Inaugural visit to Urban Glass

By chance, I reconnected with an old friend from RISD who was enrolled in a graduate program when I was a sophomore way back when. I agreed to assist Susie (who now teaches at SVA) for a 3-hour 'practice' blow slot at Urban Glass just off Fulton Street in Brooklyn, NY.

Urban offers an experimental studio rate for non-commission, non-commercial pieces, which encourages exploratory work and makes the studio more accessible to a broader range of artists. (E-mail them for availabilities on both professional and experimental slots.)

The facilities are beautiful, and I was excited to get a tour from Susie, who had seen Urban both before and after its massive facelift. I booked myself some time this weekend, so getting in those three hours on Wednesday was a great introduction to the open-air layout and well-stocked educational locker.

 Susie being fabulous, of course. We were practicing optic twist cups.

Susie being fabulous, of course. We were practicing optic twist cups.

Penland prep

Leaving in a little over a week.

Got the FJ A/C refilled with freon at a great Hasidic-run shop in my childhood neighborhood, off Ditmas Ave. The mechanics do this nifty thing where they pump in UV reactive dye alongside the gas, that allows them to pinpoint the source of any refrigerant leaks in the future using "extra special goggles," as the tech explained to me.

Fingers crossed, I'll be riding cool through the Virginias, a bit of Tennessee?, then finally North Carolina.

The workshop is about ring design and fabrication. I have virtually no experience drafting designs for jewelry, so here is my self-assigned homework from studio today. Over time, I will learn what I want to build and how to show it, but for now these 16 clumsy little doodles.

(Sakura Gelly Rolls are a guilty pleasure of mine and have been since I was 12. Their GLORIOUS range of colors is texturally diverse as well (sheer glaze, dimensional matte puff, silver and gold sheen, metallics, neons, glitter). They are my favorite way to accent designs for jewelry and apparel as each dot of ink has a dimensional, jewel-like quality to it. Gelly pens are NOT just for pre-teen girls....)

Far West Texas, 2013

In preparation for my trip down to NC in a couple weeks, I thought I'd share some photographs from the second-to-last big trip I took (the most recent being my relocation from TX to NY with just me, a cat, a bag of Barnana, and all my belongings in the car).

In July 2013, my good friend B and I headed out in the FJ with some good desert outfits, a pair or two of crazy tall heels (just in case), and loads of chia seeds, fiber crackers and bananas.

Our goal was to hit Marfa and surrounding areas, pass through some border towns, see a star show, see Donald Judd's Chinati Foundation, check out the Prada Marfa store, exist in the desert, and leave time to explore/look at rocks.

 A Texas town we stopped in early on

A Texas town we stopped in early on

 Explorer B

Explorer B

Our first night, we slept in an average old motel with two beds. We were near a large town.

 My travel belongings laid out on my side of the room

My travel belongings laid out on my side of the room

We moved westward....

 Somewhere in the mountains...

Somewhere in the mountains...

We spent a night at a "tourist's/motorist's camp," whose rooms were basically open-air stalls crammed with two twin beds. It was cheap, and breezy, and clean. The town, whose name escapes me, was quite strange.

 They had a wonderful little pool with fountains

They had a wonderful little pool with fountains

 More legs; spent a lot of time lying down, recouping energy

More legs; spent a lot of time lying down, recouping energy

We headed up an unpaved mountain path to get to the Chinati hot springs just out of Marfa proper. Below is the spring-fed cold pool where I learned to swim for the first time.

 The first place I swam without fear; the first place I showed my breasts to the moon

The first place I swam without fear; the first place I showed my breasts to the moon

Having failed to obtain fresh groceries before setting up the mountain, we improvised with some dry goods and spices we found in the communal kitchen, plus a questionable beverage made from Crystal Lite concentrate + Bragg's apple cider vinegar in water.

 Dinner for two

Dinner for two

We had a little cabin a few feet from the hot spring. It was filled with carved wooden trinkets and tiny furniture.

Heading down the next day, we passed through a ghost town called Ruidosa. We stopped a while; ruins filled with tires and HOT sun.

 Ex-church, we thought.

Ex-church, we thought.

 My good girl in blue.

My good girl in blue.

On one lovely night, B coordinated for us to visit a star party at the McDonald Observatory, which boasts the highest-elevation public-access road in the country. When night fell, we were allowed to look through various telescopes at planets and star clusters.

 Observatory in the distance

Observatory in the distance

We spent a night in Marfa at the El Cosmico "tent hotel" (they have trailers, too!). It had gotten unbearably hot for me. When it cooled down at night, I bundled up in woollen blankets and laid in a hammock under the stars.

 B luxuriating in our fancy-deluxe tent

B luxuriating in our fancy-deluxe tent

We ate a taco that, for some reason, contained grits.

We drove down a broad, empty highway to visit the Prada Marfa installation. We took our clothes off because nobody except distant truckers could see. The sun felt good.

We passed an air base fencing in a massive, unidentifiable floating white object. Even though no one was about, we didn't dare step through the gate.

Finally, the death toll on my FJ's bullguard, including one pretty (dead) ladybug.

Puff

The frit color test came out & will be good for reference down the line.

While gathering components for a glass firing later this month, I took a drawing break with only a pencil and some dimensional Sakura puff + glaze pens on trace vellum.

There are a couple more of these funny things in the New in June gallery.