates today but still need to go back and caulk in any gaps between the glass and the plate.  I heard many great comments and a lot of enthusiasm for this sculpture from visitors in the park. Children are always very enthusiastic for anything to do with recycled glass and ask the best questions.  I was explaining some of the symbolism behind the name of the sculpture ("Destination") and one little girl asked if the different colors and sizes of the dragonflies symbolize that people came in all shapes and sizes and colors.  I told her she was exactly right.

The black adhesive worked great and already was secure and barely movable after 4-5 hours.

Here are some pics from today.