Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ciao to North Lands!

And so - completely filled with fresh ideas, new friends and Scottish food, and completely drained of energy and fresh clothing - I've come to the end of my time at North Lands.

I want to take this chance to say a MASSIVE thank you to Michael Scarrone and the rest of the team at the National Art Glass Gallery in Wagga Wagga for sending me over here - this has been an incredible, invaluable experience.

And a HUGE cheers to everyone at North Lands!!  I've learnt SO much and had a absolute blast. Thanks for looking after me so well! I can't wait to get back through those big red doors again!
For anyone who ever gets a chance to make it to North Lands - Make. It. Happen.
It's an incredible place and you won't regret it.

And of course, cheers to these two groups of gorgeous people!

What next --

For the next month I'm going to be traveling down the UK visiting studios and having a bit of a holiday.
I met so many great people at North Lands that I'm going to get to visit now, so I'll keep you a bit updated on the goings on from here in.

Next stop - Edinburgh!

My Finished "Ritual" Project!

These are some of the final images from the Ritual Project.
I did manage to scrape in 9!

Mostly I used clear glass tubing with different noble gases to get the different coloured light.
Argon + mercury is icy blue
Argon is a pale lilac
Neon is the bright orangy red
Krypton is a cold white
and Helium is a warm peachy colour

The first Ritual was a test really, to try get the hang of script. But we ended up developing a project around the idea of the ritual of making - the repetition of process, learning new materials, and grounding that (for this particular project) in the Caithness setting.
So there are 9 Rituals - one for each day of the course. And as I'd finish one, we'd take it outside somewhere to be photographed.

Whaligoe Steps


This one is black glass with a phosphor powder coating, which makes .... UV light!!!
i.e. the lights that make white things glow in clubs. 
The black glass was really tricky to work with because you can't see through it, so I kept blowing holes through it, not realising that the other side was very hot. 
Got there in the end though!

Dunbeath Harbor

Dunbeath Harbor


When they sit as a group in order of production you get a sense of the development through the "making ritual". The last few are far straighter and have better joins etc.
Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to wire them all up together, so that image will have to come in a few weeks.

And that's it for neon!! What a fantastic class! We all learned heaps, it was a wonderfully intense experience.
Fingers crossed that they all make it home in one piece!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Our Final Works, Class #2

After heaps of hard work (and stretching our teacher and TA to their limits!) we all came out with a bunch of works!

Cheers to Angus MacKay, for yet MORE fantastic images!

Sasha's Bow and Arrow --

Sasha's Lightening Ball --

Billy's Crazy-Cane-Bubbles Interactive Neon --

Scottish Sarah's Fire Neon --
This was taken in the abandoned farm house that we explored on the first or second day.

Some of my Rituals --
This was my second Ritual, filled with Argon gas
This was my ninth and last ritual!
Filled with argon and mercury, which is still processing in this image
(hence the uneven brightness along the tube)

Our Final Works, Class #1

 I've already posted the works that we finished in Petr Stanicky's class, but since then I've had access to Angus Mackay's significanly better images, so this should give you a better idea of what we produced!

Audrey's window piece --

Our final crit
 Patty's Sea Creature Suit --
(Patty usually does jewelry and her work is stunning. Give it a look!)

Jeffery's Cliff-to-Wall Structure --
(Also look at Jeff's work, if you're not already familiar with it. He is currently teaching at Sunderland National Glass Centre/Uni)

These are a few works that Petr whipped out in between helping us.
This was a giant piece of weathered polystyrene we found washed up on a beach. Petr thought it looked like an egg and installed it in this window nest in the ruin of Clythe Harbor --

This was the discovery and rescue of the polystyrene egg
 Petr also found this perfect equilateral triangle hole in a weathering cliff face. He made and installed this large sand-cast piece backed with mirror --

This is the view of it as you round the headland into Clythe Harbor
And these are Angus' images of my wall! --

The final crit
Farmer Ronny MacKay, who owns the wall!

My amazing helpers, Jimmy and Em

Proof of structural soundness!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

"Land to Sea" Performance

In 2012, Richard did a performance piece called "Land to Sea" at Bournemouth. 
A line of neon light was placed where the waves met the sand. He and a team of volunteers moved the line for a full tide cycle, keeping it constantly just out of reach of the waves.
(You can see that work, and some more of Richards stuff, here)

He decided to do the second edition of this performance in Caithness on the last night of our class. It wasn't technically part of the course, but we were all invited to take part in it. It was really cool to see Richard's work happening first hand, after having seen images of lots of his projects. 
(Photography by Angus Mackay)

Richard picked a small cove near Dunbeath Harbor.
The tide was followed through the night from 7 pm till 7 am.

This is Richard and Wil at sunset, having just wired up the first bank of neons. 

Moving the first bank into place. The completed light line ended up being 3 (or was it 4..) times this length.

It got quite dicey in the middle, because the low tide revealed heaps of algae-covered rocks which were hard to navigate in the dark. We could see a little by the neons light, but because it was so bright it blinded you to everything past a foot or two. I don't think we had any falls, but there were several feet accidentally sploshing in puddles!

A 1:30 am(ish) move.

Most of the night looked like this -- huddled around a beach fire with a bottle of red, while Richard ran up and down the light line making sure it was out of reach of surges.

This is the dawn to dusk crew! Mind you a few of us didn't survive the whole thing..

Billy, Sasha and I slept a good few hours in a blanket nest that we made on top of a pile of stones.

Richard and Wil, capturing the dawn light just before 7 am.

It was an awesome work, and really great to be part of.
Richard - if you end up reading this - cheers for the experience!

Floatillas - Neon Boats Project

Richard set the task of making floating boats and racing them in a nearby river.
The neons themselves are completely water proof, but the wiring, battery and transformer had to be protected somehow, the battery had to be readily accessible so it could be connected and properly sealed moments before racing, and the piece had to be able to withstand a bit of a bashing.

Here's what we came up with! (More images by Angus Mackay)
Sarah M's 'Boaty Floatilla', with battery hidden in the hull

Handsome Wil's 'Bomb Boat', with battery taped into the side bottle

Sasha's 'Framed Bulb Floatilla', with battery taped on the underside of the frame

Billie's 'I-don't-know-what Floatilla', with the battery taped to the neck

My 'Bottle Boat', with the battery floating behind in a sealed jar

Richards 'Suspended-By-Balloons-So-It-Can-Hardly-Be-Considered-A-'Boat', Lightning Floatilla', with the battery suspended in the balloon strings

This is us connecting our batteries just before dusk

Our Floatillas in action!!

Unfortunately, a couple of the Floatillas sank within seconds, and another few had electrical issues. For some reason, Sasha's light would go out when it touched the water, and would relight the second she pulled it out. Richard's Balloon Floatilla skimmed beautifully over rocks that the rest of ours got stuck on, but also tended to go cheekily upstream, back towards the starting line, when the breeze wasn't working in it's favor.

By the end there was lots of tromping through the cold stream in bare feet in the pitch dark to rescue sinking or stuck Floatillas, or - in Richard's case - to coax the Floatillas in the right direction.

In the end, only Handsome Wil's Bomb Boat made it the whole way fully lit, so we had a clear winner!
The whole night was great fun regardless!