New wiring for the kiln

We have been fusing glass downstairs in the home studio since we bought our Skutt kiln in 2004. It has been a workhorse, but we are dealing with our first repair issue. We programmed it to go one night, and the screen displayed the dreaded Err1 message. I could have guessed what was wrong, but was really glad that I gave Skutt a call. Their technician was amazing, and patiently led me step by step through using a multimeter to diagnose the problem. It turned out to be a bad relay. That would have been minimal to replace, however, I thought it was good advice to purchase a whole new panel. The base they use now is much heavier, giving more heat protection to the elements. Considering the age of the kiln, I thought it a great value to purchase the whole panel for under $200.
20150727_wiringCrazy, huh? It took some time to re-wire all those connections to the circuit board, carefully following Skutt’s instructions, using their thoughtfully tagged wires.

So now we’re back in business! The fusing continues. Stay tuned for some new pieces coming out of the kiln.

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a new look, reflecting

It’s a new look for the Rowanberry Blog this year, and I have a new goal to strive for in continuing to post.  Reflecting back on this artistic journey, I just can’t let it go and give it up.  I have to keep trying to find the time to share artistic inspiration, at least more consistently if not as frequently. I also wanted to upgrade the look of the blog to be able to share larger images.  There’s nothing like the impact of a large, beautiful image.  For those who spend more time on the phone screen, I guess it might not matter, but if you get home to a nice large monitor… wow!

Today I am sharing some beautiful and somewhat surreal photography from Cody William Smith.  He is a photographer and cinematographer with some interesting work.  These pictures are from “A Moment’s Reflection”, from June of 2013.

Cody William Smith“A Moment’s Reflection” is my ongoing study of specular, or mirror-like, reflections. My intention is to draw new connections between familiar forms by introducing specular reflections to environments where none would typically exist. The mirrors serve as a focal point within a given scene and also function as a window to provide an entirely unique perspective on the same location. -Cody William Smith

Cody William SmithSmith specializes in landscape, fine art, and environmental portraiture.  In the film world, he freelances as a gaffer, 1st AC, and photography assistant.  He has an interesting set of credits to his name, including being involved with several professional music videos, short films and magazine shoots.

Cody William SmithVisit Smith’s website:  http://www.codyslr.com/

neglected blog . . . glass resuscitatation

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”.

Bergstrom-Mahler museumHistoric Bergstrom mansion, now home to the Glass Museum

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 LittletonHarvey Littleton (American, b. 1922), Blue Crown
pulled and cased glass, 1988

-from http://www.kornbluthphoto.com/TwentiethCentury3.html

Littleton’s students are some of the most world-renowned glass artists of our time, including Dale Chihuly and Marvin Lipofsky.

Dale ChihulyDale Chihuly, Wild Poppy Persian
from http://www.vetriglass.com/category/38167306101/1/Dale-Chihuly.htm

Marvin Lipofsky

Marvin Lipofsky, Group Taiwan #4
from http://www.duanereedgallery.com/Artists%20Pages/lipofsky/lipofskytaiwan4.html

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/

finally something new

I know, I seem to have dropped off the planet.  My computer work has gotten quite busy, and the gardening season has been here for a while now.  Instead of my cozy winter mornings searching out new art online, I have been making over my perennial beds, digging grass with long white roots, and persistently fighting bindweed vines. Beautiful gardens are indeed a form of art.

My own art is coming along, with a nice boost from my blacksmith friend Will Slagel.  He stopped over yesterday to bring more iron stands for the mandalas.

Japanese Crane by Linda OefflingJapanese Crane by Linda Oeffling, Iron Stand by Will Slagel

Sun Kaleidescope Mandala by Linda OefflingSun Kaleidoscope Mandala by Linda Oeffling, Iron Stand by Will Slagel

Nest Mandala by Linda OefflingNest Mandala by Linda Oeffling, Iron stand by Will Slagel

Lily of the Valley Mandala by Linda OefflingLily of the Valley by Linda Oeffling

Lily of the Valley is my current favorite, despite the fact that I have to use a purchased stand, and not a custom design by Will.  I made this piece with several layers, and so it is too thick to fit in the  other stands.

Now my current focus must be getting these out into the world, specifically by finding galleries that would be a perfect fit for my work.

 

a little break

I am disappointed that I broke my streak of consistent blog posting 4-5 days per week. However, it was for a very good reason. I had a relative from the family tree track down our branch of the family, and she came from Buenos Aires to visit. She brought a huge poster of our family tree, with pictures of my grandparents, their brothers and sisters, and the descending relatives. It was truly amazing. We then skyped with another relative in Slovenia, where our history as we know it begins, and I was able to introduce the two of them, making another new connection in the family. I can’t imagine traveling so far to stay with an unknown family, but we had an amazing week together and made a lasting connection.

Family TreeFamily picture from (what was then) Yugoslavia

We found out so many interesting things about our family history.  Our visitor is a neurologist, with an additional degree in psychiatry.  We found out about a cousin who was involved in diamond mining in Africa, was a millionaire, then mysteriously lost everything and came back to Slovenia with nothing.  We have cousins who migrated to England and France.  And we heard many sad stories about the war, and the bad times they endured in Slovenia.

“Art and culture hold a special place in Slovenian history, as they helped the Slovenes to compensate in many ways for the lack of national political and government institutions in the past.” from Slovenia.si

Ivan GroharPomlad (Spring), Ivan Grohar

According to the website, Slovenia.si, Slovenian painting reached its qualitative peak with works of Impressionism, displayed at an acclaimed exhibition in Vienna in 1904.

St. Michael's ChurchSt Michael church, on the outskirt of Ljubljana, Jože Plečnik
Photo by Karmen Smolnikar @ Flickr

Plečnik Ljubljana, Market, 1940–1942, Jože Plečnik
Foto: Damjan Prelovšek

Slovenia is also proud to claim architect Jože Plečnik, whose influence is seen in the shaping of Vienna, Prague and Ljubliana. He was considered a visionary and a reformer, using new building materials and acting as a pioneer in urban planning. His style was unique in that it was highly original and experimental, yet simultaneously incorporated historical dimension and established traditions.

Meeting family, and hearing about the history of my own family in particular, gives me a feeling I can hardly describe.  I feel very small, just a tiny part of this long time line.  In these days of disconnected families, it is truly a treasure to have this knowledge and have history come alive.

and then it’s swept away

Environmental artists usually have some time to enjoy their creations.  If you consider calling the rock cairns I posted about art, you might enjoy them for weeks. The sand sculptures created by Jim Denevan might only have hours, or minutes.

Jim Denevanfrom Sand, by Jim Denevan

Denevan creates drawings on sand, earth and ice which are then erased by wind, waves and weather.

Jim Denevanfrom Earth, by Jim Denevan

The photo above shows his work in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert in 2009. He spent two weeks drawing out the design, marking the pattern freehand, but using GPS for the four largest circles.  He widened the lines with a pickup truck and a roll of chain. When part of the lake filled up with water, the enormous artwork vanished.

Jim DenevanFrom Sand, by Jim Denevan

“These ephemeral sand drawings are performances. They emerge like a dance and become interactive public spaces when he’s done. Surfers walk over and through the elegant patterns he leaves behind. Delighted beachgoers follow the curling spiral work like it’s a labyrinth, pacing inwards and then retracing their steps. The incoming tide participates as well, and always has the last word as it erases the temporary artworks with the sweep of each passing wave.” – from GreenMuseum.org

When you see his figure, so small amidst the large scale drawing, you can’t imagine how he can create such perfect forms. View more images and information on his website: http://jimdenevan.com/jim.htm

home from st. martin

It wasn’t just a dream, it really was a trip to the islands.  (see the last week’s blog entries)  My sisters and niece and our husbands took a trip to the Caribbean island of St. Martin last week.  It was paradise, from the weather, to the most excellent French food, to the great company and endless laughs.

SXM airportBaggage Claim at the St. Martin Airport
photo by Linda Oeffling

The explosion of color began right at the airport.  While we waited for our luggage I admired the rainbow and the shadows it cast on the walls of the busy baggage claim area.

I was pretty excited to walk into our villa to view the artwork of Antoine Chapon on the walls! It looks even better in person.  Click the link to go back to my previous post about Chapon.

Bar on AnguillaDune Preserve Bar on Anguilla
photo by Linda Oeffling

One of the most intriguing architectural creations was the Dune Preserve Bar, which we visited while on a catamaran sailing trip to the island of Anguilla.  The bar was originally created from flotsam and jetsam that found its way onshore.  Now there are parts to the building which have been upgraded, but it keeps its quirky atmosphere.

St. Martin RestaurantRestaurant in Grand Case
photo by Linda Oeffling

Shame on me for not getting the name of this restaurant in Grand Case.  Up a set of stairs, and behind the lush greenery, you can have a luscious French meal.  This is just an example of typical scenes along the street.  Wall murals decorate the buildings, color and lovely curlicues decorate porches and patios.

Happy BayHappy Bay
photo by Linda Oeffling

Happy Bay is a little beach tucked away, unreachable by car.  You have to hike over a hill to get to this beach.  The stone sculptures welcomed us into the bay, and a friendly local set up a little stand and provided fresh grilled fish for lunch.

There is much more to tell, and maybe I’ll revisit this theme another day, but for now I am behind on unpacking. Sigh. I wish I was still in bare feet and a pareo instead of looking at the snow in fuzzy slippers and warm bathrobe…