Monday, June 18, 2012

Glass Art

There is a very quaint and cozy village called Maitland, located at the mouth of the Shubenacadie River and it is filled with history, artistic pride and character.  There is a wonderful shop there called the Studio Glass.  It is filled with beautiful and original art made with glass, as well as trinkets, jewelry, fabulous and funny fish, birds, flowers and snowflakes.. all created out of glass.

The other really really cool thing they do there is there have a workshop you can attend just by calling or sometimes just showing up.  Its in the same building at the store and its a big wide open room filled with light.. and a big table filled with what they call "Junk Glass" or "Junk-de-Verre".
Junk Glass. 
You are given your choice of glass shape (Square, round, diamond shape, long and narrow.... and then you are taught how to move the glass around using a plastic stick, brush scraps back into the pile using a little brush, how to trim off little corners and smooth the shapes with these cool glass cutting pliers.
And then... you just design what ever you want.  Flowers, abstract, sunbursts, words... what ever your imagination will allow you to create.  The glass is sharp edged and dull in colour but once it is fired, it fuses to a smooth soft edge, and spectacular colours.

Some ideas which hang in the window of the workshop

Robin working at the table, selecting her choice pieces of blue glass
Our Teacher is Christine.  She sat with us and spent a rainy
afternoon chatting about kayaking, dogs and how beautiful
Maitland is, year round!

I just don't have an artistic mind.  I am more concrete.  I see objects for what they are... a flower is a flower.  So, I started pulling glass in shades of yellow and brown, I would make a sunflower.  Robin, who always sees colour, shades and depth before she even sees the picture began pulling blues and whites... she was making.. "the ocean".
So, for the next hour... we danced through the shards of glass, pulling odd shapes and perfect shades.  We moved the pieces all over the glass and all around our work area.  It was very easy to find every shape and shade you can possibly imagine in that huge pile of glass.
Robin questioned Christine on things like... what colour will this colour end up like once its fired.  She asked about relationship to each other and what would this texture end up like.  I merely sat at my spot and moved glass around and marvelled at how NOT artistic I am!

Once you have your picture just how you like it, you have to take it apart and put it back together using a little dab of white glue on the back of each piece.  Christine cautioned us on using too much as it burns in the kiln and leaves scars if you use too much.  thankfully, I had my phone and was able to take a picture of each of our unglued creations before I took mine apart.  I KNOW I would need to refer back to it as I put the layers back together.
Robin had a vision so it was easier for her to recreate her art, because she tweaked it here and there as she re built.  Mine, on the other hand needed to look like a flower again, or the game would be lost!

Once they were glued in place, we got to select a hanger that gets fused to the top and then Christine brought our creations to the kiln.  She would fire them overnight for us, along with several others that were made int he morning by a group of "Red Hat" ladies.  We walked with her as she brought them to the kiln and we both showered her with questions about how she made this or that as we walked past their workbenches.  She gave us a demo on how she makes a "simple" bird with a wing.  She showed us all the tools and some tricks.  I was amazed and impressed and then we spent over a half hour just wondering around the store looking at all the amazing pieces and wondering how they were made.
We could barely contain ourselves in anticipation of what our fired window art would look like when we picked them up the next day. (We paddled the Shubie the next day and BARELY got to the shop on time to pick them up!)

Robins waves... and amazingly, there are three orange/red kayaks and one blue one...  bobbing in the waves... exactly what happened when the four of us spent the afternoon "Shooting the Shubie"!

My Sunflower, with a little dragonfly friend and my signature Lady Bug!  You can be sure, I will go back again. Actually, I have a date booked already to bring Kelly, Gilli and Aubrey to work on their very own creations!


GailM. said...

That looks like so much fun. I wish I was closer. I'd take the kids.

Anonymous said...

They are both gorgeous....what a fun thing to do....even I would like that...and I am not creative in any way. You are such a talented lady...

Your diamondtologist friend

Jessica said...

Looks pretty artistic to me, Donna! Beautiful art!

Michelle Matheson said...

Amazing! What a beautiful craft!! I want to try it out!

Anonymous said...

Don't you ever say you're not artistic again! KofO