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?

a wish and a present for 2012

Dear reader, thank you for following my blog!

I know I don’t post that often and at irregular intervals, so thank you for sticking with me. That will probably stay the same next year, as I’m still a full time student and a night time artist.

But I’ve got something for you to look forward to! At the end of each month I will post one of these for the upcoming month:

January 2012

It’s a desktop background for January and it’s all for you – click to download and set as background! (edit: link now works, lol)

Each month will feature some of my lovely lampwork glass growth or tentacles with the month handwritten (in Dutch) in good old pen & ink (well, Ecoline). Something pleasant yet practical. 😉

calendar

January 2012 features fungi… Enjoy!

Have a wonderful 2012!!!

And here’s something else to look forward to: aarghh’s coming back to Antwerp for this wonderful project:

The one and only Lolly Pop-Up store!

infected!!!

I’ve been infected!!! Oh noooooooooo, what to do? They’re all over me!! Get them off! Get them off! HELP! HELP! Help. HELP!!! HELP! H…

Infected!

You know what, you could help me, actually…

Why eh…won’t you take some of this infection and eh… spread it yourself? Eh? Eh? Nudge-nudge, wink-wink?

There’s a fine choice of viruses:

infected! viruses

And bacteria:

infected!

Or maybe you prefer these lovely blood cells:

infected! red blood cells

There are even white ones:

infected! white blood cells

And just really cute cells:

infected! cute little cells

Who knew getting infected was so much fun? And spreading the infection even better?!

stamp

It’s no use resisting, these are cells and viruses and bacteria that you’ll actually want to show off.

infected!

Brought to you by yours truly in a healthy fit of of silliness. All infectious goodness on Etsy and Flickr!

a delicate balance // pebbles

How would you balance an egg? And several tiny glass spheres?

a delicate balance: WiP

I allowed myself some play time in the studio last weekend and this came out of it. Of course I didn’t have quite enough time to finish it yet but I couldn’t wait to give you this first glimpse!

a delicate balance: WiP

The glass spheres balance on 1mm mandrels…just like that necklace with the sprouts I designed in class and I used the last bit of that same silver wire I had molten & pulled. They were fun to make! Juggling with molten glass… 😀

The colors are equally playful: white/black and yellow/orange/red/blue/green in both pastels and transparents, all mixed.

They’re going to be pendants & earrings.

The Pebbles now have a different personality: subtle and serene.

pebbles

Preferably with a little ball chain…

I collected all the neutral colors I could find in my studio, all the variations of white glass:

pebbles in all the neutrals I could find:

1 -Vetrofond odd Belgian lace
2 -Vetrofond odd Seashell
3 -Effetre light ivory
4 -Effetre pearl grey
5 -Vetrofond Odd Pink Swirl
6 -Effetre Uranium yellow pastel
7 -Effetre avocado
8 -Effetre sage
9 -Reichenbach CoE94 Sahara
10 -Lauscha Milky Way
11 -Effetre Tongue pink
12 -Vetrofond Odd Ivory
13 -Effetre silver pink
14 -CiM Ginger
15 -Effetre pastel pink
16 -CiM Butter Pecan
17 -Reichenbach CoE 94 Champagne
18 -Effetre white (with stringer to the left) CoE 104
19 -Reichenbach CoE 94 Florence Opaque

In the end I didn’t use no.7 and no.9, as their color was a little too pronounced. So I made a bunch of tiny beads…

pebbles

They will be pendants and brooches.

a delicate balance: WiP

The Napjesdrager comes to life

(also on flickr)

Here it is, my Napjesdrager, in a long overdue (and just plain looong) post, from sketch to kiln-formed result! And quite picture-heavy, sorry about that.

Napjesdrager
I worked on this project for about a little more than 3 weeks in August, from sketch to finish although it had been sitting in my head at least since 2003! Ideas have their way with me, not wanting to leave and nagging me until I give in and (try to) realize them…

Back then I didn’t have a clue about lampworking yet. I dreamt of stained glass windows in the style of C. L Tiffany, E. Burne-Jones and M. Chagall, and wondered how awesome it would be to mix the colors on the glass sheets themselves (instead of having to use existing colored and patterned sheets).

I had a 40x40cm transparent Effetre glass sheet that would be my canvas for the Napjesdrager, a face/mask with leaves. I wanted to include murrine and all sorts of lampworked elements like curvy/wavy stringers, marbles and pebbles and later on also stars and buds. As if the murrine were pointilist dots and the stringers the stroke of a brush.

Napjesdrager
Most traditional Green Men have fierce looks with their eyes and mouth wide open but I wanted my spirit to be a serene and contented one. More like a Green Buddha. And at night I had the help from a little moth fluttering all over its face! The book on the right is the “Geïllustreerde Flora van Nederland”.

Napjesdrager
On a walk through the woods nearby (Ronse, where my studio’s at, has lots! What luxury we have there…hiking trails practically starting at our front door!) I gathered leaves from all the napjesdragers I could find, and pressed them.

Napjesdrager
Filled the leaves with water color…

Napjesdrager
And decided to color the alder leaf (on its chin) purple, the same color it had turned after pressing and drying it.

Napjesdrager
I had made a bunch of murrine beforehand and seperated them by color. Each leaf has its own color code, and so began the time consuming work of placing each little bullseye or star design on their leaves. I took care not to place them too close to one another, so they had a bit of space to flow into when they were fused and so they would keep their round(-ish) form.

Napjesdrager
Some lampworked wheels and buds were needed, and of course I managed to drop & break one just before I glued it on. D’oh! You don’t want to know how much I drop and break and lose in the studio (don’t speak me of jumpy silver findings and precious stones! They seem to have plotted against me.). The speckled stone floor (you can see it in some of the photos below) doesn’t help much either. So I swear a lot when I’m in there. That gives some relief. 😉

Napjesdrager
The glue I use is just child-safe craft glue. It burns away in the kiln quite neatly, although there can be some devitrification with the smallest murrine.

napjesdrager WiP
Almost done with the leaves… Only one left to go! The murrine are on the small side, from about 1mm to 6mm diameter. Commercial murrine come typically in fixed sizes, but in pulling my own, my designs benefit more from the organic effect of variable sizes.

napjesdrager WiP
Phew, all done! Finally I could start on its eyes, mouth and stems (from bent and wavy stringers like the one of the left), and glue on the stars and buds.

napjesdrager WiP
Now what would I do with the background? I had pulled these bent stringers in colors I used for the murrine for a groovy 70’s style vortexy thing, but discovered the leaves alone weren’t strong enough to mark the face/mask. I had been rather hasty in designing the panel and had overlooked that tiny detail…oops.

napjesdrager WiP
So I decided to trace its face with cut glass rods. It made him a bit more alien and vaguely Humpty-Dumpty, but hey, I liked it. :-p

I tried out a more wall-papery background, but feared it would draw too much attention away from the fine murrine, so finally I decided on just a few stringers.

napjesdrager WiP
And so it looked before heading off to the kiln… Fusing would change the design profoundly and I was curious to see how the lampworked elements would take it.

And then it came back…

F^$#%§!!!!!

Napjesdrager


 Oh NoooOOOOOOOoooooo my baby it had cracked!!!

Was it compatibility? The heating schedule? Yeah, luckily it was just that. The cracks had happened early in the fusing process, you can tell because the rims of the cracks are rounded and have melted a little. So the temperature had raised too quickly. I had modified the schedule I used for the tiny squares, lowering the heating t° rate a bit (180°C/h) and soaking it longer in the annealing state, but apparently I should have lowered the heating rate drastically at probably 40°C/h.

My mistake.

But that isn’t the end of the story. Yes, I’m an idiot for not checking the heating schedule any better, but overall for a first “big” fusing project it did go pretty well, and I now have a schedule I’m more confident in. It was an experiment, something I made just for me…and secretly I’m relieved it is imperfect now, so I don’t have to sell it and can just keep it with me in the studio. It amuses me how attached I am to my projects! I can’t part with them, although it wanes after a while, when new projects find their way in, but at first…I’m pretty possessive. LOL.

I’m looking if I can design a standard on which the bottom side can be mounted, and the top panels can be hung. Maybe a welded steel construction or so, if I can find someone who can do that.

Poor Napjesdrager…but also: that lopsided eye just gives it more character.  Not just serene, but a tough little bugger it is now! Being cracked and still smiling…

The Effetre sheet played nice (it is said to have compatibility issues and not really fit for kilnwork), all the different lampworked elements worked well and it gave me lots of techniques for future projects: maybe using just those curved and wavy stringers in an Art-Nouveau inspired panel, or a dazzling mosaic-like work with just the cut transparent rods, and of course, lots more projects with  murrine. It’s like pointilism but even better, because I get to design the dots themselves…From far off it’s just a colored form, but you can get closer and closer to discover the details.
On my to-do list for this year (my “good intentions”) is creating letter murrine, so I can add text to the forms as well. So far I’ve made an “A”. Well, it’s a start. :-p

Next post I’m showing you some of the fused details of the Napjesdrager, who I feel is the first in a series of masks and guardians.

De Napjesdrager: inspired by trees

(also check the work-in-progress @ flickr)


Ingredients for a fused glass panel of a face made of leaves:

++ tree leaves drenched in sunlight

Napjesdragers

Napjesdragers

Napjesdragers

Napjesdragers

++ my mother’s well-used and worn 1960 ed. Geïllustreerde flora van Nederland, an extensive field guide to recognizing plants and trees. Her book has dried leaves and strings as bookmarks and when I was young we used it to press leaves and flowers!

Napjesdrager

DBNL has the 2nd edition of 1909 online! The b/w illustrations are the same of the 19th ed. I love those drawings, although they’re very clear, they’re not technically perfect. It makes me yearn for a time without internets and computers and easy digital photography where everyone had to be able to draw to a certain extent…

This edition speaks of the Cupuliferae, de Napjesdragersfamilie. A tree family that included oaks, beeches, chestnuts, birches, hazels and alders. It’s an obsolete term, nowadays this family is split up in Fagaceae (Beech, oak, chestnut) and the Betulaceae (birch, hazel, alder,…). Napjedragersfamilie is still used to describe the Fagaceae and the cups that hold the seeds of these trees, and I fell in love with the word napje. It’s also rather archaic. I remember it mostly from fairy tales and Breughel paintings and the nursery rhyme of the Bibelebontse Berg, where people (and bears) ate from wooden bowls.

++ Tree lore, green men and Tales of the mythic forest

sint-baafabdij

While this fellow is not exactly a green man, heads covered in foliage can be found on medieval cathedrals and churches, much like this Mr. crankyface in the Sint-Baafsabdij in Gent. They’re said to be remnants of pagan, Celtic lore and are among others connected with tale the Robin Hood.

++ gorgeous transparent & translucent glass colors:

pencil box

I took this picture when I started to prepare this project months ago, in the meantime a couple more colors joined the palette, like Vetrofond Tapenade and Cosmic Storm and some ambers and browns.

red + green

The effetre dark and light grass green (I tend to call them glass green 😉 ) are my favorite colors. Just as plain and simple as they are, they remind me of summer and of the sun shining through trees and that just makes me happy. Years ago a friend gave me a gorgeous Henry Dean vase in this color. I also used it a lot on Nur der Mensch:

Nur der Mensch...

So now you know a little bit more… are you ready to meet the Napjesdrager? 😉

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edit: whoops, typo. There’s a beech on the beach. Silly me!

earth & moon

 
This weekend I finished the moon spirit, a sister to the earthy one I created this summer. I’m pleased with with the way she turned out: a silver halo with starry sprinkles (7 of them, not unlike Rossetti’s Blessed Damozel…hehe). 
 
 

The TalentDevelop newsletter just had a piece on muses and creativity, and referred to a page on the history of daimons, genii and muses which fits right in here, with my little girls! 😉

More on Flickr, also some work in progress photos.