Friday, July 19, 2013

Glass Powder Painting Revisited

I did these glass panels several years ago and only now have gotten around to framing them. These were created through the process of applying glass powders to a sheet of glass, then tack fusing it in a kiln. The glass is heated just enough that the powder sticks to the glass sheet base.

I closed my glass studio over two years ago now. I don't miss it much. Glass work is expensive, very labor intensive, dangerous to some extent, and not very forgiving. The glass powders are very harmful to your lungs. Unlike painting or using Photoshop on images when doing glass working it is very difficult to redo or correct your work. Once the glass is baked there is no going back. If you are a control freak like me you are never happy on the first try, and you end up with a lot glass that is basically scrap.

There are all kinds of styles and approaches when working with glass of course. My explorations drifted towards powder painting because of the control you have over how the colors are placed. As time progressed Bullseye, the company that makes the glass, began to produce an increasing number of the colors as striker colors. Striker colors are those that only show their true color intensity after they are fired. Before firing they are very pale or even near white. As you can imagine it is impossible to powder paint if several colors you are using are not their true color when arranging the powders. Couple this complication with the inability to continually adjust the colors and their arrangement when 'painting', and you have a medium that is not very easy to work with.

As you can tell from my prior post I love to work with texture. In this close up you can see how the powder is laid down, creating a surface that makes you want to run your finger into it. Powder painting is a lot like the sand paintings done by Tibetan monks. In the image below a mandala is being created. As far as I know no one has as of yet used glass powder and a kiln to make the mandala permanent. Then again, maybe that would break some sort of rule or symbolism such as the impermanence of all things. Some day maybe I'll get back into glass and create a mandala as a fundraiser.

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