Summer Apprenticeship 1.6.2011-31.7.2011: Vetrate Artistiche Toscane, Siena Italy

I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to participate in a two month architectural glass apprenticeship program at the Vetrate Artistiche Toscane in Siena. From what I understand, we will be studying many aspects of architectural glass, but specifically glass painting and techniques used in leaded work. We will also be taught the specifics of installing a piece, and all the required measuring/technical aspects of supporting a piece, which I'm really excited about.

I am keeping a journal-like daily account of my time in Siena, in the studio and personal experience, which you can access HERE

Photos, updates, and sketchbook work to come.


Consequences of Violence: Francois Robert

Francois Robert is a Swiss born photographer who now works primarily in the United States and is widely recognized both for his commercial and fine art photography. I stumbled upon this series of his, entitled "Stop The Violence" quite some time ago, but wasn't aware that he was the artist. The series comprises photos of real human bones arranged in symbols representative of causes of violence and war.


Supporting Studies: Life Drawing

This year we've had life drawing every Wednesday from 9am-3pm... a small selection of my life drawings from the year:

Conte on brown paper - 10 minutes

HB pencil, .3 black pen, white gel pen on stone paper - 35 minutes

HB pencil, .1 and .3 black pen on brown paper - 1 hour

HB pencil, .1,.3,.8 black pen, white gel pen, ink on stone paper - 1 hour

HB pencil, .1,.3,.8 black pen, white gel pen, ink on stone paper - 30 Minutes

.1, .3 black pen, black marker, white gel pen on black tracing paper - 40 minutes


Personal Project: Rendering in Modo

Thanks again to Alan Horsley who (in addition to doing the washing up) has upgraded my 3D rendering software to Modo 501. It's definitely going to take a while to familiarise myself to the fullest extent with the package, but in the meantime at Alan's urging, I've been all sorts of studious doing the tutorials. The results:

glass chaise longue


Precision Paper: Kako Ueda

I just stumbled across the incredible cut paper work of Kako Ueda today - absolutely stunning:


Ueda's work reminds me of Peter Callesen's equally amazing cut paperwork:



Personal Project: Rendering my Line Drawings in Cheetah

Massive thanks to Alan Horsley who introduced me to, and showed me how to use Cheetah - a 3D rendering program for Macs. I've been attempting to transform a few of my line drawings into 3D glass "windows/lightboxes":

Original drawing (marker and pen):

Render in Cheetah: (arched window, candles, and "granite" floor)


Original drawing (marker and pen):

Render in Cheetah: (lightbox and pot)


Original drawing (ink and pen):

Render in Cheetah: (window in wall and gems)


Glass №6: Homage to a Painter - Blowing With Colour 24.03.11 to 15.04.11

Project Brief: The project asks you to design and make (or help to make) at least one glass vessel that pays homage to a painter of your choice.
From investigative research into a small selection of both historical and contemporary painters, choose one whose work you find particularly inspiring. The glass vessel should reflect your response to the work. This could be echoed in very fluid applications of applied of colour or fine colour line 'drawn' onto the surface or watercolour 'splashes' of thinly blown picked up colour shard. It might be as simple as a combination of colours that are characteristic of that artist. It could even be gestural line that is suggestive of the painter's hand. The shape of the vessel should also contribute to the feeling of the piece - whether strong and angular, soft and feminine etc...
You may have to make more than one design proposal before you find one that, through consultation, might be realistically achievable in the workshop.
Part of your research for this project should be to discover contemporary glass artists who use hot glass colour techniques and whose work you particularly admire. Neues Glas magazine and back copies which are held in the library are very valuable as a resource.

Project Justification: The project aims to focus attention on the theme of colour and the many and varied ways it can be used in glass blowing. It will extend your knowledge of the discipline and make you able to be much more independent in the hot glass workshop and increasingly adventurous with your ideas.
Your presentation should include a research book that shows your investigation into historical and contemporary painters and contemporary glassmakers. You will have technical notes and sketchbook development of your ideas for design proposals - there should be at least 3 of these ideas brought to a finished proposal on paper. All practical experiments and at least one finished work in glass.


Initial Thoughts: I started looking at two entirely different groups of painters who use colour in completely different ways: my favourite portrait painters (Eakins, Zorn, Repin, Sargent), and my favourite two painters from my native Arizona (Maktima, Dawangyumpetwa).

Thomas Eakins - The Thinker

Anders Zorn - Self-Portrait in a Wolfskin

Ilya Efimovich Repin - Vsevolod Mikhailovich Garshin

John Singer Sargent - Douglas Haig

Joe Maktima - Aurora Borealis

David Dawangyumptewa - Water Prayers

Ultimately, I wanted to create two separate pieces - one would be inspired by the first group of more traditional painters, and the second would be inspired by the painters who's work I've grown up around. My "traditional" piece would use a solid and neutral rod colour with a small pop of bright colour (most likely frit) and be a tallish vase shape, while my "home" piece would have a bright base colour (either rod or frit), be overlaid with a black design, and have the shape of a traditional Hopi pot.


From my Sketchbook:


For the project, I created my "traditional" piece as I had expected - by blowing a base of neutral rod colour and picking up a small pop of bright red stringer remnants. I created my "home" piece by blowing and cold working a blank - a small bubble that I would later reheat, pick up, and blow. My blank was created by blowing a small bubble with a base of orange rod colour, gathering a small amount of clear glass over it, and then coating that gather heavily with black frit colour. After the bubble had annealed, I cut a design into it using a diamond wheel.

My finished blank after cold working/cutting


Final Pieces:

My blown blank, inspired by Hopi pots (the "home" piece)

a blown "vase", using rod and stringer remnant colour (the "traditional" piece)


Other pieces:

Another carved blank