A couple weeks ago I was perusing the shelves at the Bullseye Resource Center Santa Fe, when a sheet of blue glass caught my eye. Its rich, deep teal pulled me right in; I could dive into this piece of glass and take a swim. “Steel Blue Opalescent” read the label, and I recalled that name from one of the workshops I had taken.

We were experimenting with various textures of glass frit, to see how they changed after firing. Steel Blue Opal was the star of the show. Unlike any other of the glass we worked with, this frit would fire out to be either teal blue or metallic silver, depending on the firing temperature and whether the frit was exposed to air or covered by other material. How could this be? read more

New Mexico's vibrant landscape inspired my plate design.

Late summer’s monsoon rains transform the arid landscape of New Mexico into a riot of wildflowers. Billows of golden chamisa make a perfect complement to purple asters, and everywhere there are sunflowers. This year’s display has been particularly rich, as the desert received record-breaking rainfall over the last few weeks. I was inspired to use the palette of this early autumn show in my newest glass project. Using the Make It: Inline Plate project, I interpreted this glorious landscape into something that would be around well after the flowers all faded. read more

Editor’s note: Guest blogger Lois Manno is a New Mexico-based writer, artist, and illustrator. She’s also a newcomer to kiln-glass who’s agreed share some of her adventures in her new medium here. She blogs about her art and other adventures – including cave exploration – at loismanno.com.

Oh man, I’m in it now. After having such a great time with the two Bullseye workshops I’ve taken, I thought I’d be satisfied attending the Open Studio sessions to work on pieces and get them fired. It was a nice experience, being in the studio at Bullseye Resource Center Santa Fe, doing my thing while surrounded by other artists working on their projects. I left my pieces in one of the kilns and picked them up a couple of days later. The only problem was that I was going to have to wait a couple of weeks for the next Open Studio. Unacceptable. I had become so hooked on the thrill of cracking a just-cooled kiln to see the goodies inside that I couldn’t imagine having to wait so long between firings. The solution? A kiln of my very own.

BenchTop-16 kiln

My new toy.

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I like Cynthia Morgan a lot. Not the least of reasons is that she frequently does what I think I need to be doing before I do it. So it was today.

Last Friday afternoon Dan and I had dashed up to Seattle for the annual Pilchuck auction. It was everything it always is: brilliant, energetic, a snapshot of the glass art scene caught in a much too fast moment one Fall evening each year.

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I’ve watched Scottish-based artist Amanda Simmons’ work for the last few years as she developed her practice in kilnformed glass. Her singular style, exquisite color choices and the coherency of her line are unmistakable – as they obviously were to the judges who presented her The Gold Award at ORIGIN 2010: The London Craft Fair.

“London, September 29, 2010:  Amanda Simmons, based in Corsock in Dumfries and Galloway, has taken first prize in the Crafts Council and UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) Export award 2010. Over 200 contemporary craft makers exhibiting at this year’s Origin show were eligible to apply. This award provides the successful applicant with the opportunity to explore a chosen overseas market and get bespoke export advice from a personal International Trade Advisor.

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The difference between a blog and Facebook?

On a blog, no one talks to you. Ask a question? Good luck. On Facebook everyone is so busy yabbering that your questions are drowned out by all the other chatter. But more often than not, people respond. Silly stuff sometimes. But at least you’re heard.

It’s kind of like speaking on stage compared to blathering in the local pub. And with Facebook you don’t really need a prepared speech. Anything seems to fly.

Get AWAY from me with that stupid camera – go embarrass some of your human friends!

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I know, I know. Late again.

My American summer got buried in art fairs, our new Santa Fe resource center and just keeping my head above the flood waters.

I’ve just landed again in the Northern Highlands of Scotland – after an inspiring visit to the International Festival of Glass in Stourbridge – and elated to be back in the place where I and 13 artists left our hearts earlier this summer.

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It’s hard to turn around in northern Scotland without bumping into a church. They seem – to me at least – nearly as ubiquitous as the sheep. This is probably due to the numerous religious schisms that resulted in denominations of Catholic, Presbyterian, Free Church, United Free, Wee Free and even Wee Wee Free erecting or maintaining an increasing number of places of worship for an ever-decreasing population.

To be honest, I’m not sure which faith St Mary’s represented. Like so many churches in the area today, it is derelict, despite the fact that it sits prominently on the main street of Lybster village and quite close to the studios of North Lands Creative Glass.

Like many decommissioned church properties, its gutted shell was sold in recent years, but due to extreme costs, not yet refurbished. This has not stopped years of artists at North Lands from exploring its bones and leaving their delicate marks on its mysterious interior.

Like Harbour House, St Mary’s is a testament to the indomitable spirit of a place that, while tumbling down, still has the power to lift souls.

This June some of those souls looked at St Mary’s, as they did Harbour House, with an eye to “kiln-glass in the built environment”. Their visions ranged from topographic renderings to site-specific sound and light installations to adventuresome plots for community-building, all anchored in the conviction that art – and glass as an especially evocative medium – can reconnect the lost threads of time and place.

NEXT: The Artists-in-Residence

The traditional houses of northeast Scotland are typically stone, intensely practical, and hauntingly lonely. “Harbour House” is almost iconic in its reflection of the style, a simple, squat, double-gabled building with chimneys on both ends and symmetrical window/door placement on the front that sometimes gives the lime-washed houses a Friendly Ghost face.

That this particular house is perched so tenuously on the steep hill above the village harbour adds power to the metaphor. There is a precariousness to life in this place. A building like Harbour House has survived – for various reasons. Many others in the area have not.

That Parrish and Klein selected Harbour House as one of the two case studies for this residency insured that the participants would have rich material to mine as they considered the place of kiln-glass in the built environment.

And mine they would. But Harbour House was just one way in.

Next: The Other.

If I left the impression with my last post that receiving art is only about crates, delivery receipts, photography, data entry, and insurance claims, it was only a small part of the story. At the bottom of every one of these incoming boxes is an opportunity to see the world through an individual artist’s eyes.

Our Registrar rises from the Bed of the Undead to talk about the e-merge 2010 entries he’s seen so far.

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