The Process: Nancy Donnelly Creates Baptismal Font

As part of the ongoing series titled “The Process” the Washington Glass School blog focuses on the methodology of an artist or technique. Today, Nancy Donnelly gives an in-depth look at a glass artwork commission she has recently completed for the Lewinsville Presbyterian Church in McLean, VA. Have a look as she outlines how she made the fused glass central baptismal font for the church.

For this community, baptism is the central rite. Nancy describes what they were looking for in art glass: “They wanted to see the water in action…they wanted a big bowl, nice shallow curve so the water would be scoopable, clear glass with a wavelet pattern in blues, darker in the center and fading toward the rim.”  The font was to be situated in the center of the space, located in a stand that would reveal the water to the congregation.

Nancy made a variety of bowls.

Said Nancy, “I’ve made many glass bowls, but none that big. I knew there would be a number of samples made until I got it right and could present the best one.” Nancy made a number of fused glass test pieces in the Washington Glass Studio. 
Nancy was concerned about how the colors looked and how the edges would be finished, as well as how deep a bowl profile was needed. 

Test 3 – issues arose on how the glass edges could grab the sides of the molds as it moved down.

Nancy said of her test process, “I made glass sandwiches, (colored frit fused between two sheets of glass). I knew this method could be risky, as bubbles could form as the trapped air is locked between the sheets of glass as the glass melts. Bubbles are part of glass, and my worry was, how big is too big?

Nancy also wanted to emphasize the feeling of rippling water. “In the first go, my wavelets looked like little upside-down drawings of seagulls. The second try I got a lot of big bubbles at the rim. On the third one, I tried avoided bubbles by filling in with clear frit, which did not turn out well!” she explained. In the final glass baptismal font, the aqua colors of the frit have a nice, soft undulating texture.

Senior Pastor Deborah McKinley at the Baptismal Font

The glass baptismal was completed and installed in time for the Easter holiday, and the glass was well received by the Lewinsville congregation. Well done, Nancy!

The Process: Setting Up A Show

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Set-up and takedown of a big art fair is a daunting task – and not all glitterati, paparazzi and Illuminati. Although visitors to the large shows only experience the special exhibitions and lectures, a lot goes on before and after the show. SOFA CHICAGOreturned to Chicago’s Navy Pier in early November, 2012, and the WGS artists participating in the exhibit (Tim Tate, Michael Janis and Allegra Marquart) uploaded photos of the process. Much of the process shown below is centered around the Maurine Littleton Gallery space.

Driving the work for Washington’ DC’s Maurine Littleton Gallery to Chicagois artist Drew Graham. Besides being a mixed media artist, Drew works for the gallery, and is one of its featured artists.

 Navy Pier – jutting out into Lake Michigan has the central exhibition space ready for the exhibitors to set-up. The gallery team arrives early in the morning to begin the set-up.

Drew Graham pulls up the truck inside the event hall, and prepares to start unloading.

Glass artists John Littleton and Kate Vogel are already in the hall and begin to transport the artwork down to the booth space.

Gallery owner Maurine Littleton reviews the booth space and the layout of the walls and electrical. The design of the space and the location of each work was planned weeks previous to arrival in Chicago, with lighting and electrical planned in advance. Some artwork was already delivered to the space. It turned out that some of the walls needed to be re-positioned, and artwork installation worked around those areas. Items such as pedestals, tools, chairs, special lighting, storage shelving, printer, artwork brochures/info, signage, etc and all the necessary components had been packed onto the truck and now must be unpacked and sorted.

John Littleton at work uncrating artwork and preparing the display of many of the works in the booth.

Other galleries are installing artwork – here, Heller Gallery installs Norman Mooney’s cast glass stars. 

Each glass artwork piece is unboxed and carefully installed.

The set-up time is a great time to catch up with other artist friends – Laura Donefer and Tim Tate share a hug.

The Littleton Gallery space is shaping up, pedestals are placed for the Harvey Littleton sculptures.

 The main aisle is busy with galleries preparing their booths.

SOFA Chicago is an international show, here Craft Scotland sets up their display.

The lighting is adjusted on the works, and the packing cleared. Kate Vogel checks for items that need adjustment before the fair opens. Time to shower and change into opening night attire.

Navy Pier just before the opening night gala, the quiet before the storm.

The Opening Night Premier begins with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Lino Tagliapietra is one of the glass greats that cut the opening ceremony ribbon.

The opening night is one to see and be seen. Very posh.

With the opening night premier over, the art expo is open to the public, who fill the hall.

The lectures and demos begin. Corning Museum has a mobile hot-shop that has a number of artists showing.

The art expo offers a great mix of art in all forms of media. For a Flickr gallery of SOFA glass works – click HERE.  For a link to local PBS television video segment on the art at the show – click HERE 

Christina Bothwell mixed media work at Habatat Galleries.

Miriam Di Fiore’s beautiful landscape sculpture.

John Littleton and Kate Vogel’s incredibly detailed cast sculptures.


The SOFA Art Fair ended on the Sunday night at 6:00 pm. With the announcement on the p.a. system that SOFA 2012 has ended, the lights go up and the public leaves the space. The reverse process of de-installation begins. Out come the boxes and crates.


Drew Graham takes a break from packing.

Martin Janecky’s blown glass sculptures in repose.

The unglamourous side of an art expo takes place when one has the least amount of energy. Coffee and energy drinks are needed.

The art expo provides the final meal for the show – Connie’s pizza.


With the show back in the truck and on its way back to Washington, DC, planning for the opening of the Washington Craft Show moves up the list of tasks to be completed. And after, shows at Art Miami/Art Basel. 

Dragging From He to She -or- "How did Michael become Micaela?"

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The wax figures show how our butchie-boy Michael Janis would look like as a girly-girl.

Washington Glass School blog outlines the transformation in “The Process” series.

Bit of back story  - Tim Tate is working on new cast glass sculptures and he often models the imagery on objects that he is compelled by. Tim had made a casting of Washington Glass School co-director Michael Janis previously, created to be an element in the collaborative work that he and Marc Petrovic had made in their work Seven Deadly Sins - as the top finial to the sin of  “Envy”.

Tim Tate & Marc Petrovic “Envy”

Tim wanted to create a cast glass, and he uses the lost wax process to form his elements. As the scale was similar, the original mold of Michael’s head was correct, but he needed to transform from dude to dudette. 

Michael Janis’ mugshot.

A wax mold of the original “Michael” undergoes ‘the chop’ to the has the extraneous bits – losing his soul patch and porkpie hat.

Original clay figure of Michael’s head.
Michael’s head as cast in green glass in  top finial to “Envy”

The hat is replaced with a perky new ‘do, the lips are made fuller, and Michael’s chiseled features softened.

The wax head is modified, with a new perky ‘do replacing the pork pie hat. And the soul patch is removed as the lips become softer and fuller.

The new wax Micaela is covered in plaster/silica and the wax melted out. The mold is then filled with glass and fired in the kiln. After annealing, the plaster is removed, and Micaela is revealed in her glory.

The new head in wax. Next, a plaster/silica slurry is poured around the head, hardened and the wax melted out. The form is then loaded into a kiln and glass melted into the void.
After firing, the molds are removed and the glass divested.
The new Michael… or is it Micaela?

 Other artists have dabbled in cross-dressing – notably:

Mick Jagger,  Andy Warhol,  Bugs Bunny

Ok – to finish out the blog post – The Kinks performing “Lola”

The Process – DC Shorts Film Awards

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The DC Shorts Film Festival – the largest short film event on the East Coast. This is the festival’s 9th year, they are showing 140 films from 27 nations — and expect hundreds of filmmakers and thousands of audience members to mix, mingle and explore the art of short cinema. The festival is the largest audience-driven collection of short films in the USA. The DC Shorts Film Festival turns the spotlight on truly independent short films, created by new and established filmmakers in an era when the art of filmmaking is opening to all. 

The Washington Glass Studio makes the glass awards given to the winners of the competition, and the steps to make the award are the subject of today’s posting.

 

Based on the film festival logo, the imagery is drawn in frit powder onto flat glass sheets.

 

The pattern made of glass powder is kiln-fired to the glass surface.

Rob Kincheloe sets up a precise angle within the kiln for the previously fired glass to slump over.

The slump drop of the glass creates one piece award that has the base integrated.

 

Audrey Wilson rubs enamel paint into the white kilncast film reels to bring out the texture of the glass.

 

The slumped awards are ready for the cast glass elements to be attached with UV glue.

The production of the awards fill the tables of the studio. The finished awards are boxed and mad ready for delivery to the festival HQ. 

When you go to the DC Film Festival gala award receptions – be sure to cheer for the awards themselves!

DC Shorts is a project of the DC Film Alliance. The DC Film Alliance serves and strengthens the media arts in the greater Washington DC region by serving as a bridge between the myriad of media arts organizations in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

The Process – Erwin Timmers Cast Glass Bottles

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From This:


To This:

artist: Erwin Timmers; materials: cast recycled glass


As part of the ongoing series titled ” The Process” that documents the methodology of an artist or technique – the work of Erwin Timmers is the feature of today’s pictorial.

Eco-artist Erwin Timmers creates artwork with environmental themes, and he works with materials that are diverted from the waste stream. As he prepares for the upcoming Smithsonian Craft Show, he invited us to have a look at how he starts the casting process as he creates his beautiful glass sculptures.

Working within his concepts of sustainable design and art, Erwin sourced glass from the US Probate Courthouse, in Greenbelt, MD for his artwork that was slated to end up in the trash dump.

Using plastic bottles cleared from the Anacostia River watershed (of which there was plenty to choose from), Erwin coats the bottles with a plaster/silica coating.

Using plastic bottles cleared from the Anacostia River watershed (of which there was plenty to choose from), Erwin coats the bottles with a plaster/silica coating.

Erwin then fires the molds upside down in the kiln, melting out the plastic bottles.


Erwin extracts the remains of the plastic bottles from the molds.

Erwin then takes the cleaned molds and sets them in a bed of sand inside the glass kiln.

Erwin prepares flower pots act as reservoirs to hold the recycled tempered glass during the firing process.


Erwin loads the cleaned glass into the reservoirs and sets the kiln.

After the firing, the glass is divested from the plaster and polished.

Look for Erwin’s artwork at the Smithsonian Craft Fair – April 19-22, 2012.

The Process: Setting Up a Museum Solo Exhibition

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As part of an ongoing series, we focus on the process of an event or artwork as the basis for the blog posting. Today, the blog posting is a two-fer where the photo documentation is both about Michael Janis’ creative process and info about Michael Janis’ solo show at Fuller Craft Museum, opening this Saturday, August 6, 2011.

The Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, Massachusetts

The lead time for a museum show is very long – the Fuller Craft Museum contacted Michael in 2009 requesting a solo show at the museum in 2011, so Michael has been planning some aspect of the work for well over a year and features twenty five of his glass artworks. This posting will focus on his site specific sculpture in the show – titled “Unpredictable Factors”.

To help visualize the space, images of previous exhibitions and a floor plan of the gallery space within the museum were sent to Michael to help plan out the show.



Floor Plan of Fuller Museum’s Tarlow Gallery



Marc Petrovic’s exhibition in Fuller’s Tarlow Gallery 2007.



Michael said that he wanted to create a large scale work for the museum show, and had focused on using one of the 8′ wide floor-to-ceiling window areas as the location, with the idea that the light and view beyond could be integrated into the work.


Concepts for the sculpture were sketched by Michael, and details of the steel work were outlined.



Sketches were integrated with photos of the gallery as the studies advanced.

Michael focused on the design with a central image sculpture and proceeded forward with creation of the other artwork pieces for the show. Working with noted metalsmith Chris Shea, the architectural metal work for the large sculpture was created.


Firing of separate layers of the components within the sculpture and the fitting to the metal framework took place in late spring of 2011.

In August, all 25 works by Michael Janis were crated and packed for shipping to the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton – about 20 miles south of Boston, Massachusetts.

Upon arrival at the Fuller Museum, the artwork is opened, inspected and cataloged by the Museum staff.



Fuller Registrar Donna Eleyi inspects the incoming work.



The condition of each piece is noted and the packing is documented. Here Donna Eleyi photographs the unpacking by Preparator Jason Ram.



The works are placed to allow for the arrangement by Fuller Museum curator Perry Price.



Installation of the steel framework for Michael Janis’ large sculpture “Unpredictable Factors” proceeds.



With completion of the wall mounting the artworks, the remaining tasks for the museum show are to install wall text for the show and artwork wall labels.

The exhibition opens Saturday, August 6, and there is a public reception August 7, from 2-5 pm. For more info on Michael’s lecture at the museum- click HERE.

Michael Janis: A Lighter Hand

August 6 – November 6, 2011

Reception Aug 7, 2011, 2-5pm