Not many of you know I recently had a brief performance in Las Vegas on the strip… at the convention center… as a booth assistant… at the ACRE show. Yea, okay, it isn’t broadway or anything, but it was still pretty cool!
I went as slave labor with my dear friend Colleen of Turtles Wings Art wages payable in cocktails. This was both of our first experience at a wholesale trade show. Colleen, obviously made of sterner stuff than I opted to actually have a booth, whilst I just went along to watch.
Here is the view from our hotel room on the 10th floor of the Las Vegas Hilton. Crazy blue sky like a giant inverted bowl.
Recycled glass art isn’t just for small projects. Large projects are particularly nice. These pieces have trees sculpted in the reverse side. Each rectangle panel is about 30″ x 20″ and 1/4″ thick. The frames are refinished old wood window frames. Projects this size are great for permanent installation.
Follow along as we walk through all of the steps of a custom recycled glass tile job.
Step 1: Client meeting. Bill and Susie were remodeling the main bathroom in their 1930’s Avenue’s bungalow. The entire room was gutted to the studs and redone. The overall feel will be open, with earth-tone ceramic field tile, marble counters and glass shower doors. They decided that they would like a few recycled glass tiles to serve as focal points and draw the eye into and around the room.
After talking over the main feel, we did a rough sketch of the layout of the bathroom to get an idea of how many tiles would be required and the best size of tile to use. In the end, we decided on 10 4″ x 4″ tiles.
Last January I had the pleasure of talking with Howard Skinner, the art teacher at North Rose Wolcott High School about the possibility of his students working with recycled glass. What a fabulous surprise to get photo’s of the projects. These students are doing some seriously cool glasswork.
From an artist’s point of view, this is really about the best thing that can happen. If my work and knowledge can inspire kids to branch out and explore, then I’m doing my job right! (of course, having an expert like Howard as your teacher helps too…)
Windbreak started coming to Farmer’s Market with me during the summer of 2007. One of my favorite people (we’ll call him Don) came to visit it every week for quite a few weeks straight.
Towards the middle of the summer, Don’s wife (let’s call her Annette)decided to give Windbreak to Don for Christmas. At that point Windbreak didn’t have a base, so casually, during one of the weekly visits, I asked Don for advice on building the perfect base.
Turns out Don had definite opinions about that. Which I followed.
Well, this went on for the rest of the summer. Annette and I managed to keep a straight face until the very end.
The best/worst part was having to tell Don that Windbreak had been sold. Ouch!
Needless to say, Don was surprised on Christmas, and Annette and I should have gotten some kind of award for acting!
Windbreak measures 15″ wide and approximately 10″ tall. Hand-carved and slumped recycled glass 3/8″ thick. Mounted in a solid walnut base with LED lights.
The question that I get more often than any other is “can I mix bottle glass?” The answer is yes, with caveats. I wish I could claim credit for the technology, but the CWC.org folks figured all of this out for us sometime in the late ’90’s. You can read the white papers on their website.
The long and short of it is, it all depends on temperature and glass particle size. What you see here is one week’s worth of testing of different glass colors, temperatures and particle sizes. I am working out the last few bugs on a line of recycled glass tiles. This is about a third of my test firings. It’s hard to see the stacks and stacks on the right hand side of the photo.
Tile photo’s coming up. Stay tuned.
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