Professional Development Bursary: (PDB) Contact details
M: 07722 000139
Professional Development Bursary: (PDB) or RIBA Definition
‘Continuous Professional Development’ or CPD
- I have arranged a CPD with Helga Watkins-Baker, author of ‘Kiln Forming Glass’ and Director of The Glass Hub, Nr. Bath for tuition in Kiln Formed Glass & Slumping, Annealing & Mould-Making process suitable for my specific future needs.
- To continue my experimental installation work with ‘Material Colour’ in ‘Glass’.
- I have written a CPD for the application of Mirror Finishing to Glass Surfaces for the Royal Society of Chemistry under the RIBA guidance for CPD and professional practice. I have applied for funding support for this part of the project.
The Glass Hub Stowford Manor Farm Wingfield Wiltshire BA14 9LH Tel: 01225 768888 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Helga Watkins-Baker understands my needs and supports my application. Her writings have been an inspiration and confirms my belief that it is the right place for me to learn what I need to know. In principle there are 3 new things to learn at The Glass Hub.
- To learn the ‘Language of the Kiln’; kiln firing & heat & annealing cycle programmes. The kilns have different operational parameters to my ceramic kilns.
- To learn the ‘Language of the Mould’; Moulds must be fit for purpose, correctly formed and ‘made-ready’ with the appropriate quality and quantity of glass material.
- To learn the ‘language of the Material’; Glass has subtle yet complex behaviours when heated in a kiln.
Helga Watkins-Bakers’s book provides excellent descriptors of what to expect and how to manage the material and processes. Gaining this understanding will make my proposed new work a distinct possibility. This is new learning; a new requirement and craft skill that will provide subtle differences to my extant knowledge of firing kilns in the making of ceramics. The book has plenty of information but I want to share Helga’s ‘tacit knowledge’, of seeing and listening to the ‘how and why’ of the author whilst we are working together.
- To apply the Mirror Chemistry to the glass. This will be new to me and Helga W-B and will be part of our shared experience. This is a key part of the project and will lift the artwork to another level. (see Angel Gilding.com) for the basic process.
- To resolve the issues of display presentation. I have researched a method for this.
Gathering and sharing the learning
- To record the CPD day as a video and create a detailed aide-memoire that will be used to communicate the processes to others, those who would like, want or need to know.
Assuming all goes well I plan to complete the work in approximately one month.
What can be achieved?
Clearly new skills will be developed with material consequences and impact on future work in technical and aesthetic terms. My long-term aim is to make site-specific installations in an architectural environment. I have completed 3 murals in major new builds, [on time and in budget] and have an interest in materials in architecture and craft making skills. I was an exhibitor and speaker at the Materials 2017 exhibition and conference in London in April 2017. The audience of architects and specifiers were the target of my participation.
MATERIALS 2017 Display: Left to Right – Top= Aluminium Lower= Cast Iron White Circle= Terracotta & Printed Decals Centre= Synthetic Felt & Dye-Sub printed Grey Circle= Cast Aluminium Brown Background= Terracotta & White Glaze
The CPD at the Glass Hub will have long-term benefits as I will have new skills and a qualification that allows open access to the kilns I need for any future work. I see the bursary as an investment in new learning and skill sharing. I like working with others, sharing ideas, motivation and tacit knowledge. I see the opportunity as enabling me to explore materials, processes and visual design strategies in an original way. It will broaden my approach and benefit my long-term engagement and understandings.
I view this proposal as a major development of my visual/craft language and my own self-reliance. I am excited by the possibilities of a new form of object making and expression. This is ‘new learning’ that will obviously affect my future practice and develop my tacit knowledge in a substantial way.
Provide a full description of your proposed bursary activity
I will be ‘recycling’ two artwork concepts into a new medium: Glass. Glass slumping or casting will bring new possibilities to my repertoire of making. The ‘Mirror’ concept is in addition to this and is a large part of the aims of this proposal. It will bring a new look to the artworks and I am certain is an original concept.
Whilst researching and creating new glass samples I came across an unusual method of colouring low-relief glass with Silver Mirror Finish. It revealed a vibrant characteristic that is highly reflective, brilliant in appearance, and seems to be lit from within. To me these properties have an inner mystique and represent an inverse version of the opaque polished Nickel Plated artworks I have made previously. The original metal castings will be remodelled in solid clear glass; a new set of sculptural and technical challenges will arise from that. The objects appearance as solid, transparent and reflective mirrored glass would reverse the look and feel of the original metal objects appearance. The see-through aspect being crucial to the outcome.
The 4 samples below were rescued from a poorly formed glass casting which was not correctly annealed or cooled. They are all 200mm diameter and 20mm thick. They are inverted from the originals. As shown here you are viewing them from the flat side of the casting, though that’s difficult to see or understand. The relief is Mirror Finished and is on the rear plane in this image. The exact opposite of their foundry cast metal originals. The original polystyrene digitally designed and routed foundry patterns were recycled, reformed, and utilised to make the slump cast glass. The composition is entirely new.
Hand Silvered Method: The upper pair are hand-finished with Silver Nitrate by a mirror company in south London. But it was shrouded in ‘trade secrecy’ by the company; I was not party to seeing how it was done. The Silver Nitrate was applied and then painted with grey paint to protect the silver on the back, as most domestic mirrors are. The green tint is a property of the glass which has high iron content in it. It was recycled from a skip!
Evacuation method: The pair below are from the same source as above, made from the same glass at the same time. But the applied metal method of application is completely different as they are coated in real metal in powder form and placed in a vacuum which turns the metal to a vapour and when it is released from the pressure the metal attaches itself to the objects in a very even thickness and is opaque in colour. The green tint is appearing stronger on the left as the metal ‘mirror’ is pure chrome. The gold colour is a copper material and is not so affected by the natural colour of the glass. This is very high-end technology used for scientific instruments etc.
Thankfully all was revealed about the Hand-Silvering process on Youtube and is no longer a trade secret! Check out Angel Gilding in USA on Youtube. Their method of silvering the outer surface of objects is exactly what I needed to know. The Royal Society of Chemistry has a slightly different method and is applied to the inside of a glass flask. My work requires the Angel Gilding method on the outer front surface of the glass. My objects will be solid, as are the samples shown.
Artwork 1: ‘CLUSTER’ LM 25 Aluminium & Nickel Plate. Recycled styrene foundry formers from the Kings Cross ‘Text-Wall’ mural. This is the original metal casting that was later cast in glass. Here the relief is on the front plane, the casting is completely flat on the back. The glass version spontaneously exploded after 2 days as it was not quite finished in the correct manner, although it was made by a professional glass craftsman. I managed to rescue the 4 discs by cutting away the background shards. I want to learn how to control these properties of the material, hence my current application for a CPD.
The darker sections are where the metal was polished before being Nickel Plated and are very shiny despite their appearance here. The lighter matt surfaces are the texture directly from the sand-casting process.
Here the 4 glass samples are placed in their relative positions but are reversed in a left-right sense, a reflection of its former position. The flat plane is now the front and is very shiny, naturally kiln-polished and is an outcome of the process. The transparency of the material and the metal finish in the glass and it’s ‘see-through’ nature add a richness to the experience of seeing the piece. It can be quite ambiguous to grasp visually, a surface aspect I want to explore.
My aim is to get the best craft quality I can achieve, with the least amount of problems due to the carelessness of others. I want to make it all for myself; by myself. That is what the bursary funding and the CPD’s will mean to me.
Context: as ‘Material Colour’ – Some examples All the artworks of the last decade have shared my notion of ‘Material Colour’; the title of all my solo exhibitions. I have been working with the concept of my chosen material and method of making having a direct impact on the outcome. I want to simplify the outcome so that the materials own properties and how it delivers ‘colour’ are at the forefront of concept. It is what one engages with on experiencing the artwork once installed. The aluminium relief [above] is an example of that. The Nickel Plate adds to the experience as it implies a subtle change of surface rather than an applied colour. Light appears differently within the shiny surface aspect.
‘Drifter’ My Cast-Iron relief is an example of the outcome delivering colour over time; as Rust. The foundry sand-cast relief had the front flat areas of the discs machine ground and hand finished to a smooth affect. The remainder is a sand textured natural quality.
Glass for me has a similar expectancy, it will be transparent with the addition of mirror finish which moves the light around within the surface. I sense the mirror finish as a colour and it also exposes the natural properties of the transparent glass.
Material Colour: Ceramics
‘9 Moons Eclipse’ Raku Fired Terracotta Clay
The context means everything. I am most interested in Colour & Light. The installation of the artwork requires the wall and background to be painted in some kind of contrasting colours, this is adaptable according to context or environment.
The colour and design contributes to the illusion of light passing amongst the bands of colour. The clay objects and the drawing act as one concept. The tiles are natural unprocessed Terracotta Clay from the Star Brickworks in Essex, now defunct. They are press-moulded directly from the styrene moulds and cut when ‘leather hard’ with a circular die-cutter. The ‘banding’ is incised into the clay at the same time. The raku glaze is made for the firing process. The colour in the bands changes according to its position in the open-kiln. The shift from greenish to reddish is as fortuitous as it is deliberate. The transparency effect is part of my overall design strategy. The concept of geometric order versus the random chaos of the colouring method is what for me adds to the frisson of the artwork. The illusion was created through drawing in my notebook. Raku technique is clay fired in an ‘open’ kiln.
Artwork 2: 7 Moons LM25 Aluminium & Nickel Plate
This artwork is to be recycled for the second trial for the glass slumping technique. It has a lot of flat surfaces and is in a simple format of 7 discs. Each disc has been bisected with a 35cm radius that shares its outline with the drawn background circle. The original styrene foundry patterns were cut and reversed and glued back together to create the flat plane within the background shape in each object. I want to develop the expertise to work between the highly textured surfaces and the flat plane of mirror finish. This is part of the objective of the PDF exercise for me.
Some Background Artworks:
Glass Disc: Typographic Images are Sand-Blasted onto both sides of the glass creating a matt finish design based on Tamil Typeface shapes gathered in India. The reflective mirror material is on the rear side only and is free-hand applied in gestural strokes. The enamelled colours are also added to the rear side and randomly appear through the clear intervals in-between the type forms. The image changes its character completely when a dark material is reflected in the mirror surface (right-hand image). The images interact with the events in the local environment.
Material Colour 2: Transposition
The same principle drawing expressed in different materials. An early example of ‘Material Colour’ and ‘Recycling’ at work.
Top Row= Felt and Watercolour on Paper Lower Row= Ceramic plate and Cast Glass.
This is the principle of the recycling and material colour concepts. The research led me to consider ‘Craft’ based subjects and their relationship with digital processes, specifically drawing and that ‘digital art-working’ is a craft subject.
The Felt was made in Tire, Turkey. I used ‘Needle-Felt’ made with modern technology in Huddersfield, UK to produce the fibre as cloth, part of my Textiles research into contemporary felt-making technology.
The Watercolour is part of my painting output and based on drawing of astrological instruments in jaipur, India. This gave rise to the quartet of images seen here.
The Ceramic Plate was a first experiment in Clay-work in response to an invitation to take part in The Plate Show, Collins Gallery, Glasgow. Eventually I had a ceramics studio for 7 years.
The Glass disc was made at L.A. Studio Glass, London, now defunct. Mirrored in two colours and enamelled by hand in my studio. Cast from a mixed media former made with card, plastic, paper, metal, and made into a plaster mould.
From the above quartet of artworks it is possible to gather the direction of my thinking as craft and art. It was my research project whilst teaching to interrogate materials and their applications and processes in the art and craft context. Making things in 3-D became a central activity in my practice.
Currently: for February/March 2018 I am organising a Colour Group (Great Britain) [CGGB] event for our annual Colour in Art meeting. It is formed around colour in tapestry and weaving. It is my remit as a CGGB committee member to be responsible for the meeting in its content and speakers. The event has the subtitle of ‘Weavers Weaving, Wovens’ where we will look at very different approaches to the process, colour and options each artist will discuss and share. I am one of the speakers and will be reflecting on the influence of weaving and felt making on my practice when I was working and touring in Turkey for more than 20 years. The other speakers are Ann Jackson and Margo Selby both highly skilled and well known in their area but are a totally different species as far as their concepts or narratives are concerned.
I have lectured at the V&A and the British Museum’s, Museum of Mankind about my exploits and research findings. I have exhibited and been a conference speaker in many other venues in USA, Turkey, Israel, India, Italy, etc. Research became central to my practice and my liking for craft is central to my approach.