Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Three sheets to the wind - Experiments in glass design

I love outdoor glass and I like having it suspended in space, where it can catch great sun.
And great wind.

If you read my blog about the glass kites, you can see where that can become an issue.
But I was not willing to give in to the wind. I like the wind and wanted to make my art co-exist with it, rather than fight it.
I wanted designs that allowed the wind to cut through, rather than against the art.
A series of experimental panels seemed called for. I would make a number of large hanging panels, and vary the techniques and designs used.

I needed to learn about proper and sufficient anchoring. The openess of the design was the second issue. Just how open must it be, to avoid a fatal gust of wind?

The "Canyonlands" and "Prairie Clouds" series are designed as two triptychs, or series of three panels.

The simple designs are meant to give some similarity of line from panel to panel, while allowing me to use increasing swaths of open space in the designs as I moved from right to left.
You can see that they vary from just small slits, to openings about as big as your fist.

These catch a LOT of wind. They sway a bit in moderate breezes. But the way they flap in a 40+mph gale is not for the weak of heart.

Now it was time to explore the other end... just how open could I go?
The piece needs to hang together, in fair weather and foul. So I needed to learn more about just how to balance "strength and structure", with having an attractive design.
"The Tempest" and "Night Sentinels" were the far extreme.
"Night Sentinels" came first. and I had a small spot of separation in it after the first storm.
You can see it in the photo if you look closely.
Where the left-most red Sentinel touches the blue cyclone above it, the copper foil separated from the glass as the center of the piece saged 1/16".

"The Tempest" came next, and survived outside without mishap for over a year.

I had learned the outer limits of structural openness.

These two pieces remain among my personal favorites, and they served as "proof of concept" for an interesting series of outdoor glass panels.
They now are in the collection of my friend Tom McGowen in Memphis.

To double-check what I learned from earlier panels, I designed the "Marshside" triptych.

I had just gone camping with my dog, Heather. We had a nice little tent site at the edge of a small marshy pond.

Frogs and birds aplenty.
So "Marshside" helps capture that setting and bring it back to my porch.

The openness has some good aesthetic qualities. It attracts the eye to, and then through itself.

It helps to anchor my art visually, making it a part of the environment; interacting with it instead of standing apart.

You can enjoy watching the clouds scud by.

I especially like seeing the trees sway in the breeze, while looking through my glass panels.

Or watching a bird swoop and perch on a nearby branch.

The smallest birds actually perch/flit on the green bowl-shaped piece at the far left of this panel, titled "Marshside Left".
Two years of experiments and careful observation have paid off. I now have some beautiful glass panels that barely sway in the gales. They improve my outlook during all four seasons.
Email me if you want garden panels like this. They may improve your outlook too.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Migratory Art - Free Range Glass

Most stained glass lives a tame, domesticated life atop your lamps or staring wistfully out of your windows.

Feral Glass runs wild on legs of brass.

I notice that my art seems happiest when travelling in small herds. We see a few pieces here, which have ventured out of the garden and into a clearing to enjoy a sunny afternoon.

You can tell it is Fall, and their bright coloration makes them stand out more, as the summer's growth fades back. Good thing they have no natural predators. Even my dog keeps out of their way.

Mixed herds are not uncommon. In the top photo you see a small red Lawn Dot has joined the taller Garden Spirits.

In the second photo you can see a Double Ejecta in the foreground and a blue Lawn Dot on the other side of the herd.

Feral Glass and other forms of free range art is meant to liberate your spirit as well as the art work. Put art in unexpected places.

It is common to spend $250 for a painting to decorate one wall. For less than that, you can have a small herd of art grazing in your lawn or garden.

Improve your Outlook

Provide Color and Form All Year Round
You can see here how they come together for company in the coldest months. They prefer a lot of sunlight, and really glow out there in the snowfields.
The largest herds of Feral Glass are to be found in Virgina, though their natural range is the entire United States and Canada. Sizeable herds have been established in Oklahoma, Texas and New Hampshire, and small numbers are being introduced into other states as you read this. Soon they will be in Europe.
Won't you please help them in their migration?

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Feral Glass, Free Range Art and Migratory Art are trademarks of Feral Glass.