Thursday, 6 May 2010
Its been the usual full week. We've been press-ganged into agreeing to be in Budapest for Sziget - the apartment is already booked, but we may have a handy solution (watch this space..) My parents have been in Turkey to get the villas put in order for the season ahead, leaving me free to cope with the stresses of the International Baccalaureate and 2 imminent sets of GCSE exams. Mother was nearly arrested on the way home (her art pastels apparently looked like gelignite) and my son rang last night to say he'd got lost in the Alps on Monday. Did he realise he was lost? "Ummm....well, I wasn't really sure...."
All this has left plenty of time for a bit of glassy lateral thinking. I've been struggling with goddesses and the human form in general. Waist too high, stomach around the knees, thick waist, sagging backside, stick insect, lopsided hips. You name it and I've produced it in glass. Then I realised - if you can't make goddesses with great features, hide them and make a mermaid! The tail covers a multitude of sins....and even looks quite tasteful.
I've also had a go at a couple of wineglass stems and some jellyfish marbles. The jellies are fun and very flirty with the camera. One look at the lens and they appear to shake their tentacles and put their best face on. Great for showing off! They are also a fascinating example of how colour and glass movement at different temperatures can be used to advantage. To make a jellyfish, take a clear cane striped with 'tentacles', put a blob of colour at the tip and then plunge into a glob of molten clear glass. The coloured tip travels through the hot glass, melting as it goes. As it meets cooler glass towards the back of the glob, it spreads to form the jellyfish body, leaving the 'tentacles' waving behind it. My problem has been that pushing this body in leaves a divot behind it that can trap air. It has taken a bit of playing with thicknesses of cane and the heat of the glob to get a good balance and overcome this.
The wine glasses are going to take longer to get right, not least because it isn't easy to get hold of borosilicate blanks, and I can't blow glass that well. The results are fun and I have loads of ideas, from mermaids to Henry Moore, tattoos and (of course) eyeballs.
As usual, glass is a never-ending journey, and as soon as one problem (sagging waists or the air in a jellyfish) is solved, the next temptation beckons, bringing a new set of challenges.