the glass fur project

Skin protects our bodies, and skin coverings reinforce that function. Maybe the cats have anything to do with my fascination of fur and how a mass of hairs becomes an entity of its own… Fur is vital for animals and in archetypal symbology it has the ability to foresee danger (see the quote below, from C. Pinkola Estés’s Sealskin, Soulskin tale).

fur
Carefully cut glass stringers, heated in the flame of a candle and prodded into the wax model.

Glass is very thermoplastic; it deforms and distorts in intense heat and can melt into a puddle…but it can also just subtly start to move, under the influence of gravity in a heated kiln or in the flame of a burner.

fur
I love how the surface seems to be dissolving when see through this mass of stringers!

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I want to find out how the heat of a kiln will calm down these hairs; whether gravity will enable them to relax onto each other. But before that is possible there are a few more steps to go! It will be cast into a mould (or rather, I’ll build a mould around it), the wax will have to melt away so it can be filled with pâte de verre, it will be fired a first time…the mould has to be broken and washed away very carefully and then I will put it back in the kiln, and let gravity do its job… Who knows, in a later stage I can manipulate the slumping fur in the kiln myself.
fur (featuring Assepoes)
a little detail of Assepoes’s nose, showing how her fur “flows” in several directions.

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If we delve into the symbol of animal hide, we find that in all animals, including ourselves, piloerection – hair standing on end – occurs in response to things seen as well as things sensed. The rising hair of the pelt sends a “chill” through the creature and rouses suspicion, caution, and other protective traits. Among the Inuit it is said that both fur and feathers have the ability to see what goes on far off in the distance, and why an angakok, shaman, wears many furs, many feathers, so as to have hundreds of eyes to better see into the mysteries. The sealskin is a symbol of soul that not only provides warmth, but also provides an early warning system through its vision as well.

Clarissa Pinkola Estés. Women who run with the wolves: contacting the power of the wild woman, Random House, London, 1998, p. 267.

A little inspiration: my board Skin, fur and scales shows how other artists and designers explore this theme!

fur & whiskers

kitties!
the Spanish lady: one of my neighbour’s cats who’s decided to live at my place – this is a
temporary solution because she doesn’t play well with other cats and I don’t have enough space.
She deserves a good home! Do you know someone who wants a feline companion?

kitties!
Assepoes is just fur and whiskers…

kitties!
Yin grooms herself

kitties!
Isaura’s ear – I may have posted a similar photo once but she has such photogenic ears! 😀

So with the exams and deadlines of papers approaching again, things are getting pretty stressful. I really don’t like it. But my cats do -I’m spending more time at home, and studying in the sleeping room means they can just make a big kitty pile on the bed while I lecture them about -well, this semester it’s Eastern cultural history (topics from Islam, Buddhist art, China’s Great Walls, the Tower of Babel and Japanese swordmaking), Ritual aspects of Theatre (Ancient Greek roots of theatre and remnants of ritual elements in contemporary theatre), Art & psychoanalysis

Well, at least my cats are getting a pretty great education! 😉

ETA: this is the kittypile.

desktop calendar for February

Your eye candy for February: Blooming scars (2009) in lampwork glass and found wood.

Desktop calendar for February: click to download!

Glass stems sprouting from cracks in a piece of salvaged wood. It’s the same piece you can see on my avatar (here and here).

In the meantime it has been remodeled by two other artists with long whiskers, so this is one of the few photos that remains…

yin & yang
Yin & Yang were once upon a time this cute and innocent…

yin & yang
Artwork Remodelers, who, us?

and now for something slightly different…

collage
collage
collage

I made a collage.

I know I should be studying, but I always tend to get inspired in these exam or study periods… Of course I’m not supposed to give in to it, so most ideas get scribbled down a sketchbook. But it is tempting, and now and then I have to let myself go a little…

With glass, metal and fire lacking I have to do with what I can find. Quite literally: this is a little collage made out of a handful of thorns, 3 butterflies, 2 bees, 4 cat’s whiskers (probably Yang’s and Shelley’s), a bumblebee, a mosquito and a pupa. I’ve collected them over the years, they died of natural causes (or quasi natural, as one of the butterflies was trod on by a toddler :-/ ).
 
I love the organic shape of wings, of thorns, of whiskers…They seem perfect even though each one is different.

The work wasn’t all that different from gluing murrine on a sheet of glass -only, with such light wings I had to take care not to breathe to hard! V-e-r-y delicate work. But boy it felt good! And now I I’m satisfied and can get back to the books. Until the next idea strikes… 😉

ghost cat

ghost cat
ghost cat!

…or how a full moon sheds light on the netherworld as well. Or not? Jack -yes, Jack!!- came by on his daily nightly walk and obligingly posed for about half of the shutter time of the camera.

He’s by the way fully recovered from his scary face wound.  Two years ago I was able to lure him into my house when he was wounded and wild, and get him to the vet to get treated (and neutered as well…). When he came back he settled at my friend & neighbour’s house and became a happy, food loving cat. For some reason he’s not too keen to visit my home again, LOL! Too many veterinary memories… 😉

birthday bash give-away!

This is the first birthday in years where I’m not a. ill, b. starting an internship or c. starting a new job, so it’s time to celebrate! I’m turning 33 today so that’s an excellent excuse to spread some infection love… 😉

First, consider this collage by the awesome Jenn of Venus Envy Art:

yes, you have been infected…mwahaha

Look how happy they are, running and screaming in joy with their newly found infections… This could be you! 😀
Yes, I’m giving away a set of 3 glass pins from the Infected! series!

All you have to do is leave a comment here on the blog and let me know what you’d love to be infected with! You have 4 choices: viruses and bacteria, but also very nice cells and blood cells. Have a look at Etsy or Flickr to get some inspiration…

I will announce the winner on March 30th, so comment away! 😀 Good luck!

still sleepy
Isaura in late sunlight

On a side note, would you consider signing this Petition for a spaying/neutering policy for stray cats in Ghent – the animal rescue where I got Isaura from (you can see more of her here) issued this petition to raise awareness about this -right now the city doesn’t have a policy and stray cats are mostly all euthanized…This has to stop! Neutering/spaying combined with resocializing and finding new homes for the cats is a humane solution. This is what volunteer organizations like Kat zoekt thuis do, but with very little means or government funding. We’re far from a decent general policy concerning stray animals here in Belgium, but every little helps, even if it’s just a signature. Thanks!