Visual Stories

Visual Stories

In designing new work I often start by deciding on an overall theme or 'vibe' for the piece.  Then I go about determining all the patterns, colors and transparency that will create this vibe.  Each of these broad attributes of the work has its own dynamics (i.e.: hue, chroma, value, depth) which of course I agonize over before even getting to designing patterns. 

Once I've decided on colors and patterned elements, I make them in the hot shop.  Once cooled overnight, they are sliced into hundreds of patterned tiles (murrine) and I begin to compose the piece on a large piece of kiln shelf, which we will eventually heat up to fuse all the patterns together just before we blow the piece. 

Designing the work in the calm of my studio while listening to music is a process of arranging all the cane (rods) and murrine (patterned tiles) into essentially mosaics, making artistic decisions about what goes where and determining the relationships between the patterns.  For hours I'll debate where I want stripes, where I want windows, which direction lines flow, etc.--it is all of these artistic decisions I agonize over way before getting to blowing the work in the hot shop.  The blowing, while critical to the success of the piece, is really just executing the work and the function of craft.

In working through designing a work, I focus a great deal on how close-up views of the work play and contribute to the overall composition and vibe of the piece.  The best way to describe this came from a curator who was reacting to my work.  She remarked that my work has many different 'visual stories,' referring to all the different sections of patterns and how they harmonize with each other.  I often think of these 'visual stories' as the visual expression of music, with patterns being riffs and other patterns being a bridge or chorus that all add up to a song/piece.  I've given some thought to the relationship between the visual arts and math and music.

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