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.


stilettoheights said...

these are amazing!!!! Oh I love them, I think even more than your other pieces, I like your theory of having them not "fight" the wind.

hojpoj said...

Your glass is absolutely beautiful. I really like your taste and style.

Krazy Kate Designs said...

Incredible! Your work is so unique.

Fuzzy Izmit said...

WOW! You work is amazing! I love the concept...the only problem is I dont have a hard to put any of your stuff in (living in an apartment) Keep up the awesome work!

Glass Lady said...

Love your work. I too like how you blend them with nature.

The Mommy and Me Boutique said...

Your work is beautiful. Your creative talent rally shows through.

Adrienne said...

Beautiful. Now you just need to make some like this for Etsy. ;) Preferably so I can order it for Christmas presents. lol. =p


I agree with Adrienne. I bought one of your standing pieces for a Christmas gift, but I think I would have bought one of these instead, had they been available on Etsy. Love them!

storybeader said...

I love them. The Marshside just blends in with the background.

Anne El-Habre said...

Hey John - Your work is spectacular and one day I will own at least one piece like the Tempest - it is gorgeous!

Thanks for sharing your unique views through your creations.



kim* said...

o boy those are awesome

Buntons said...

Hi! I think your work is beautiful, and out of the box. :D
As an at-home glass hobbyist, I never would have thought of doing something like this, as I would not think it could support it's weight. Gorgeous work!
Thanks for sharing!