Thursday, April 5, 2012

Getting Ready to Set Sail

I have had a strong desire to return to California for a visit.  My previous visit was terrific.  I feel like I made some very real connections with folks there.  And I really want to spend a little time with those giant trees.  So will begin the Spring Tour.  I leave on the 16th of April, and will travel West to Seattle and then South along the coast.  I hope to visit several friends and studios along the way.  I had been planning this trip, to come back to Bozeman before heading East in late May/early June (the Summer Tour).  Word of my father's health has redirected my plans a bit - I will now be going to Oklahoma between California and the East Coast.  I had just signed up for a P.O. Box in Bozeman when I got the news.  Seems like the Universe doesn't want to let me settle down just yet.

    I have a workshop scheduled at Bay Area Glass Institute for April 21 & 22, where I will be teaching folks about the glass blowing molds I use and how to make them out of just about anything.  I blew a little glass here on my previous visit, it is a really nice facility, and I am looking forward to a return.
    The following weekend I have been invited to have a show & will be the lead demonstration for Public Glass' Hot Glass Cold Beer fundraising event.  Followed by a workshop the following week. I am going to do my best to work in any additional visiting artist demonstrations in between.  Exciting stuff!
    I am making the work for the show here,  the concept being a play on the 99 bottles of beer on the wall song, instead being 99 bowls made of glass on the wall.  I have been making these little dishes and I think it would be pretty neat to display them.  It is a culmination of the work I have done here in Bozeman, and what the experience has taught me.  Making multiples becomes meditation.  Making glass keeps me on the right path, in a healthy state of mind.  I had no idea what was in store for me when I came back here.  That I would learn an entirely new aspect of glass.  That I would be welcomed with open arms & such generosity.  That I would get to collaborate and play like I have not done in a very long time.  It has helped me work through some very intense moments.  

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Regarding Balance

    Balance is one of those things I have been working on all my life.  It can be quite elusive.  I am not sure if I have ever had this figured out, actually.  Sometimes, I wish there was another one of me - an opposing brained me that could take care of all those things that don't seem to come naturally.  Balance in every aspect of life, takes constant attention. There are many facets to this life.  There is the manic creative that delights in pure expression, this being the most powerful force, the one that drives the bus.  Then there is the part that has to figure out how to fill the gas tank of said bus....
    The variety of activity need to keep going can be a little overwhelming at times.  I seem to go in waves. I get caught up in driving the bus, then, crap, the bus is out of fuel.  And so on and so forth.
    Things have been quite interesting for the past month. I feel like I have been progressing in a very positive way in the glass studio.  Furnace dipping boro is quite a different feel than what I am accustomed to.  I have been adapting my soft glass techniques, blowing into molds making a limited series of small vase-pipes - Morris has kept some amazing colors swrling around in the furnace for me, so I have been producing as much as I possibly can while the furnace is hot.  I have been getting some very positive feedback regarding the work - that is always very encouraging.  The creative juices are in full swing, there aren't enough hours in the day!

     All this being said, life doesn't stop either.  Just as I started to make plans for the Spring & Summer Tours, some pretty heavy family matters have come up.  Enter the unexpected balancing act!

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Big Anniversary

    It was exactly one year ago, I was finishing and sending in my application for the Kohler/Corning Residency.  This is an amazing residency sponsored by Kohler (yes the faucet, sink & toilet manufacturer) and the Corning Museum of Glass.  For me, it was a pivotal moment, being the first residency I have ever applied for.  I found that there was a state of mind I needed to get myself into in order to finish the application.  I worked on it for a couple of months, finishing work, taking photographs, and figuring out how to express ideas that I have been mulling over for years into a very short proposal.  I had to completely believe that I was going to be awarded the residency, and wrap my head around what that actually meant.  It meant that I would be leaving Philadelphia, to begin a new chapter of my life.  I would be completely devoting myself to the pursuit of my artwork.  I would be going out on a limb, opening up for others to see. I could be amazing, or fail spectacularly.  I delivered it to the Post Office about 10 minutes until close on the postmark deadline of April 1.  Not that I didn't have enough time to get everything done, it was that I had convinced myself that I was committed to the fact that everything was going to change if I sent the application in.
    Here's the cover letter to the proposal:

I have had my own studio for 11 years, which has allowed me to concentrate on sculpture in a variety of materials.  I have also worked as a project manager/consultant in the creative construction industry.  At the Kohler/Corning Residency Program, I would like to marry these two skill sets to work on a large scale with a team of skilled artisans. I am comfortable working within the dynamics of a studio that has many projects happening simultaneously. As a glass blower and a project manager, I have experience with the give and take that occurs in these situations and believe it strengthens the relationships between the participants, while adding energy to the work.
I have been exploring the idea of sculpture consisting of a vocabulary of symbolic, modular shapes and elements for several years. These elements become symbols that have individual meaning and when put together create new meanings in their relationship to each other, the space and viewer. I see large scale installations that relay the essence of a story, constructed of modular components made of metal, glass, wood, and ceramic. 

    The Proposal:

    I will develop a series of modular pieces of sculpture which will have the potential to be assembled in many different ways.  A vocabulary of shapes, sizes, textures and colors will be created representing individuals, events, and how they relate to and affect each other.  I want to create an experience for viewers that will evoke feelings and emotional responses to this abstract language. I see these forms manifesting as room sized fixed installations, as well as being presented as “kits” for others to assemble using their own vision or expression, thus creating a living language in three-dimension. 

Time line:
Month 1 – Planning, drawing, creating mock-ups, understanding studio logistics and installation spaces
Month 2 – Continue with drawings, mock-ups, begin making models and prototypes
Month 3 – Using a variety of materials, create blow molds and glass manipulation tools
Month 4 - Time at The Studio of The Corning Museum of Glass to make pieces using these molds and tools in the hot shop, and any cold working that is necessary.
Month 5 – Return to Kohler Arts Center, assess the stock. Plan installations and design non-glass elements
Month 6 – Create non-glass components
Month 7 – Final constructions and site installation.

    I thought it was pretty good.  The big thing was that I actually followed through with the application. No more just talking about what I was going to do someday, time to start doing it.  Once that piece was in the mail, things changed for me.  I spent a couple of weeks at my brother's place on the Potomac River, house sitting & trying to figure out what I was going to do with myself.  It was during this time that the seeds for what I am up to now were planted.