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The fused glass technique known as “strip cutting” or “strip cut construction” is widely used by advanced and beginner kiln formed art glass artists alike, especially when a tightly controlled geometric design is desired. As the titles suggest, sheet glass is cut into long narrow strips, usually between 3/8″ and 1/2″ wide. Once cut, the strips are cleaned, laid up on edge side-by-side, and then fired (or fused) together. To attain detail, color variations in strips and sometimes pre-fired elements (such as aperture pours) are integrated within the original design concept. A protective boarder is set up around the glass to prevent spreading during the firing process. In most cases, the weight of the glass against the kiln shelf stifles movement. As a result, lines between strips on the bottom side generally appear crisp and straight. Following the first firing, extensive cold working (such as smoothing the edges) may further enhance the art glass. The piece may go through additional firings to add texture, add more elements and/or give it a three dimensional form (such as a vessel).
Part Colorbar Murrine, part Strip Cut Design, “Table Talk” is a fused glass hybrid. It pays homage to an artist residency that took place at the Pilchuck Glass School in 2010. The center, white portion of the panel represents the main table where attending artists met regularly for group discussions. Surrounding the center are seventeen elements, fifteen of which represent the individual artists. While the artist elements do not specifically translate to any one person, they do represent the varied personalities, all colorful and artistic, yet different in temperament, tenacity and demeanor. During the discussions participants interacted, shared and developed bonds in differing degrees, as represented by elements stretching into the table and overlapping each other. The remaining two rectangular elements located at the top represent the facilitators, and therefore by design, provide balance.
“Table Talk”, which has been exhibited at the Museum of Northwestern Art and the Bullseye Bay Area Gallery, has been enhanced to sit within an iron frame supported by a hand formed stone base (not shown).
Taken from an age old English proverb, the composition manifests a sensible metaphoric message, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” Look closely within the upper large blue box to see an extended hand holding nutrients for an ominous creature with awaiting open jaws. Three bold lines of red, one directly above the central image, one directly below and another at the bottom suggest a cautionary warning. Has the creature already bitten the hand, or do the red lines represent a presage of what’s to come?
Originally inspired by an off-Broadway production of C. S. Lewis’ “The Screwtape Letters”.