Thursday, 28 February 2013

Finding my way

Isn't it funny how trying just one thing can suddenly make everything fall into place? And about time too you might say, as I am very nearly at the end of my degree course.

In the first year of the course I fell in love with collagraph printing. Creating the plates; the way the ink echoed the texture of the plate and the unpredictability of the print itself; the variations in the strength of the marks; everything.

Ever since then I have, sometimes consciously and sometimes not, been trying to replicate that effect in glass.

First I tried copying the images I had created from the collagraphs and screenprinting them onto the glass.  That worked, up to a point, but for me the screenprinting process meant that the images lost the essential sense of texture that they had as prints on paper.  They were just too definite, too clean.


Then I tried creating plaster moulds in the same way that I create collagraph plates and casting the glass in these moulds.
So far the results of this have been somewhat unpredictable. I dare say if I pursue it, eventually I will get it to work as I want, but it is a time consuming process, and also one which uses a lot of expensive glass frit.  I have also realised that to do this I will have to get used to using more robust materials to create my textures; both to stand up to the mould making process and to create definite enough marks on the glass; and I'm not sure that I want to change my materials so much.

But then the other day I had one of those 'I haven't tried that' moments and these little printed strips were the result.

They may not look much but I am very excited about them.  The print on the back of the glass was taken from one of my collagraph prints; the glass was laid on top of it in the kiln and has 'picked up' the image, but in a much more interesting and sketchy way than a direct screenprint.  There is just enough texture on the back of the glass; I can see endless possibilities in these two little strips of glass...

Saturday, 16 February 2013


I've been waiting until I could take better photographs of these pieces because they really need the sun, and lately the sun shining and my being around with the camera have not happened at the same time.  So I've given up waiting and here they are.

Living where I do, I have been looking again at the textures and light on the estuary, the edge of the land and water.  And working with glass I have been fascinated by the play of light on the edges (which is why I was waiting for the sun for the best effect.)

Edges: rust, sea glass, glass, stitch (detail)

I've combined the glass with paper, either rusted or embossed, and, of course, stitched it all together.  I can't seem to get out of the habit of sewing things to paper!

Edges: embossed paper, glass, stitch (detail)

Edges: embossed paper, glass, stitch

This one has paper embossed with fishing line from a tangle I picked up on the shore.

Edges: embossed paper, glass, stitch

And this one, I rusted the paper using a piece of scrap metal collected a little way up river.

Edges: rust, glass, stitch

I spent quite a while wondering whether these pieces were perhaps too 'minimal' and worrying that perhaps they looked as if I hadn't done anything much.  But then I find that I tend to start off with a busier design and gradually edit it down to something far more restrained; stopping at the right point is the skill I suppose.  I think I've got it right...

Edges: embossed paper, glass, stitch . Edges: rust, glass, stitch


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