How do you see new work - WarmGlass.com

How do you see new work

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Amy Schleif-Mohr
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How do you see new work

Postby Amy Schleif-Mohr » Mon Mar 15, 2004 6:15 pm

Ok, I've been hanging out here this afternoon. I was reading the thread that Jackie started and then took a long look at the photographer's web site that Lani posted. The images on the photographer's site got me thinking, how did they envision these images. Then I thought about how I envision my work. Like when a new piece comes to mind. For me, I compose new pieces a couple of different ways. One way, is when I'm just on the edge of sleep. I think that my imagination is pretty free at this point and all the left brain stuff from the day bleeds away and my right brain takes over, just in time for dreams. Another way happens when I'm driving, usually on the freeway and I'm alone and have time to think about form and composition. The last way is just spending time in front of a large piece of paper drawing. I never am there with a destination in mind I just draw and wait to see what comes out. After a session of drawing I put the drawings away for a day or two, not hidden but just in the background. Then when I'm ready I come back to them and see what I've got, sometimes there are several sections of the drawings that I can use, sometimes there isn't a thing there.

What/how do you all compose?

Amy

Bert Weiss
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Postby Bert Weiss » Mon Mar 15, 2004 6:48 pm

Sometimes an idea just hits me. I was thinking about what to demo for my painting on glass class and I got the idea to try and make a reverse painting with a gold coating and fire it gold side down right in a slumping mold. I have noticed that the mica protects enamel from picking up mold marks and kiln wash.

I had never done a reverse painting quite like this. I had never fired enameled glass enamel side down (almost never). The more I thought about the idea, the more I decided it would likely be successful and I decided to try it. The results were wonderful.

At home I have done a few more and I am beginning to tune in to more and less successful effects. The first one was pretty good beginners luck, and now I am going through the learning curve to see where the best pop is, relative to color mixing and density of application. Soon I hope to have an idea of how to make a nice piece with regularity.
Bert

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Phil Hoppes
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Postby Phil Hoppes » Mon Mar 15, 2004 7:25 pm

Intersting you made this post Amy, I just posted a comment on Jackies post a little along these lines. To answer you question directly, I'm like you, I think my best ideas come after I've put a little thought into something, say to give it a direction and then "put it on a shelf" for a little bit. I find, at all times of day but often like you, just before I'm about to sleep or in the shower in the morning, I'll be thinking about something else and BAM, an idea for a project comes into my head. It frustrates me when it happens during the just about asleep time as I'll wake up ticked off because I'll think to myself that I had a great idea and then I can remember what the heck it was in the morning. ](*,)

Anyway, it seems to work best when I'm not trying to force it. Also I enjoy the inputs from others, especially my wife Lynn. I'll have some hairbrained idea and ask her into the studio and sometimes I'll get a OOOO and AHHHH, and other times I get "You arn't serious about those colors are you?" [-(
Good feedback both ways.

Phil

Glenda Kronke
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New work

Postby Glenda Kronke » Mon Mar 15, 2004 8:14 pm

Hi Amy,

I have been reading Jackie's thread with intrest, too. I like that you are asking a direct question. (How do you compose?) My short answer is I don't. :oops: But I am on a journey and from the sound of things, it looks like I am going at this all backasswards.

I am really turned on by textures and the feel of glass. I like playing with all kinds of techniques. I start out with an idea for a technique or texture without regards to what the finished piece will be. I'm interested in the texture or what the technique's results are.

I hardly ever start out thinking about what the piece will be in the end. If I have tried a technique or texture using a round blank and I find that piece interesting, I am stuck as to where to go from there. Slump it into a bowl? Put it on a metal stand? Hang it on the wall? It seems to me I get the most pleasure out of the process of actually doing it...and seeing what the outcome is.

In a recent email with Catharine Newell, I expressed my frustration with having many, many 'samples' (for lack of a better word) but only a very few 'finished' pieces. Catharine suggested I put these pieces away (like your drawings?) and let them gel a while and start composing....

Sounds like sage advice to me.... I'm just having a hard time with the starting point (or is it the end result...I'm confused :roll: )

glenda

dee
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Re: How do you see new work

Postby dee » Mon Mar 15, 2004 9:28 pm

Amy Schleif-Mohr wrote:Ok, I've been hanging out here this afternoon. I was reading the thread that Jackie started and then took a long look at the photographer's web site that Lani posted. The images on the photographer's site got me thinking, how did they envision these images. Then I thought about how I envision my work. Like when a new piece comes to mind. For me, I compose new pieces a couple of different ways. One way, is when I'm just on the edge of sleep. I think that my imagination is pretty free at this point and all the left brain stuff from the day bleeds away and my right brain takes over, just in time for dreams. Another way happens when I'm driving, usually on the freeway and I'm alone and have time to think about form and composition. The last way is just spending time in front of a large piece of paper drawing. I never am there with a destination in mind I just draw and wait to see what comes out. After a session of drawing I put the drawings away for a day or two, not hidden but just in the background. Then when I'm ready I come back to them and see what I've got, sometimes there are several sections of the drawings that I can use, sometimes there isn't a thing there.

What/how do you all compose?

Amy


in a very similar fashion to you most times - drifting into sleep or waking up in the am, while driving by myself, recently when waiting for my husband to get thru a lung biopsy procedure i had to go down to the gift shop and get a pen and notebook as i had gotten very restless and for some reason had ideas cropping up and a list making urge ;P many times when i'm doing something that doesn't require hard concentration ideas come up and i am learning to write them down for later so i don't forget exactly what i was thinking.
D
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Jackie Beckman
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Postby Jackie Beckman » Mon Mar 15, 2004 11:45 pm

This is a good question Amy. It’s always nice to visit a topic like this on occasion to remind ourselves of the process; to actually think about what it is we’re doing rather than just doing it. I do all of the things I’m going to say in a rather subconscious fashion, but when asked, like you just did, how it is we achieve the end result, it breaks down like this.

I forget what it’s called, but there is a name for this when you’re doing creative writing. It’s the process of throwing out words – writing them down, drawing lines to connect the words that go together – there are major themes that develop this way, circle them, then lesser topics, and points you don’t want to forget. In writing it’s sort of like brainstorming and forming the beginning stages of an outline, or maybe even a “pre-outlineâ€

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Postby rosanna gusler » Tue Mar 16, 2004 8:01 am

in the car. my radio broke about 9 years ago. never got it fixed. amazing what you can accomplish mentally with out some salesman yelling at you. also falling asleep and waking up. around 4 am is a good time for me. i will get up and sketch then. i have piles of ideas. rosanna

PaulS
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Re: How do you see new work

Postby PaulS » Tue Mar 16, 2004 8:35 am

Amy Schleif-Mohr wrote:What/how do you all compose?

Amy



I'm fascinated by the properties of glass and its' ability to hold light inside itself, its' internal image, colour, footprint and its' ability to leave a shadow.

So my current series/style/mood/technique tries to bring out all those properties in an effort to humbly compliment the material.

From experience, powders, frit, streamers and thick glass are the best way to do that

Why I do it is because of the way I feel

</voice in the wilderness that never could understand the implemetation of apostrophes'>
It ain't where you're from, it's where you're at!

ellen abbott
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Postby ellen abbott » Tue Mar 16, 2004 11:19 am

On the edge of sleep. Sometimes I remember these, sometimes not. My hope is that the ones I don't remember will resurface when I am ready for them.

On the eliptical at the gym. Bored, I try to occupy my mind. Also while I drive.

I have a sketch book that sometimes I will try to work out a series in or jot down quick images of ideas I don't want to forget. Oddly, I rarely do the ones that end up in the sketch book.

When I am sitting at my model-making work space, I start with a basic form (bowl, vase, rock) and freely compose. I have a subject matter in mind, lizard and ivy leaves for instance, so I start with my components and try different arrangements til I get the one that says yes. I suppose there is a subconscious motivator in there, a deeper message, but I am mostly unaware of it at the time of composition. I'm just trying for pretty, pleasing. When the piece is done, then it speaks it's name. And Marc is better at hearing it than I am. Other times, I know it's name and start with that, looking for the images to convey it.

E

Cynthia

Re: New work

Postby Cynthia » Tue Mar 16, 2004 1:39 pm

Glenda Kronke wrote:... My short answer is I don't. :oops: But I am on a journey and from the sound of things, it looks like I am going at this all backasswards.

I hardly ever start out thinking about what the piece will be in the end...It seems to me I get the most pleasure out of the process of actually doing it...and seeing what the outcome is... I'm just having a hard time with the starting point (or is it the end result...I'm confused :roll: )

glenda


Glenda,
So you are enjoying the process without thought to the end result. That isn't going about it all wrong, it's just one way of doing it. There are some exercises that you might like to try to get yourself into the design and compositional aspects of your work though. I hate the word exercise, it sounds like a chore rather than fun, but it should be fun.

Jackie was talking about free association earlier...or later in this thread. Try that. Sit down and doodle, sketch, write without any thought to what it will be, if it will be good, or if it will produce some earth shattering imagery. Just do it and do it after you have turned off your inner critic. That guy is mean and nasty at times and will stop you in your tracks before you can even take a step...Or at least mine can. :shock: Notice what is the common thread in these exercises. Do you tend to divide your page in a certain way, do you use a certain line quality or the same kinds of phrases? HOw do you balance the page, how do you feel when you make certain moves or say certain things? Don't over analyze it, just pay attention to the elephant in the room. You might not see him at first, but he's there.

I tend to work this way. I start out with a basic concept (and maybe it's as simple as "I want to use this inclusion glass I made") and in the process of laying out the work, one move tells me what the next one should be. This is true for me in drawing as well as glass. The best way to move forward is to just do it. Make a move, an intuitive one, or a forced one...If it's bad, it's bad, if it's good you take another step forward from that.

Along with some free association, you could try to deconstruct work (one of those pieces you have gelling on the shelf) you already have in progress. Try to take it apart and distill it down into the fewest elements you can have while keeping the integrity of the design. Or cut out a small section, the best thumbnail square out of the whole mess that is really great. You can find a gem in a failed piece...it's in there somewhere.

My favorite exercise is to make a piece that is the ugliest piece you can possibly make. This is the perfect exercise for silencing your own worst critic. If you take the pressure off to be really good, you discover that you actually can do good work, and you also become more willing to do not so good work. Hey, we all gotta kiss a few frogs....and if you resist the kiss, you aren't going to find the prince.


My best thinking/composing time is when I am walking, running or any solitary kind of exercise. I think it has more to do with shutting down my brain from flitting about with daily grind kinds of thoughts and the extra oxygen, the rhythm of movement or something like that allows my head to wander freely with just about any old thought. I think it's a form of free association like Jackie talks about. I wish I had a tape recorder and a camera in my head when I stumble across the best metaphor or line or color or....I have conversations with myself. Imaginary ones with others, but I am talking outloud (when caught in the act I feel a bit emberassed), hearing my thoughts makes them more retrievable for when I can take the time to jot them down. Driving alone is a good time to let my mind wander too. The trick is to get those thoughts recorded, because the light goes on, but when it goes back off you forget what it was was you were seeing.

Barbara Muth
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Postby Barbara Muth » Tue Mar 16, 2004 2:10 pm

I know this will sound weird, but I design the way I pack a suitcase. Before going on a trip I make about ten different packing lists, arranging and rearranging in my head what I will take with me. By the time I actually pack, I don’t use the list at all; it has become part of me.

Process:
The largest part of envisioning a piece happens when I don’t plan it. Subconscious sketching is what I do constantly – in meetings at work, at home, on the computer, on paper, in notebooks, on napkins, on post-its, when I wake in the middle of the night, when I am in line at the grocery, waiting for my husband in the metro parking lot, or just sitting in my quiet space. A theme evolves in the sketches or doodles and an idea comes for translating the theme into glass.

Then I begin purposefully sketching different expressions of that theme as it would be expressed in glass. I draw, draw, draw a lot before I get to what I think I want to build. The large part of work then involves either building the ideas from existing glass elements (which are threatening to take over the basement) or designing new elements to be incorporated into the piece.

While executing the piece, as happens with Jackie, I begin seeing new ways of implementing the design which takes me back to the purposeful sketching phase of this process. I also think about ways to make the process of execution more efficient the next time I do it.

Essentially the subconscious phase of the work is the phase where a design becomes mine. My brain is trying to tell me something and eventually, when the message gets through, the theme is there.

Inspiration:
Feeding my brain is also an important part of the process. Amy mentioned music and people watching. I spend a lot of time looking at art, in books, online, in museums and looking at everyday things as well. When I like something that I am looking at, I often think about the form and composition. It could be the brooch I have hanging on my bulletin board. I like the three colors, and the composition a lot. One day that composition may make it into a piece of mine, once it has become part of my subconscious and then translated into a theme. I can just as easily be inspired by the way my colored folders are hanging out in a hanging file folder on the wall of my cubicle, or the shape of the bottle of pomegranate juice on my table. I translate the everyday images into forms that resurface through the subconscious doodles. I have been ferreting away images of landscapes seen from airplane windows for years. The texture and colors have moved me ever since my first flight at the age of 2 – from sunset lit clouds, to late night velvet cityscapes to agrarian intersections…

Great question Amy.

Barbara
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Amy on Salt Spring
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Postby Amy on Salt Spring » Tue Mar 16, 2004 2:54 pm

My inspiration is usually a result of something that is going on in my life or something I am dealing with. For example "Shattered" came out of a really stressful and difficult time that ended up bringing about some good things. I wanted the feeling of something being broken but mended and perhaps more beautiful because of it. So I want to express something (I too like that time in bed falling asleep or waking up), I think of what I feel would express it and I get a rough idea in my mind which I will then move around and change until it expresses what I want. Then I go to my notebook. Often the piece is complete when I sketch it and looks pretty much the same when its finished (except on the page its surrounded by mathematical equations to figure out size, framing etc. I hate the fact that my math teachers were right when they said I would need math skills in my adult life). Sometimes I do sketch and resketch if its not working--but mostly its just a change I think of when I'm not in the book and then put down next to the original. No other way works for me. I have many nice pieces of glass that I have had for a year or more, some almost 2 years--I want to use them, keep trying to come up with a piece to use them in...nothing. Until I have some vision which happens to include them they will just gather dust. Also I once tried to design a piece completely in my sketch book. No vision, just hard work using some specific parameters given for a show. Worked, worked, worked--took up 14 pages front and back in my good sized sketch book. Executed the piece--took me more than three weeks (it was a large and very complicated piece). Finished it--complete failure. I hated it. It now sits in many component parts around my studio reminding me never to do that again!

Amy on Salt Spring
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Postby Amy on Salt Spring » Tue Mar 16, 2004 3:16 pm

Maybe we should have a thread about self doubt about your work and how to handle it...or am I the only one that deals with that?
Amy

Amy Schleif-Mohr
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Postby Amy Schleif-Mohr » Tue Mar 16, 2004 4:18 pm

Hahahaha I deal with self doubt on a daily basis. Don't feel as if you are alone in this. I am constantly asking myself, how dare I even think I am good enough to even think about attempting I can make something that I think is worth trying. How dare I?!

When I was in school one of my professors made a statement during a critique that has always stuck with me. She said it takes a huge amount of ego to just put a mark on a canvas. That kinda made me go holy s**t!

I think self doubt is a precarious thing. We as artists need a bit of it to foster growth but too much and it will paralize us.

It's a scarry thing being an artist.

Amy

Lauri Levanto
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Postby Lauri Levanto » Tue Mar 16, 2004 4:32 pm

Amy wrote:
...She said it takes a huge amount of ego to just put a mark on a canvas. That kinda made me go holy s**t!

kaj Frank, a top ranking Finnish designer (and glass artist)
said once to me. "If you have made one good piece, it shows you have talent, if you can't make more it shows you cant work. I thought that for some 30 years before I was ready
to start my third carries - as an artist.

Most of the time I am dreaming and attemptin more I can do. The ideas that get under work are a random collection.
But I am determined to work on those until it succeeds.
I have now spent a year with a 4" tall cast figurine.
One day it will come out of the kiln like I want it!
-lauri

ellen abbott
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Postby ellen abbott » Tue Mar 16, 2004 4:33 pm

A year or so ago, I found out that the Higuchis (the Japanese pate de verre artists) had a book, so I ordered it. Oh my God! Why do I even bother? It depressed me so much that it took me over a year before I could look at it again, which I did just this last weekend. And then it was in the context of showing it to someone else. Mind you, my own style and technique were well developed before I ever saw any of their work.

I, like most artists, get inspired by seeing other artists work, but theirs I'm better off not looking at.

E

Cynthia

Postby Cynthia » Tue Mar 16, 2004 4:39 pm

Amy Schleif-Mohr wrote: ...I think self doubt is a precarious thing. We as artists need a bit of it to foster growth but too much and it will paralize us.

It's a scarry thing being an artist.

Amy


Oy and double Oy. Self doubt is a destructive and useless tool. Let's find one that is more constructive and nurturing. How about self encouragement and to allow ourselves to stumble and fall in order to learn how to walk.

I couldn't agree more with what you said Amy, and Amy, you are not the only artist who struggles with self doubt...and that's what I meant about silencing the Evil Self Critic in ones head. I'm not talking about the constructive critic that helps us along in doing strong work, but the one who says...'You can't do this, your work sucks and always will.' Or when I compare myself to others... 'Hers is better, his is stronger, she makes more money, their work Is...yours Isn't." Ugh. That voice in my head has gotta go. I don't silence him (Evil Critic) as well as I should...but I sure as heck try to trick my way around him, bully him out of my way, fart in his general direction. :lol: ..you get what I mean. That's why I have to occasionally slap myself upside the head and remind myself that to do good work I will have to make a few (or a lot) bad moves. It's part of learning and growing and if you don't make the bad moves, how will you know when you make a good one? This reminder helps free me up from the Paralyzer.

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Postby AVLucky » Tue Mar 16, 2004 6:26 pm

I've found that the best ideas come to me when I just throw myself into the manual work and don't think about it too much. I try to produce a lot, and out of that amount most of it is nothing special. Usually, though, there will be at least the kernel of an idea to work from and develop. I kind of look at it as being similar to the way nature works: a plant might drop hundreds of seeds, but only a couple of them are going to take root, and out of those, not all will live to maturity.
I try to focus more on just keeping the machinery running. The activity of working on anything at all seems to generate creative energy whether you start with a plan or not. And there's nothing more paralyzing than being faced with a blank canvas (or a clear blank! :lol: ) and expecting yourself to pop out a masterpiece.
Looking back, it seems like my most fertile creative time was in college. Whenever I was overloaded trying to finish studio assignments, I always got dozens of ideas for other things I wanted to make. Then summer break would come, and I'd have tons of extra time, but no ideas whatsoever. I guess art just tends to perpetuate itself. It's a little harder to keep going full steam when you're the only one cracking the whip and imposing deadlines on yourself. I find it pretty difficult to make myself do things that I don't really have to do. Maybe, after having been away from it for long enough, I actually miss having homework. :shock: wow.

Amy on Salt Spring
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Postby Amy on Salt Spring » Tue Mar 16, 2004 7:06 pm

AVLucky wrote:I've found that the best ideas come to me when I just throw myself into the manual work and don't think about it too much. I try to produce a lot, and out of that amount most of it is nothing special. Usually, though, there will be at least the kernel of an idea to work from and develop. I kind of look at it as being similar to the way nature works: a plant might drop hundreds of seeds, but only a couple of them are going to take root, and out of those, not all will live to maturity.
I try to focus more on just keeping the machinery running. The activity of working on anything at all seems to generate creative energy whether you start with a plan or not. ....


Wow I could NEVER do that! Its so interesting how other people work. I do have sessions where I make a lot of little tests just for color or texture or if I like something more fused or less...I guess that is kind of similar. But I'm impressed that you can just throw yourself in and see what happens. To each his own as they say...but its fascinating to hear all this stuff.
Amy

Amy on Salt Spring
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Postby Amy on Salt Spring » Tue Mar 16, 2004 7:11 pm

Cynthia wrote:I couldn't agree more with what you said Amy, and Amy, you are not the only artist who struggles with self doubt...and that's what I meant about silencing the Evil Self Critic in ones head. I'm not talking about the constructive critic that helps us along in doing strong work, but the one who says...'You can't do this, your work sucks and always will.' Or when I compare myself to others... 'Hers is better, his is stronger, she makes more money, their work Is...yours Isn't." Ugh. That voice in my head has gotta go. I don't silence him (Evil Critic) as well as I should...but I sure as heck try to trick my way around him, bully him out of my way, fart in his general direction. :lol: ..you get what I mean. That's why I have to occasionally slap myself upside the head and remind myself that to do good work I will have to make a few (or a lot) bad moves. It's part of learning and growing and if you don't make the bad moves, how will you know when you make a good one? This reminder helps free me up from the Paralyzer.


My Evil Critic lives permanently on my shoulder, :twisted: see there he is right now. Thanks for this Cynthia--I actually never question that voice in my head--I just agree with it and let it make me miserable. Next time I'll try the bullying..I'm not sure about the farting though... :wink:
Amy


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