The 2-week course I took at the Corning Museum of Glass with Denise Stillwaggon Leone was amazing! She was so generous with her time and so patient with us. We had a great class of 6 people along with a wonderful teacher’s assistant Cat Burns to help us along our journey. The journey started by learning a new language. Enamels, frits, sandblasting, hi-fire, low-fire, fusing and cold working were some of the things we were learning. The very first day we learned stage sand blasting and I completed this piece.
I was not completely thrilled with the finished product but I got the concept and could see the possibilities. We were given a 3/4 inch thick piece of glass and I worked on this piece for the next week and a half.
I finished it literally in the last few minutes of work time we had. First I thought I had ruined the piece by inadvertantly passing the sand blasting nozzle over an area that was supposed to stay untouched. Well mistakes can also be opportunities and this accident opened the door for me to loosen up the piece by giving it a few more gentle passes with the sandblasting nozzle in a few different areas. I would love to have more time to explore the possibilities of this technique the results are so sensual.
I was sand blasting pretty much every day!
The second day we were instructed to find some things to print. I gathered as many natural elements as I could find outside and another student found me a feather. Thank you Beth for your keen eye. We printed with water based ink and then re-scaled the prints on a copier. After they were printed on a transparency we used a light sensitive film to make a stencil that was stuck to the glass. Then came the sand blasting and like magic the details of the print were engraved into the glass. Here is my first one.
We were able to fill it with powdered enamel and fire it to give it color. The process is magical and I decided to use the feather in the stack that we eventually worked on. We also photo sand blasted a halftone photograph onto glass. Here’s my mushroom gills, at the top you see the half tone photo printed on a transparency and the bottom image is it sand blasted on glass. It’s photographed with black paper behind it.
I decided to give it a painterly treatment with silver stain. I wanted it to feel like an old damaged photo.
We learned some painting techniques as well. Here’s one example.
Our next project was a piece we called a stack that was going to be 8 layers of glass fused together. I made my own colored glass with fruit which is powder glass that was sifted in layers onto the glass and then fired.
This is called a frit wafer that is made by sifting powdered glass onto kiln shelf paper. After firing, it can be layered into the stack.
This is how they looked before they were stacked and fired.
I learned a lot working on this piece. With the time we had left I worked on a few other pieces using my own photographs and continuing the nature theme.
I’ll be showing some of these pieces at my up-coming show in November at the Mezzanine Gallery , in the Carvel State Office Building in Wilmington, DE. This amazing opportunity was made possible through a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts.