Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Plasmodemata model almost finished

Today I was working on carving, moulding all the imagery (Plasmodesmata and Azolla mainly) on the "plasmo" piece. Lots of progress shots to follow.

The tweezers I have never found a use for until today

Plasmodesmata cross section imagery (much magnified of course)

Azolla Element (oversize)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Reading inspirations and spring branches

At the moment I'm re-reading 'Silver Bough' by Lisa Tuttle. I'm fond of the book, I love the premise and many of the elements but some bit feel a little awkward. That said this IS a re-read.

As I was reading last night I had an image in glass pop up in my head... An apple branch covered in blossom with one large apple, carved in bas relief and cast in clear crystal (light falling on clear crystal looks quite silvery) 'Silver bough' weaves in much apple folk lore. One of my favourite motifs is the blossoming and fruiting branch, considered to be quite magical, the blossom signifies the enchanted quality of the fruit. A silver branch with crystal blossom and golden apples is Celtic motif.

Over here in Australia though, blossoms AND fruit on branches occurs quite frequently in home gardens. Our 'seasons' play havoc with the trees.

In Canberra, early Spring is over. All the Snowdrops, Daffodils and Jonquils have gone (perhaps not in floriade). Yesterday the Pinoak in our front garden finally popped some leaves (they were not there the day before).

Before I had this 'Silver bough' vision, I had been thinking of reworking the Maiden, Mother, Crone piece.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Casting pre cast glass

What went In the kiln today...

My test for casting pre-cast shapes. What is that called? IDK. To fill up the kiln I quickly did a blossom block. It was fun getting all the pieces to fit back in the mould. I'm really interested to see how this turns out. I might start making inclusions and pieceing like this a bit more.

Textures in Crystal

Out of the kiln today were some test pieces. I'm sampling some textures for imagery based on Plasmodesmata and Azolla. There are textures both raised and carved. I do  love Gaffer Crystal, though I wish it weren't so heavy (suppose it wouldn't be crystal then would it!).

My tests have decided me on using as usual, mostly incised carving balanced with a small amount of low relief sculpture. Light catches the two styles in very different ways but I'd like a bit of variety when the sculpture is viewd from the back. All up, I'm happy with the tests.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Today I have been working on some samples, for quick tests and on the overall shape of the final object.

overall shape from the back... this may change

Azolla foliage

plasmodesmata illustration

textures for cell components

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Embroidered Selkie Brooch Giveaway

Packing up an exhibition is from my perspective quite a reflective experience. Comparably there are none of the worries and nerves of installing, as you remove bits of hardware from walls and ceiling or clean up plinths you can calmly mull over what you could have done better or as you carefully wrap up sold pieces feel a warm glow through some of the triumphs. 

So last month as we (myself, Emilie Patteson and Alex Frasersmith) were packing up Depths & Shallows at M16 Artspace I was indeed having some moments of contemplation (probably as I was patching holes in the ceiling). Our exhibition had been, I felt, a success. The 3 of us worked together towards a show from proposal to opening night, through ideas and planning, curating and financing. A rewarding and productive learning experience.
Like many shows, our exhibition was a year in the planning and making, an event we had been aiming at for a substantial amount of time and afterwards seemed to be a perfect time to take stock of where I had got to, along this artists path. 

In particular I felt the incredible support given from the arts community and connections made through my art works. Friendship, assistance, opportunities and more all gladly given. Thank you.
So to celebrate the journey so far and to thank all of the people who have supported me along the way I’d like to give away 3 hand embroidered ‘Selkie’ brooches.

to be in the draw to Win one of these stitched Selkies by commenting on or sharing this post via your favoured social media platform with the name of your favourite folk or fairy tale.

Thank you and good luck!

'Selkie Brooch Give-away' is open internationally and closes midnight AEST Tuesday 30th September. I will randomly draw 3 names and contact the winners in order to send them their gift. Any questions don't hesitate to ask... Spike.

Casts come out of the kiln...

Opening a kiln after it has finished firing is always a little nerve wracking for me. So this morning as I unlcok the lid / door, I kind of hold my breath and mutter some sort of incantation / plea for everything to be alright. Today is a happy day! Everything is fine and some of the detail I was experimenting with has come out nicely. Phew. Now for a session of grinding and polishing.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Silhouette 24 September - 11 October

The Silhouette exhibition - 24 September - 11 October 2014 - hard copy invitations arrived today... yikes that means install is not far off!

The opening night is Wednesday 24th September from 6pm at Red Gallery, Fitzroy. I'm the only sculpture / glass exhibitor, so I think there are lots of paintings and print work on the walls... means I have the 'floor' all to myself!

For this show based on the silhouette, I wanted to do something different to the woodsy, foresty themes I like to do. I love 'urban fantasy' novels, so I have changed the foresty landscapes to fragments of city and surburban 'scapes' to contrast with  the Mythical beasties that will be silhouetted on the front.

Dougie and I had fun making up titles for the 4 pieces the other day... Griffin Lane, Pegasus Street, Rasselbock Corner and Cockatrice Crescent.

My shortened artist statement for the show:

My work draws on narratives found in folk and fairy tales, focusing on themes of transformation. These pieces are inspired by the fiction subgenre ‘urban-fantasy’; where folk tale creatures dwell in city streets, a glimmer of enchantment enters the everyday. The silhouette, like any good tale fires up the imagination by requiring us to flesh out the detail from our own store of memory and dream.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Glass and Science

Today the Glass & Science Glassworks Education Supplement was in the 'The Canberra Times'. I have an early piece of mine on the front cover and a writing piece on casting inside.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Urban fantasy mould making

The Canberra glass works had lots of school groups doing the tour today. Always fun to see such enthusiasm from the young ones, and amusing the attitude of indifference from the teens.

Amongst chatting to tours I made another piece and then made moulds. I love seeing the positive and negative space together.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Urban fantasy series and new clay

As well as trying out a new clay, which I like (thank you Ede Horton), I'm starting a new series of cast glass sculptures based on the genre fiction of 'urban fantasy'. Urban fantasy is a sub genre of fantasy fiction, where instead of magical lands in far away places, the enchantment occurs in contemporary, real-world, suburbs and cities. Some of my favourite authors in this genre are Charles de Lint, Kim Wilkins and Helene Wecker. The 1990's TV series 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' is a good example, though a different format.

Today I have been shaping the 'location' aspect, fragments of urban landscapes. The front of the pieces will have different mythical beasties in silhouette sandblasted on the front.  These are for a group exhibition in Melbourne, called Silhouettes.
for this piece I imagine a Griffin

A jackalope for this one
and a pegasus for this one

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Kate Forsyth 'spotlights' my art

Kate Forsyth is one of my favourite writers. Author of the Witches of Eileanan series, 'Bitter Greens', 'The Wild Girl' and most recently 'Dancing on Knives'. Kate's novels are inspired by myth, folklore and fairytale and she writes for adults and children. I loved the 'Witches of Eileanan', a full on fantasy tale on a different world. Full of faery creatures and dragons, enchantment, love, betrayal and magic.

My other favourite is 'Bitter Greens', a retelling of the Rapunzel tale. 'Bitter Greens' cleverly braids together 3 stories. I love the complexity of the storytelling. There are for me 3 levels of reality / realism / fiction:
One strand is historical romance, a real woman by the name of Charlotte Rose de la Force, we follow the events of her scandalous life in the court of Louis 14th that lead up to her writing "Persinette' the forerunner to the Grimms' Rapunzel. Another strand is the retelling of the Rapunzel tale, a fully rendered version of Charlotte Rose's literary fairy tale. Not real, but a tale already living in our popular culture consciousness. The third strand is pure imagination and tells us the story of the Sorceress who imprisons our Rapunzel. All the stories entwine naturally to create a rich, immersive read.

Kate has also recently published a book called 'Two Selkie tales from Scotland' with illustrator Fiona McDonald. How perfect!

So take a look at Kate's 'Spotlight' on my work here.