blown glass

Art and Design, glassblowing, Uncategorized

Your Input Is Welcome


7 Comments

I am currently working on a redesign of my website.  It has been a bit of an effort making new designs, then figuring out how to photograph and present them on the site. Today I am coming to you to see what you think about one aspect of my web design, which is for the large sun catchers I have been making and which many have gotten to see for the first time on Facebook.

 

My impulse has been to give these pieces names that are fun and inspiring.  In that same vein, I have tried to be creative with the descriptions that will accompany the pieces.  While I feel good about them, I’m not always the best judge.  What I am wondering is what you think?  Is it beside the point?  Does it help, set a tone, or is that not even necessary?  Would you prefer just the image of the work, and do you find it the text silly?  What do you think?  I really want to make this to be fun and inspiring.

I have put all of the descriptions so far for those large sun catchers called Orbitals below.  I have a few of the images that have been shot of them in the studio so you can have a few visual reference to see what it is that I am describing. I would love to hear your feedback, pro or con before we set this one in internet concrete. 🙂


 

 

Brava_Orbital_Sized

Brava

An Orbital is a world of sun-catcher color, done up large. Peaches, oranges, and gold’s vibrate like an early-stage sunset with highlight splashes of blues and greens.  A few carefully placed murine elements in bright red dot its landscape.  We lay on the color in patches, thread the highlights on, resulting in pieces that look related but are each unique.  Feel the warmth and bravery. Blown with sturdiness in mind, our pieces are not eggshell thin.  Made for the ages.  Made just for you, with our love.

 

·      Hand-blown in the U.S.A. at our Virginia Studio

·      9 Inches in diameter

·      Orbital hanger eye is sturdily built

·      Signed and dated

·      Sturdy Hook & Instructions For Hanging Included

 

 

Blue_Sky_Riot_Orbital_HR

Blue Sky Riot

Sometimes you just want to make a statement and aren’t in the mood for the urbane path.  You are ready for a riot.  We feel you. Solid fields of cobalt blue make their entrance with windows of gold, green, red and orange thrown in between gasps of deep blue bliss and a rumor of pink gold ruby.  Someone claims a fleck of purple makes an appearance, but you will have to hunt for it.  Remember, these are not punched out of a mold, my friend. We roll each one by hand and they bear the mark of uniqueness common to handmade glass.  Each one is a solid riot of color!

 

·      Hand-blown in the U.S.A. at our Virginia Studio

·      9 Inches in diameter

·      Orbital hanger eye is sturdily built

·      Signed and dated

·      Sturdy Hook & Instructions For Hanging Included

 

 

Caliope

Calliope

You have been all across our site and can’t make up your mind.  Calliope comes to the rescue in her broad reach of colors that will look great in just about any kind of décor (even if your décor changes-how cool is that!).  Includes blues, gold’s, greens, oranges and a flirtation with some pink ruby.

 

·      Hand-blown in the U.S.A. at our Virginia Studio

·      9 Inches in diameter

·      Orbital hanger eye is sturdily built

·      Signed and dated

·      Sturdy Hook & Instructions For Hanging Included

 

 

Earth_Wind_And_Fire_Orbital_HR

Earth Wind & Fire

Where else can you be confronted with all elements together in one place than here on earth?  Out on the ocean, split by sky, grounded in earth, and enlivened by fire, this Orbital bears banded blends of lively color ready to set your soul on fire as it cools your mind and helps your heart learn how to stand in the center of wonder.  Hand blown, each spot of color lays in its own way and melts, as it will, making each piece unique. The revolution begins here.

 

·      Hand-blown in the U.S.A. at our Virginia Studio

·      9 Inches in diameter

·      Orbital hanger eye is sturdily built

·      Signed and dated

·      Sturdy Hook & Instructions For Hanging Included

 

 

Mango_Multiverse_Orbital_Sized

Mango Multiverse

This Orbital will take your through an upward spinning journey from peachy oranges up into a multiverse of green, blue, and light sky blue. Is there anywhere you can’t go?  Hand-blown, each piece is unique, like a sibling all bound by the same design DNA.

 

·      Hand-blown in the U.S.A. at our Virginia Studio

·      9 Inches in diameter

·      Orbital hanger eye is sturdily built

·      Signed and dated

·      Sturdy Hook & Instructions For Hanging Included

 

 

Green Optic View2 Sized

Milette’s Garden

Somewhere in the south of France, she tends her garden, humming a tune as birds fly overhead.  This Orbital has a beautiful emerald green with highlights of gold’s, peaches, splashes of sky, reds and blues. Like grasses woven one into the other, you could swear you feel the wind as it whispers to you from a faraway time and place.  Handmade with love, each piece is unique but made from the same landscape where Milette dreams.

 

·      Hand-blown in the U.S.A. at our Virginia Studio

·      9 Inches in diameter

·      Orbital hanger eye is sturdily built

·      Signed and dated

·      Sturdy Hook & Instructions For Hanging Included

 

Oceanic_Borealis_Sized

Oceanic Borealis

A deep ocean of blue rises up through its watery depths with streams of green and splashes of yellow/gold.  Changing in the light, colors interact and blend with each other in fields of watery wonder. Turn it this way and that, you get to choose exactly which view works best to remind you of aquatic dreams.  Made entirely by hand, slight differences exist that give each piece its stamp of uniqueness.  We make it just for you, with love.

 

·      Hand-blown in the U.S.A. at our Virginia Studio

·      9 Inches in diameter

·      Orbital hanger eye is sturdily built

·      Signed and dated

·      Sturdy Hook & Instructions For Hanging Included

 

 

Purple_Passion_Sunset_Orbital_Sized

Purple Sunset Bliss

Here is how this vision unfolds: streams of purple and pink ruby twist around the body of this Orbital, a sun catcher like no other.  It is punctuated with streams of orange/gold lit with flecks of red.  Like a sunset, the view changes as you turn these in the light.  Hand blown, each one has its own unique story to tell.

 

·      Hand-blown in the U.S.A. at our Virginia Studio

·      9 Inches in diameter

·      Orbital hanger eye is sturdily built

·      Signed and dated

·      Sturdy Hook & Instructions For Hanging Included

BG Optic Top View Sized.jpg

Sky Dream

Sometimes you have to stay in while it rains and let the sound surround you as you wait for a dreamy patch of sky to open up, teasing you into the light.  Ladders of gold sun dance through the clouds as you dream in poetry.  Let the muses take you in this woven work of emerald and cobalt.  Gold shimmers in highlights along the top.  Ribbed, colors fold over and blend dreamily.  You are getting sleepy…Made with love and born from fire, because ours are hand-rolled and blown, each piece is unique but bears the same patch of sky each time with a little more wind here, a little less downpour there.

 

·      Hand-blown in the U.S.A. at our Virginia Studio

·      9 Inches in diameter

·      Orbital hanger eye is sturdily built

·      Signed and dated

·      Sturdy Hook & Instructions For Hanging Included

 

Wavy Purple Top View Sized

Wavy Purple Plum

Purple, pink ruby and splashes of orange are woven like the tresses of a transcendental mermaid who catches you in her otherworldly dream.  Only love makes things like this.  Hand-blown, each piece has its own song to sing you.  Let us start the music for you.

Art and Design, glassblowing

New Year (Glass) Wishes


No Comments

Orbit Slice Copyright

Over the last few years I have been taking photographs of my glass and finding that the more I zoom into the work, the more interesting the landscapes are that I get.  This is a process that believe it or not does not involve any post-production manipulation like filters or special effects. Everything that you see is as the camera saw it.  The difference for me with many of my pictures is HOW I choose to shoot the work.  Again, this is using direct sunlight, no special effects of any kind.  The key has been how I shoot the work, the lenses I use, the light I have and the object that I am photographing.  In my case, I have determined that some work photographs better than others in this way.

As we near a new year, I am reflecting a little on some of the pieces that came about this past year and I thought I would share some with you.  These are just a few of them.


 

Deep Orbit 2 Copyright

 

Some of my pictures look like surreal landscapes, maybe even from another world.  This is due to the fact that I am giving people a view into glass that most people do not see.  I am shooting glass objects at a high degree of magnification and under very high resolution.  As a result, I might turn a half-inch square into a 72 inch square.  Under these conditions, levels of detail emerge that the naked eye simply may never see.  In other cases, I am not photographing quit this tightly.  In this case, the glass will most often LOOK more like….glass.

Orbital Landscape Copyright

I like both ends of this spectrum and I have shot thousands of photographs now using my own blown glass as a subject.  You might wonder what I am trying to achieve.  Its a good question. In the beginning, I had no idea where the work was going.  I was photographing my work because a friend had sent me some photographs she took of some of my orbs up close. They were high resolution.  I blew one up and kept blowing it up until I realized that the lens she used continued to give good resolution of the glass surface.  This got me thinking and exploring.  I still am not sure where this type of work is going, except that I like it and I am going to continue doing it.  Something interesting happens when you allow yourself to not know where something is headed; it is suddenly free to go anywhere….even places you had never considered before.

From 0862-2Copyright

As I get older, technique does not dazzle me as much as it used to.  Its important, don’t get me wrong, its just that there is more to artistry than just technique. Sometimes our biggest problems lie in what we are unable to imagine….because we have limited ourselves creatively too much.  I see this all the time in school where people want to play it safe and get a good grade. The real fun is out on a limb, never sure when you might plop down on the ground.  Its there, on that limb, that the good fruit is nearly always plucked.

So often I find I am limited by my own biases of what I think I should be doing or that I am capable of doing that I literally squeeze out vast tracks of possibilities in my creative life.  As artists, we have to do this in order to create work that is coherent and focused, but this is a sword with two sides.  I use this work to keep me with something new and different running in the background.  And really, does it need to be anything?  After all, what are most of the “beautiful” materials in the world but a deep visceral reaction to things that are shiny, brilliant and brightly colored? When we say “eye candy” this is what we mean.

IMG_0876Copyright

Often “eye candy” gets smeared with a sense of vacuity though, as though this feeds the eye but not the soul. I am not entirely sure that this is so. In fact, I think that our need for great color and brilliance is so total that we could probably look at these kinds of things and be fed at a deep level.  In fact, this is just what we do when we look at a cut diamond, or a shiny metal surface.  What I am saying is that we ought not feel bad for loving the simple pleasure of a brilliant color.  After all, art emulates nature, and what we see in my glass is what we also see in nature, and it is that very nature that has informed our likes and dislikes.

Vertical Orbit Full resized Copyright

I find that when I am creating this work, I am an explorer.  I am seeking to see how far into the glass I can go to see what there is to see, to even go beyond the eye and its capacity to see the ordinary in order to pluck something from it that is extraordinary.  These are interesting pieces in their own right, and as they continue to emerge in an ever-interesting array of new forms and landscapes, I remain engaged in seeing where it will take me. Oh, and Happy New Year, everyone!  Here’s hoping that 2016 is a great year!Thanks for all your support!

 

Uncategorized

The Promise Of The Creative


No Comments
©Parker Stafford
©Parker Stafford

Many years ago I had a series of dreams where Picasso would show up and teach me something related to art.  I don’t fully understand why I would have Picasso of all people showing up in my dream landscape except to act in a symbolic role as a creative catalyst.  Picasso casts such a long shadow on so much, and from a historical perspective, I get it.  I just never connected with his work that much.  These dreams though ran the gamut from technique to content concerns in art.  One of them helped to cement a notion that I probably had rolling around in the back of my head which I managed to bring more to the forefront of awareness, which is how as artists, we take nothing for granted.  It is this sense that birthed the modern movement in art, breaking away from sheer representation of objects as had been the way for centuries, to a complete departure from what all of that entailed.  It has given birth to Pop, Op, Surrealism, and a slew of movements within modernism.

In this dream, I am looking out across a grass-filled yard and I see a figure down on his knees looking at the ground.  There he was, and he was beckoning me to come closer.  I walked up to him, wondering what this was all about and he looked at me with these wide eyes and said, “If you look at the surface of things, you wont see it.  Don’t take what you see for granted; there are worlds right in front of you!”  He then nestled his nose down into the grass and urged me to stick my face down in the grass, which I did.  He pushed me to nose down deeper into the grass.  As I looked, I saw how the grass became a canopy, and that canopy opened up into a dense realm of life beneath seeing.  He urged me, “Look deeper!” and as I did so, I saw ants, which had been nothing but specks, explode into view.  Small mushrooms that were growing beneath the grass loomed into view.  He kept pushing me, telling me how everything was animated inwardly by a life of its own.  It was this life that artists seek to bring to life, to show the inside of what life is about.  As I did this, I noticed how the mushrooms began to glow with something, a kind of light or life within them.  It was in some ways indistinct, and yet, what it told me was that what I normally would pass over, had its own reality, its own importance if we could stop long enough to just see it.  We miss these things because we simply do not take the time and focus in a very particular way to soak this life up.  This might seem “woo-woo” to you, but it is widely known amongst the mystics and inner seekers that a part of all seeing is only possible by looking within.  There is a reason for this, but that is a story for another day.  This is where the realm of the ordinary doesn’t just transform but is revealed, perhaps for the first time.

For the last two years I have been slowly but surely studying glass in a way that is not too differently from that day in the grass with my Picasso.  I have begun to take my camera and use its power of magnification to get closer and deeper into the material in a way that most people do not see into.  Glass is itself not animate in the way ants or grass or mushrooms might be, but it is nonetheless a material that responds to the environment around it in fascinating ways, in ways that we might not always see simply because of the vast amount of information that our eye takes in and that our brains filter out.  I have begun this “close look” with no notion of just what I will find, and like an adventurer, have gone looking to see what is there.

Artists often pride themselves in how much control they have in their craft.  It is most often what makes artists what they are.  What they do is called art because they are able to transform the mundane until it becomes profound.  Whatever that means, it most often entails a technical capability to lay paint onto the canvas, or to push and shape raw clay into a myriad of amazing forms.  In my case, it is glass.

What I have been doing is filling folders with visual information, snippets, pieces, parts, and more.  I am like a woodsman gathering wood, thinking he might light a fire only to find that he is actually building a house.  Where this leads is already taking shape, and begins to form the corpus or body of a whole new direction creatively.  And it wasn’t really intentional, but the possibilities are so exciting that while it moves me away from my familiar 3-D orientation as an artist, it also moves me into realms that I find are marvelous.  In this way, the material I am gathering suggests certain directions. I am making decisions all the way, but it feels far more collaborative a process than has been the case in the past.  I like this.  I like tricking myself into thinking I have no earthly idea what will come next, because in truth, my intuition has built a realm of possibilities all floating in front of me, or just behind my eyes and sometimes behind my awareness.  I LIKE working this way for the simple reason that when I work so rationally and intentionally as I used to, the results are rarely as good or as exciting as when I let go and allow something a little broader and perhaps beyond the scope of my rational to take the reins.  Again, that might sound woo-woo to some, but it is in truth what all the great thinkers and mystics down through the ages have been pointing to as a hitherto lesser known part of ourselves.  Its less intending as it is letting go of the vast filtering and biasing effect that take place within our minds every single second of every day in order to touch on another aspect of who and what we are.  Mind you, I am not saying that I am relying on accident.  Accidents can sometimes suggest new directions simply because you never had thought of it and some random movement or event in the studio results in such an outcome.  Certainly Jackson Pollock looked down at the paint dribble that had landed on his canvas and decided to try a little more, then more, and then wound up filling canvases with it.  This is less accident and more suggestion.  But the suggestion exists simply because I am so open to it.

IMG_0870
Orbital #4

The images that you see are copies of images that exist in high resolution taken in certain kinds of lighting and at just the right angle.  I am seeking to get the glass to show me how it can look different as I move it around in the light.  From one single three-inch swath, I can get five completely different results based on the angle the glass has to the light and what lies behind the glass itself.  I am investigating just how interactive glass is in its environment.  It offers up some amazing possibilities.  Many of the images that I am showing here came from just a couple of pieces of blown glass from the studio.

IMG_0911

I call these “Orbitals” partly because the forms that the glass pieces take.  They are round, and they suggest environments, worlds, planets of some sort, perhaps.  Some beg to be scanned, and some have no focal point.  This is where I come in by using these images as the basis for assembling a new form with these images as part of the material from which I will draw.  This work is in its early stages, even after two years of doing this close up work.  It has grown and developed from a series of photos taken from some of my pieces by a client and friend who found them fascinating up close.  I do too, and I have taken this and run with it, although in the beginning I had no idea where it was leading.

To be clear, though, the images aren’t manipulated in post production hardly at all.  The most I ever do is to adjust lighting and adjust sharpness.  Everything else, though, is as I saw it originally, which are amazingly rich and fascinating landscapes, environments, and even worlds within the one we normally see.

Orbital Landscape 2
Orbital Landscape

Certainly these will lead to painting on large shaped canvases of some sort, but exactly how this all comes together is a work in progress.  And really, this is what I am doing, giving you a peek into this early stage process and hoping that perhaps in some small way, it can serve as inspiration for you in your day to day to see things differently.  Sometimes, looking beyond the obvious is all that it takes!