I installed this commission with great joy yesterday afternoon. When I visited my client's home the first time to discuss preferences and understand the need for the privacy screen, she asked if I would like a cup of tea. In her kitchen, on the counter, was a 'The Botanist' bottle which she uses as a water bottle. The bottle lists all of the latin names of the flowers that are used to make this gin. It turns out she is a botanist and we share an appreciation of fine gin. I already had the two sides of that bottle kiln-flattened in my stock so we agreed to integrate them into the panel. I added two crystal wine glass bases and one kiln-flattened bowl. The textures selected suggest botanical themes of flowers, tree bark, rain, seeds, running water and the wind. This piece is named 'dom Botanicorum' which is Latin for 'For The Botanist'.
More insight into my creative process. I have made a few panels in the past with Northern Lights and with bears but I really wanted to combine them, and to bring in an inukshuk. Plan A was to make one panel but it did not feel right - the bear felt just too close to the inukshuk to me and the inukshuk almost looked like it was running. Plan B became two separate panels that can hang as a pair, with some space in between or separately. It also incorporated a more solid base for the inukshuk, emerging from the ice. The snowy weather in Ottawa last week meant no sunshine to bring out the full intensity of the colour in the flashes of light, but there will sunshine one day soon (after I return from Halifax). The camera does not show the same level of detail of the inukshuk that I can see, even from a distance, with the naked eye. The stones for the Inukshuk were gathered from the shores of Nova Scotia. These two pieces will be on display at the Navan Fine Arts show April 27 and 28.
Today's weather meant that while I was busy inside creating this cheeky little flower, nature was busy outside creating temporary art in my back yard and on the roof over the garage, just outside my workshop window. I seem to have a tendency to create a lot of flowers in the coldest part of winter. I truly enjoy winter .... I think I just miss the flowers!
Another example of my creative process. I wanted to improve on a design I made last fall which had a vase holding three flowers, all done with clear textures. This time, I was determined to work out the outside dimensions first. This would allow me to match the flow of the design in the architectural glass I was using to frame the piece. When I laid it out on the table, it quickly became obvious that the proposed frame was far too thick for a long, narrow piece, and that the pale-colored vase was actually the same glass as the frame -too matchy, matchy! I also decided that the use of coloured wine glass bases was not going to work because they were all the same size. So I cut the strips in half. Then I gave myself permission to cut up a cobalt blue, hand-etched plate I had flatttened at least three years ago, and to use three of my Scottish wine glass bases. I used nearly the last of my bits of green-on-green fractured streamer for the stems and leaves - and voilà - Salutations!
The Creative Process. I rarely work from drawings, even from concept sketches. On a quiet day at the gallery, I did sketch out a concept for my amethyst rose which included the traditional curved lines and leaves that accompany this flower, along with some structured Rennie Macintosh grids and stretched rectangles. By time the glass hit the work table, the leaves were gone and I moved the position of the rose to incorporate the pointed edges into the design without any extra cut lines.
Happy New Year! I am so happy to be getting more time in my workshop - creating these pieces has been a lot of fun. The first two (Sisters 1 and 2) are part of my Heritage Series and were created using two larger bowls. The blue one was a real treasure - the first coloured bowl in this pattern that I have found in over three years of collecting. Both bowls (predictably) cracked in the soldering process. As Lenard Cohen said ' there is a crack, that's where the light comes in'. The amethyst rose was a challenge I set for myself for the new year. I took a very traditional bevel kit and created my own background, using fractured streamer to introduce leaf colours in an abstract manner. Two small camera lenses, joined in a loop, are designed to catch the eye and balance the dominant rose. The weatherman is predicting stormy weather overnight so I have a good excuse to spend the day in my workshop again tomorrow!
Yes, there has been a gap, but I have been busy. After a trip to Edmonton to visit with Alex, and the joyous experience of renovations in our basement, I spent today changing glass in the windows at Il Primo Restaruant on Preston Street in Ottawa, and in the windows at Galerie Old Chelsea. The glorious sunshine was welcome and almost made me forget how cold it was outside. I still have a lot of catching up to do over the next couple of weeks - I am really looking forward to some uninterrupted studio time!
This is my latest cityscape, called 'The Brewery District'. It has a few bits of heritage glass, the words from the front and side of a Gordon's gin bottle, and some modern, architectural glass. This will be available for sale soon at the Galerie Old Chelsea. I have only one more of these flat stands and a recently-acquired selection of wording from older ink and pharmaceutical bottles just waiting to jump into the picture....I just need more time in my studio!
Getting back into the groove! My workshop has been a beehive of activity this week. I had a 3.5 hour soldering session this morning, followed by another two hours this afternoon applying patina and cleaning three of these pieces. I also realize there is an optical illusion created when I hang one piece from the chain which is about three inches from the window, and let the second piece lean into the window. The top angel is actually smaller than the bottom angel, but appears larger. I will have to work on that!