The first week in April I brought home an aluminum butterfly sculpture courtesy of http://www.butterfliesandfriends.org/ .
The design I submitted for the project covers the life-cycle of the butterfly and is worked in glass mosaics. The first step was to transfer the design to the wings. Once this was done I started with the inside wing sections. The first thing to be glued on were the "caterpillars".
These caterpillars are made from back-painted clear glass gems with oil enamel paint.
Next the leaf shapes went on. I worked with scrap stained glass sorted into 6 separate tonal qualities.
In the next blog post I'll go through the process of working the outer wings.
Here again we see the same motif as in the last piece blogged about. The difference here is that the base has been painted in yellow/gold tones and the floral elements are collaged.
For the collage areas I took book pages, collaged them to a base piece of paper and then collaged colored tissue paper over them. Once the sheets were dry I cut out the shapes I wanted and collaged them to the base. The book that was used is a paper-back version of "Of Human Bondage" that literally fell apart as I read it.
The stem is made from opaque glass tiles, the leaves and petals are mosaiced in tempered glass, and the background is worked in plate glass.
The white areas your seeing in this photo are where the glue has not yet dried clear.
I splattered a lighter tint of paint behind in the petal area before adding the petal shapes, but it doesn't show up as well in the photos.
I also added some painted effects to the flower petals before mosaicing them.
The piece is finished with a yellow/gold grout.
There are 3 separate pieces in this series, each using the same motif but different techniques, styles and materials.
With this one I first collaged the board with sewing patterns and other brown papers.
The flower petals are worked in sheet music covered with tissue paper. The leaves are book pages covered in tissue paper.
The "halo" around the flower is gold leaf over the base collage.
The stem is worked in architectural clear glass backed with copper leaf.
The vertical stripes that break up the background are some computer components I collected along the way.
The leaves and flower petals are mosaiced in clear window glass. The background in tempered glass.
The grout is a yellow/tan color.
I started with a 9" x 14" piece of 1/4" thick hardboard. For the base layer I collaged blue tissue paper. Then I added strips of other blue paper. Some are solid, some are altered papers from National Geographic Magazine, and some are foiled.
I found a large piece of fused glass that came from somewhere in my collection and knew I wanted to add this as well.
For the mosaic layer I worked in some blue Slivercoat (a clear blue glass with a mirror backing) and strips of clear glass. The background was then finished with a random pattern worked in tempered glass.
The name of the piece reflects the interplay of rhythm between the collage layer and the glass layer. I decided it needed a musical title.
Grey grout finished the work.
As you may have noticed I'm doing a series of sessions about how specific pieces came into being. I'm toying with what to call these. If you have any opinions, I'd love to hear them.
I call this series of works "Detritus" because the pieces are influenced by and created from bits of things that come into my life.
The elements of this piece all have an Asian starting point--Bee and Flower sandalwood soap wrappers, Jasmine tea wrapper, and origami paper.
Red seemed to be a good color to tie everything together. I added a large fused-glass focal point and smaller gold-tone fused glass bits to add more movement and interest. I put the three small circles--2 seals from the soap and a brand logo from the tea package--under some clear glass gems (that's what those white blobs are--they'll dry clear).
And here we have the finished piece. The origami paper has been mosaiced with clear tempered glass and grouted red. The piece is finished with a coat of varnish to keep everything safe.
Grouting: one of the most uncertain parts of the process.
I wanted the flowers to be grouted white, to help them stand out against the darker background. When grouting with 2 colors you need to grout in 2 sittings. So I taped off the area around the flowers first so the white grout wouldn't bleed into the background.
Once that was done I removed the tape and left it to sit for a bit, then taped off the flowers so they wouldn't collect the darker background grout.
I had some light purple grout left from a different project so I put that on the leaves/lily pads to let them stand out a bit. (Grouting is such a messy process that I usually wait until I have several pieces to do.)
I tried working some light blue and black grouts together on the background, but I didn't like the result so I cleaned most of that off and reworked that area, and the rest of the background in black grout. Now we wait with fingers crossed (and let me tell you it's hard typing with crossed fingers).
Gluing glass to collage pretty much commits you to what you have done. It cannot be undone without destroying the collage work. So before I could go to the next step I needed to work out some design ideas.
I photographed the work and played with it in a sketch program until I was happy with the direction.
Now for the fun part! I knew I wanted the mirror specks randomly placed throughout the "water."
Opaque white glass outlines and accents the flower petals.
the leaves and lily pads got treated to some translucent green glass.
Clear tempered glass filled in the petals, leaves, and lily pads.
Then the background was worked in a clear window-type glass in a pattern I like to call a feather cut. The look is achieved by making shallow cuts along the outer edge of the piece of glass with a dual-wheeled glass cutter
Next: Part 3--Grouting.
Right now I'm waiting. The glass experiment in the kiln is cooling; the paint on the new piece of work is drying; another piece is almost ready to continue with but could use a few more minutes; the cement on the sculpture is curing; and I've just started washing a load of clothes. In reality the only thing I could dive into right now are the piles of dirty dishes in the kitchen--and I just don't have the creative energy to take on anything else at the moment so they'll have to wait.
In no particular order, I am a wife; an artist working in glass, collage, paint, mosaics, fiber, plastic, and/or computer; an avid reader; an oldest child; president and member of an artists co-op; a former editor and grammar freak; teacher; friend; singer; and/or all-around know-it-all.