Creative Act, Panels, Cathedral, Tiles


My life is so full. I feel like I am in a leaf pile filled with ideas. The beautiful colors surround me, the forms bubble inside me, and the textures overwhelm my visions. The opulence of the concepts keeps me going each day, all day.

Creativity abounds; it surrounds us every day. It is a 24/7 time frame. The problem is not “What shall I create today,” but instead to “which” idea will I devote my time?

The Creative Act for Today

The creative act that I want to discuss today is the evolution of my Complexity Series; Michael thinks I should name it the Cathedral Series. I like my nomenclature best (of course) as creating these pieces deals with lots of issues. The series is all about making larger, thick tiles 24″ x 17.5″ ix 0.5 inches in size, basically as big as my current kiln and dams can handle.

There are numerous technical challenges in fusing these thicker slabs, including mixing glass vendors (COE and other chemical challenges), reducing devit (Spruce Pine doesn’t appear to like fusing), and the ever-present bubble issue. Then, of course, there are the artistic challenges: determining colors, the amount of open space, the physical location of the color, the transition between colors. With this process, I am choosing my colors from a predetermined palette of previously created pieces.

The Process to Execute this Creative Act

So for seven years, we have been saving bits and pieces of our broken dreams (endeavors) in the form of colored glass scrap. We made our River of Broken Dreams as part of the landscape at the front of the studio. We used the shuck bucket shards and some cracked pieces or ones that we didn’t like within it. We added more shuck bucket material to the west of the studio for drainage at the foundation. We try to use all the parts and pieces because the material is expensive.

Glass is inert, so it doesn’t hurt the environment, so there are many possibilities. Did you know that you can heat glass multiple times before the molecular bonds stop working? We have boxes of color shards saved. Today, I got the guys out of the tractor shed and put them on the studio patio to see my choices.

In the beginning, I tried to fuse smaller pieces of Spruce Pine blown shards with my other 96 COE glass, experimenting on what to do and how to do it. But there were multiple problems that I couldn’t seem to overcome at my experience level with fusing glass pieces from the hot glass studio. They were “theoretically” the same COE (coefficient of expansion), but the Spruce Pine Batch that we use so successfully in the hot glass studio gave me issues in the warm studio.

Now with more experience and patience, I am having success. Changing one item at a time (or two) and seeing the results. Remember when God was handing out patience, I was running out the door saying, “ll get it later!”  There are two things in an artist’s experience, what works and what doesn’t.  Both are opportunities to learn.  Failure is not an option.

Why did this Creative Act rise to the top Now

There are numerous reasons why this project has taken the lead in getting it done! One of the reasons is that we can’t blow glass and I have to make something! Another reason is that I have ordered a big kiln (Denver Glass 72″ x 36″ x 12″) because I want to start making larger pieces. My current kiln can only handle a maximum rectangular piece that’s 30″ x 19″. So this will be a huge uplift.  Then there is that urge as a scientist to explore and find the correct answer to a problem.

So, I have several opportunities at the studio that I could use some thick glass slabs. We are trying to spruce up our flex space (small apartment) to use it for an idea we are developing called a Glassy Weekend! Our Flex Space has high windows that currently have no coverings on them. Because they are tall, no one can look in, but the outdoor lights shine in pretty brightly at night. So diffusing that light with colored panels would soften the hardness and add a glassy touch!

Then there is the need for steps going down the incline in the back of the studio. When it rains, that is like a slip n slide! I know because I have played on it more than once with my hands full. Wouldn’t it be cool if we had a few thick slabs of glass as the top part of a step?!!

Expectations of this Creative Act

So, since I started pursuing this idea (this time), I have made three successful panels. Each one is a little better than the one before as I test and learn. I will need a total of eight panels for the two-bedroom windows in our Flex Space (they are 23″ x 70.5″. I expect that we will install them using aluminum channels and inset them in the windows.

We want to tier and put steps in to accommodate the entire slope in the studio’s backyard, but we probably can’t afford the time or labor to do this. But two good sets of stairs, one to the gate and one to the backyard, would be great. We could use at least two panels (one on each set of steps) or perhaps eight panels. We will have to see.

Through the making of this series, I am spending my time as always, loving to learn.  There is no lack of ideas, just a lack of sleep and time to complete them.  I expect that after I have made all of these, my interest will move on to another creative process, but who knows; maybe the idea will become the Cathedral Series.

Until next time,
Stay Safe and Have Fun

Enriching lives through artistic self-expression.

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