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Monday, 20 October 2014

(Get your kicks on) Route 66!

I have been working on a commission for my cousin Karen, who took her family across the United States along the famous Route 66. Karen wanted a version of the route sign in leaded glass. I downloaded a photo and manipulated it so that I had a high contrast print that could then be used to create the "cartoon". The cartoon is an accurate drawing of the panel, which indicates the glass and lead sections.

I also had to tighten up the lettering as the characters had started to fill and I wanted to sharpen up the typography. So I was now able to paste this onto the finished cartoon.

I decided that I wanted the lettering on the shield to be "reversed-out" of colour, so that the lettering would be clear glass. I thought that powdered and granulated glass (frit) would emphasis the weatherbeaten aesthetic that are a feature of these rusting signs. I used Spectrum 96 compatible fusers glass for the clear glass base and the "grit".

 I cut out the lettering from a copy of the cartoon and stuck them in position with double-sided tape. I could then apply fuser's glue and sprinkle the powder and granules onto the sheet of clear Spectrum 96. On the lower panel of the shield I used powdered frit and then poured more fuser's glue and let it run to give the impression of spray paint graffiti.

Once the glue had dried then the lettering was pealed away from the clear glass bass and fired in a kiln. Unfortunately the firing proved to be problematic as bubbles were formed on the lower panel, causing the lettering to distort. I then decided to follow the distorted shape of the lettering, again to emphasis the shabby aesthetic. 
Despite spending quite a bit of money on my Dremel tool, the attachments were not suitable for glass so I ended up using the tips of diamond files to hand etch the lettering.

I was able to complete the panel despite the issue with the glass bubbling in the kiln and the subsequent distortion of the lettering.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Getting my house in order

Since leaving Uni I have been organising my studio/workshop that I have set up in the small bedroom. I already had my dad's homemade light box, which is useful for flat glass and creating presentation material.

I needed somewhere to set up a 'cold working" area. Grinding, polishing and engraving with glass requires the necessary tools and that vital element, water. I set up a bench using a couple of "A" frames and a board, and then set about figuring out a water supply. I didn't want to plumb in a water supply but I found a camping water container with a tap and I fixed a hook into the wall and hung the water container from it. However the weight of the water pulled the container out of shape. I needed to find something to hold the container securely. I found a small wooden fishing stool, which had been used as a bedside table in the guest room, and that was attached to the hook and the container sat comfortably on the opened seat.

The next thing was to attach a hose so that the water could be directed towards the working area. I got  clear plastic hose and ear defenders and pushed the hose through one of the ear plugs. This was plugged into the tap of the container perfectly without any leaks. I am able to control the amount of water for any cold working that I need to do.

The bench has a grinder, a Dremel multi-tool, a light source, a large magnifying glass and various grits and polishes for hand lapping.

Unfortunately I am now unable to close the studio door, but at last I can now experiment with the Dremel.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Close but no Cigler!

Unfortunately I did not get the apprenticeship with Colin Reid, however he liked my work and thought my proposal would be interesting to make. Despite missing out, I feel honoured to have been shortlisted.

I developed my idea of the lemon floodlights and each "lamp" would comprise of two sections, an inner and outer skin. The inner inner section would absorb and reflect the light and the outer skin would be more opaque, with the fruit's texture either cast or printed on the surface.

Exploded view of a lemon lamp

Various inner sections

Outer "skin" section

I was looking at floodlights for inspiration for another body of work. floodlights are connected with light, albeit artificial light. As my practice investigates the relationship with glass and light, I sketched a few ideas using floodlights for the "Fresh Air 2015 Apprenticeship". During this I noticed that the lamps that I was sketching were beginning to look like lemons. I remember seeing a lemon being used as a battery to illuminate a light bulb, so the relationship between lamps and lemons will be slightly subverted with the lemon as the lamp and natural light as the source.  

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Colin Reid!

On a a brighter note, I have an interview for "The Fresh Air Glass Apprenticeship Scheme 2015" where the prize is an apprenticeship with Colin Reid no less. I've been invited for an interview and to do a presentation.

My proposal piece which will be made during the apprenticeship with Colin.

I remember many years ago watching a lemon being used as a battery to illuminate a light bulb. So I am making a floodlight gantry from glass and steel, with glass lemons as the lights.
 If I get selected the finished piece will be exhibited at Fresh Air 2015.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Societies and Galleries

 I was approached at New Designers and after an interview where we discussed my work, and the subsequent application and assessment report, I have just been notified that I have been accepted as a Licentiate of the Society of Designer Craftsmen.

Also I will be exhibiting my latest body of work at the Artizan Gallery in Torquay during the Devon Open Studios event from 6th to the 21st of September.

Get your knits out for the lads! Are the Ultras the New Craftivists

My dissertation titled, Get Your Knits Out for the Lads! Are the Ultras the New Craftivists, is now available as a hard copy or e-book.


Video of the Holmesdale Fanatics (HF05) of Crystal Palace FC preparing a display for their home match against Manchester United
Published on Feb 22, 2014
HF05 Ultras CPFC


This dissertation proposes that groups of particularly passionate football fans are a form of craft community. The ultras create extravagant displays which enhance their performances during football matches. Much attention has been paid to hooliganism and football violence, but very little has been written about the positive and creative aspects of football fandom.
This paper asks if the ultras are a community of practice. They are compared with the craftivists, and the notion of home is discussed within the context of football and the re-evaluation of private spaces. The political nature of the ultras is considered and the concept of the political is addressed, with reference to Chantal Mouffes insights into the failure of politics to embrace the political and the importance of antagonism in political discourse.
The performative nature of the ultras raises the question whether this can be considered artistic practice, in the light of Grant Kestors discussion of dialogical aesthetics and the role of dialogue-based artistic interventions.
The conclusions drawn from this study suggest that the ultras are a community of practice through expressing a shared repertoire and through the organisation of public events. The artistic practices of the ultras are evident but difficult to define. The manner in which the ultras support their club and the criticisms they direct towards the authorities contradict their apolitical position; Kestors dialogical aesthetics, particularly the role of empathy, could be used to heal the rift between the ultras and the football associations. 

Monday, 30 June 2014

Post-New Designers

An interesting and successful week at New Designers. I met some fantastic glass artists who also graduate this year. It was also an honour to present my work to the judges of the Contemporary Glass Society. Although I did not win any prizes, David Reekie sent me a lovely e-mail saying how much the judges liked my work. I was also invited to apply for membership of the Society of Designer Craftsmen and to cap it all I have been invited to apply for next year's New Designers, "One Year On".
Oh and another thing, I achieved a 1st class honours degree!