A journey through the pandemic

Week 14 of isolation. I actually started distancing in mid February but due to an art installation I didn’t go into full throttle lockdown until the 2nd week in March.

After cleaning kitchen staples, navigating the on-line world of ordering food, masks and supplies I took on all those bothersome chores of around the house. It was a good time to be more mindful of using up left overs and applying some new moves in the kitchen cuisine arena. After burning my hand on the Le Creuset during a Sour Dough bake off that my enthusiasm waned. Luckily bread started showing up again in the store. It’s curious why the American food supply system failed us. Once I went local organic things began to improve.

Spring wasn’t cancelled due to Covid-19 so an intensive weed pulling exercise began in the lovely but large garden I have. It looked so wonderful up until all the spring rain brought back to life the weeds I’d so carefully dismissed.

I feel blessed I have a large yard so walking the dog and gardening still gets me exercise. It’s been helpful to not do the Covid 19 20 pound gain so many have done.

So now between cooking and cleaning I can finally get down to art. Whew, it took long enough. I’ve been doing botanical watercolors for a bit now and I started by organizing my paint, pencils and general supplies to make my next endeavor. My own garden is my inspiration so I want to document Spring in the Pacific Northwest. I will entitle the sketchbook Spring has not been cancelled.

All About Pâte De Verre

Pâte de Verre is French for “paste of glass:. This term originated in France at the end of the 19th Century to describe a technique of glass discovered by Egyptians and possible influences from China and their purple and blue hard glazes. The Egyptian’s developed a sintered-quartz ceramic that was glazed by firing. Later they developed a harder more crystalline compound called Egyptian blue harder than it’s more porous faience counter part. While the true origin is unknown scientific laboratories are researching the influence the Egyptians used to make artifacts for the Pharaohs.

Archeologists from France came across Egyptian Blue and were intrigued by the glass and the iconic use of their research from the tombs of pharaohs. It peaked the interest of ceramists in the industry such as Henri Cros (b1840 – d1907). Cros had an interest in experimentation and his love of getting painterly effects lead him to a life of sculpting and glass making. During the Art Nouveau period glassing making for vessels and sculptures were being rediscovered and refined. All glass casting in a kiln was termed pâte de verre but in modern times it’s be redefined by methods of Hot Casting (ladle poured) vs. Kiln Casting.

Modern pâte de verre uses a sintered  method (a tack fuse), or high temperature firings to create different looks. From single to multi-part molds you can use plaster-silica, ceramic fiber, press molded, drip molded using sculpted models in wax or clay.

To get the polychrome colors various frits and powders are used with a glue binder (CMC, Gum Arabic, Aloe Vera). Glass colors employ various colorants, which can cause reactions. Glass manufacturers publish which color interacts with another color so you can use or avoid the reaction. Lots of glass secrecy fell away in modern times with the understanding for the chemistry of glass. It is my reason for teaching so this art form is not lost in history again and new artists push the boundaries of what’s possible.

About Pâte De Verre

Pâte de Verre is French for paste of glass. This term originated in France at the end of the 19th Century to describe a technique of glass discovered by Egyptians and possible influences from China and their purple and blue hard glazes. The Egyptian’s developed a sintered-quartz ceramic that was glazed by firing. Later they developed a harder more crystalline compound called Egyptian blue harder than it’s more porous faience counter part. While the true origin is unknown scientific laboratories are researching the influence the Egyptians used to make artifacts for the Pharaohs.

Archeologists from France came across Egyptian Blue and were intrigued by the glass and the iconic use of their research from the tombs of pharaohs. It peaked the interest of ceramists in the industry such as Henri Cros (b1840 – d1907). Cros had an interest in experimentation and his love of getting painterly effects lead his to a life of sculpting and glass making. During the Art Nouveau period glassing making for vessels and sculptures were being rediscovered and refined. All glass casting in a kiln was termed pâte de verre but in modern times it’s be redefined by methods of Hot Casting vs. Kiln Casting.

Modern pâte de verre uses methods of sintered (a tack fuse), high temperature firings to create different looks. From single to multi-part molds you can use plaster-silica, ceramic fiber, press molded, drip molded using sculpted models in wax or clay.

International Women’s Day 3/8/18

Ahowcasing amazing female artists who inspire me.  I first ran into her work on a trip to the UK.  Lucie Rie fled Nazi Vienna in 1938 for London.  Read this amazing article on Lucie Rei at craft and culture’s blog.  Not only a pioneer in ceramics but a courageous woman who fled Vienna as it could be toxic for a young woman in the arts.  She was direct and would not be silenced, self-confident but did not grandstand.  Her sense of objects of beauty surrounding your world  was a design conscious standard in her work.  She was born March 16 1902.

Bas Relief Mold Making

Once you have completed making your clay or wax models secure it to a melamine board. Center the model in the middle of that board. Make sure you have a large enough board around your model to accommodate the 2-3 inch gap plus the coddles then space to secure the outside of the coddle to prevent leaks. The larger your piece becomes the more the mold needs to be thicker and you increase the depth and the size of the coddles proportional to the size of the model.

Using quick grips or C-clamps and I pinwheel them around the piece. Use snakes of clay to secure the inside walls around the base and up the wall. Then 1-2 inch thick snakes on the outside of the coddle at the base to insure the plaster does not leak out. If you use a 2″ mold thickness then mark the highest portion of the model and add 2-2.5 inches, mark with a pencil to give you a visual pour level reference and to keep the mold uniform in size for firing purposes. 3″ molds you add 3 inches, etc.

Then prepare your plaster silica mix for the face coat and a plaster silica additive as your back up coat. Pour into the corner of the coddle allowing the plaster to raise to the reference line. Gently shake without moving the clay to remove any excess bubbles then let sit for 40 minutes. This step use great caution to prevent blow outs of plaster from your coddle.

Clay Model, pinwheeled coddle, finished artwork

A blog of Pate de Verre, Art and Inspiration