Sunday, 9 August 2015


Last week was one of the most intensive weeks I've had for a while because I started the six-week GLINT (Glass+Print) residency with the Canberra Glassworks and Megalo. The reason why it was so intense was because the GLINTers had a 2-day introduction to printing techniques at Megalo, and then a 2-day introduction to glass techniques at the Glassworks. The six GLINTers are three print artists (myself, Nicci Haynes and Luke Chiswell) and three glass artists (Spike Deane, George Agius and Debra Jurss).
Me, George, Debra and Spike in the Megalo screenprinting studio
The first day we were all given an induction and WH&S instructions by Jemima, who demonstrated screen preparation, fabric printing and paper printing to the group.  This is totally new territory for the 'glassies' so during the residency I have offered to help them with their textile and print related processes.  During the six-week period we will all be working on our own ideas but will collaborate and help each other to realise our individual projects, because it is such a short time to produce work in a new medium.
Rory printing off one of the etchings in the Press studio at Megalo
The second day at Megalo we were introduced to the Press Studio by Rory who again took us through all the relevant WH&S to do with chemicals and equipment.  In the morning we explored the etching process and in the afternoon it was lithography.  Although I have done some relief printing and etching before, it was a long time ago, so this was very intense.  I have also wanted to find out about lithography, but never had the time, so this was a perfect introduction to working on directly onto stone.  I didn't realise what a time-consuming process it is, and as a consequence have a lot more respect and admiration for lithographers! Just the sheer physical work involved of grinding stones for hours before you even start to work on them is almost enough to put some people in our group off! However, we all conceded that there are many aspects of all our practices that involves concentration, dedication and perspiration, but not everyone is suited to that particular process.

Day Three of the Intensive week saw us rock up to the Glassworks to have an induction and WH&S with Emilie Patteson, the Artistic Programs co-ordinator who was also a GLINT 2014 participant.  Emilie makes beautiful work that encases botanical specimens within glass, and I can see many similarities in our interests and concepts.
Debra, Emilie, George, Nicci and Luke exploring fusing.
Emilie took us through ways to fuse glass and print powders onto some small tiles in the morning.  The printers learnt a whole lot of new terms and techniques, although Nicci has done workshops in glass before so she was a few steps ahead of Luke and I. In the afternoon Matt Curtis, who is the inaugural Creative Fellow for 2015, showed us the techniques of etching and sandblasting onto glass, and I think these are two techniques I will be using a lot with my project.
After lunch George and Debra booked a slot in the hot glass workshop for us and demonstrated glass blowing and stringer -making.
George pulling some glass out of the furnace ready to work, Debra assisting behind.
This was the first time some of us had been down on the floor of the Hot-shop as opposed to watching from the safety of the balcony. Ben Edols also had a team on the floor, so we were introduced to the etiquette of pas-de-deux between furnaces and glory holes! We were assured that it was a quiet day, but frankly I would not want to be down there when it was busy. I was conscious of trying to avoid globs of molten glass the whole time! George and Debra were great, and I really admired their cool and confident handling of the glass tools and heat, their skill in pulling stringers, jacking-off (yes, this is a glass-term!) and finally putting the finished pieces into the annealing kiln.
Debra pulling a stringer from a single blob of molten glass
The girls enabled each of us to explore the addition of different objects into molten glass - for me it was a piece of metallic-silk organza; for Luke it was a dollar coin and an American dollar bill; and for Nicci it was some different metal wires.  It was really enlightening to see what worked and what just ended up as ash. My experiment turned out well, with the silk thread burning and depositing ash but the copper metallic thread stayed in tact and formed a weird fibrous object encased within glass.

For the last day of induction we had the whole day with Spike, who taught us how to make plaster moulds around clay objects so that once the clay is removed, the void is filled with broken glass, then fired in the kiln.  This did take a while, as there were three separate layers of plaster to cover our clay sculpture, the last one containing grog (again, another glass or ceramic term!).  At the end of the day we managed to get our moulds into the kiln and I am impatiently waiting for tomorrow when I can see what the result will be.....
Spike helping me smooth down the last layer of my two moulds
This residency is not only going to be a great adventure into the world of glass, but also fun, and already I feel we are all working together to help each other realise our projects and to learn as much as we can. Stay tuned!
I would also like to acknowledge the support provided by the Copyright Agency CICF grant for my GLINT project.

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