Blowing glass & inventing fantasy vessels

In an earlier post, I mentioned that Brooklyn's Urban Glass offers lower "experimental" rates in their hotshop...I signed up for a three-hour Sunday block and had a wonderful time with old friend/AMAZING glassblower Jon Wang, trying things out and attempting to aggravate some old, stiff muscle memory.

Urban shares the building with an arts center and a café, with a wonderful first-floor exhibition space....

Urban shares the building with an arts center and a café, with a wonderful first-floor exhibition space....

Today was, actually, my first personal blow time in about three years. I taught introductory glass in Texas, and earned a little gratis blowtime at another studio across town by volunteering some walk-in events, but never found (or made) time or the budget to book productive shop time for myself.

So, today, even though my stepped rondelle ended up looking more like a lumpy hat, and I constantly made clumsy mistakes (like slamming my piece into the gloryhole door), it felt so AWESOME to have this time for myself (plus a couple of breaks for Jon so he could switch from assisting me to practicing goblet-making)....

Here is the final count of finished pieces percolating in the annealer, a collection of milky/cummy-hued vessels and flats.

I love planning out elaborate pieces on gridded paper, some beyond my current skill level, some dead simple blanks for later kilnwork, and some simply nonsensical tableaux of glass vessels and invented equipment. Click to enlarge.

P.S., today is Father's is one of my favorite pictures of the pops, looking through a glass. He hates it, but I think it's wonderful, so...sorry, dad!

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....)