One of my first mandalas, still one of my favorites. Especially when the morning light makes it sparkle on my wall. Soft, dappled light filtering through green branches, sparkling on the forest floor. Quiet. Peace.
I am enjoying the artwork of Jun Kaneko (thanks to Brandie for the link to this artist!). He is an incredibly prolific artist, producing work in Ceramics, Bronze, Glass, Textile, Drawing, and Painting. Whoa.
The beauty of glass is in its capture of light, and Kaneko’s installations wow the eye with color and reflection.
Kaneko was born in Japan, and began his studies in painting. After coming to the U.S., he was drawn into sculptural ceramics. He has taught at some of the nations leading art schools, and holds honorary doctorates from several notable Universities.
He has fantastic pictures on his website. I love to see the scale of the work as shown by the photo above. See the finished pieces below.
Kaneko plays with scale and proportion, and is a pioneer in the field of monumental ceramic sculpture. His latest exhibition can be seen in Millennium Park in Chicago, IL, in the Boeing Galleries, from April through November of 2013.
See more on his website: http://www.junkaneko.com/
I came across some unique and beautiful photography today, from the lens of Bob Croslin.
Croslin starting taking portraits of injured birds at a local bird sanctuary in Florida.
Every Wednesday I would show up and photograph a bird or two never knowing what kind of bird and if I’d even come away with an image. I’d set up lights and a back drop and cross my fingers. Birds, like humans, don’t like to be in a new environment and would immediately run for the exit. Add a camera and several lights and inevitably we were corralling birds – no easy feat because several of the birds were still flighted. I can’t count how many times I was told by a sanctuary volunteer that there was no way I’d be able to photograph a particular bird – especially the shore birds. Every time I’d make an image that would blow them away. Nothing like a challenge to bring out the best in me. – Photographer Bob Croslin
Croslin was, in his own words, a “punk rock kid” who discovered a love for photography. Floating around without a definite goal, he ended up at the University of Florida, majoring in Journalism. This is where he really fell in love with telling stories with a camera.
His photos have a surreal quality, making you want to study them closer. They do draw you in to the tale. See more of his work on his website: http://www.bobcroslin.com/
It’s a slow, cold, wet, spring in the Midwest. Snow flurries today. I dream of lovely summer, bursting with green growth and scent and songbirds …
Out of the kiln yesterday:
Continuing on from yesterday’s blog featuring the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum, I want to share the wonderful experience of seeing glass artist Michael Meilahn at work.
We traveled out to the cornfields of Pickett, Wisconsin, to arrive at the family farm where he was raised, and where he and his family still farm today. Meilahn describes himself as a person with “one foot on the land and one foot in the sand”, referring to the fertile fields of corn and the sand which is the basis for glass.
We marveled at the texture and amazing color detail in his huge, blown glass ears of corn.
What looks like chocolate-dipped corn is actually wax. The glass piece is dipped into wax, which is then carefully peeled off to form the basis for a bronze casting that will fit the glass creation like a glove.
The expansive studio space allows plenty of room for machinery, glass equipment, and immense hanging ears of corn.
We were thrilled when Michael and his crew (that’s his son, in red), offered to create a piece so that we could watch the process, even though their usual crew consists of four members.
A metal rod is dipped into a furnace of molten glass to obtain a “gather” of glass at the end. After a couple of gathers of glowing, translucent amber, they coated it with yet another gather, this one of a creamy off-white color.
Nearing the end of the process, the ball of molten glass is rolled on a marver table to shape it further. You can see the metal corn form, tucked among the hoses on the right side of the picture. Now the process is moving really quickly, as they have limited time to form and mold the glass before it cools down. If it cools down too much, the glass will crack.
Michael quickly jumped up to the platform so that the glass could hang down inside of the form, which was quickly closed down to surround it. He blew into the end of the pipe to push out the glass into a long, corncob shape.
The mold opened up to reveal the glass corncob.
Now the finishing touches, where Michael used a caliper tool to grasp the end, pull and shape, and create a hole that is used to hang the glass.
A torch is used to flame along the project, so that the heat is evened out and kept relatively steady, without cooling too quickly.It is then placed into a large annealing kiln, where the controlled temperature drops slowly through the night, cooling slowly until it is taken out the next day.
I am so grateful to the Midwest Contemporary Glass Art Group (MCGAG) for the opportunity to come along on this field trip (with friend and member Brandie Dunn). It was quite a privilege to have this experience, and to have this demonstration really put the day over the top!
There is a lot to see online for Michael Meilahn – a number of You Tube videos and several gallery exhibitions. Take a look, and read a little bit more about this guy; it is quite interesting.
MWA: Wisconsin Museum of Art
You Tube on Upcoming Exhibition
Poor, neglected blog! I have been kept busy these days with other things, and I really need to post something new!
Fortunately, I have just the thing. I was recently invited to attend a field trip with The Midwest Contemporary Glass Art Group (MCGAG) to the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum in Neenah, Wisconsin. The museum had a wonderful exhibit on the legacy of Harvey Littleton and his students. Harvey was a ceramic artist and professor who is known as the “Father of the American Studio Glass Movement”.
The Museum is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Contemporary Studio Glass Movement. This is particularly fascinating to me as an art-lover and glass artist. Harvey Littleton paved the way for artists like myself to create art in their own home studios by developing a small, relatively inexpensive furnace that allowed artists to bring glass from factory production into home experimentation.
Harvey Littleton (American, b. 1922), Blue Crown
pulled and cased glass, 1988
Littleton’s students are some of the most world-renowned glass artists of our time, including Dale Chihuly and Marvin Lipofsky.
Dale Chihuly, Wild Poppy Persian
Marvin Lipofsky, Group Taiwan #4
It was hard to narrow the blog material down for this post. I could go on about the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum, the history of art glass, Littleton, Chihuly and Lipofsky, and all their contemporaries. This blog post could go on for weeks, and I like to keep my posts short and graphic. If you are interested in more, visit the links listed, and stay tuned for the next blog post to read about the rest of our field trip and a thrilling glass adventure in the farmlands of Wisconsin…
The Bergstrom-Mahler Museum: Wisconsin’s Glass Museum http://bergstrom-mahlermuseum.com/
Harvey Littleton http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvey_Littleton
Dale Chihuly http://www.chihuly.com/
Marvin Lipofsky http://www.marvinlipofsky.com/
I came across a beautiful piece of sculpture on design boom the other day. Take a look at the work of Rolf Sachs.
There is just a beautiful feeling about this sculpture. The hewn trough, the rough old bucket and battered stool. Dusty, workman’s things, highlighted by a glowing stream of blue light.
Sachs has a fun website as well. Put your cursor over the various objects to get a closer view, or a glimpse of imagination at work: www.rolfsachs.com My favorites are the white house with the staircase, and the round thing on the wall that looks like an old-fashioned thermostat. You just want to meet this guy because he has got to be a lot of fun!
Sachs is a business tycoon who is also an artist-designer, working out of London. He started in business, but over the years found the need to create taking over more of his life. He states, “Now I am 40 percent business, 40 percent studio, and 20 percent everything else I love to do in life”.
“We all have these incredibly huge egos, but actually we are just a small part of an enormous universe. I want people to look at this and for it to put a smile on their faces, because life demands humour more and more.” ‘Rolf Sachs, from an article in The Financial Times, December 7, 2007, “the Joy of Sachs”