Monday, September 11, 2017

Of Hurricanes, Pumpkins and Repetition

Of Hurricanes, Pumpkins and Repetition

            So things here in Pensacola Florida have been stressful.  The hurricane has been, and is continuing to be, hellacious in other parts of Florida.  I have been running on high anxiety all week, educating myself on hurricane models and refining my hurricane plan.  My thoughts, worries and well wishes go out to the people and places that have been affected by Irma.  I feel very thankful to have never experienced a direct hit from a hurricane and I can’t help but feel kind of selfish for my relief. 
            When times are stressful I usually find solace in one of two places.  A climbing gym or a glassblowing studio – Currently, I don’t have access to a climbing gym but I do run a local glassblowing studio at the First City Art Center.  There is something inherently comforting about a glassblowing studio - the smell of wax, burned fruit woods and the hum, or in some cases, roar of the equipment. 

            In a strange way, glassblowing and rock climbing have a great deal in common.  Both activities require an absolute focus and a meditative state of mind.  They both call for soothing acts of repetition and have a humbling learning curve.  With both practices body mechanics are crucial -- Small changes in how you move your body and hands drastically change the outcome.
            I have always found repetition soothing, acts that take away my worries, my stress and demand my focus.  I am immensely grateful that my career calls for these kinds of tasks.   Normally, when I am overwhelmed and stressed I seek out a glassblowing studio.  I usually make cups -- A simple shape that can always be improved upon and refined, a shape that iterates quickly but is always interesting. 

At the First City Art Center in Pensacola Florida, the summer and fall are the seasons of the glass pumpkin.  We have a sale on October 13th and 14th where we will sell 3,500-4,000 glass and ceramic pumpkins.  This will be my second Pumpkin Patch since moving to Pensacola and starting my job as the head of the glass studio at the Art Center. Running the glassblowing studio I have made a fairly staggering number of glass pumpkins -- More than 600 but probably less than 700.  250 of which I will have for sale at this years Pumpkin Patch, 210 of which I sold at last year’s Pumpkin Patch and the rest have been produced as glass guild pumpkins which 100 percent of the proceeds to the Art Center.  While I still feel that making cups is the best way to relieve stress pumpkins have become a close second. 

Normally a lot of the things I make exist at a price point that is not accessible to my friends and peers.  That is not true of glass pumpkins; they range from 35 to 85 dollars.  If you would like a glass pumpkin please send me a message on Facebook or shoot me an email at  Or better yet if you are near to Pensacola come to our Pumpkin Patch on October 13th and 14th and see the spectacle. 


When I first moved down to Florida I was half convinced that the glass community of Pensacola was playing the most elaborate joke in the world on the new guy.  But the amount, the variety, the crowd and the joy are a sight to see.  If you have questions about where I work check out   I took a small sampling of photos of this years crop.  If you have any questions about price or want an individual photo of a specific color or shape pumpkin do not hesitate to ask.   Please feel free to share far and wide.

Thanks for looking/reading!!!    

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Gearing up for my thesis show.

My thesis show will be March 3rd to March 11th in the Carroll Gallery at Tulane University.  My gallery talk will be Thursday March 10th.  Needless to say I have been working very hard towards this show for the past two years and am excited when I am not terrified.  I have been as per usual neglecting my blog but I thought I'd post some images of the things I have been working on/towards.

 This is a piece I have been working on for approximately one forever.  I think I cast the glass for it last spring?  It has been gratifying to see it come together.  Only slightly less whenever I have to move it.  It is a heavy one!   There is going to be a lighting projection mapping element that I still need to figure out.

 This piece is part of a triptych, that will get LED lights on the back so it will be able to be illuminated like the piece underneath it.  The triptych won't have any text.

I will hopefully have a couple more new images shortly.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

An installation and a couple smaller works

So I have been casting lets go with lots of rectangular glass blocks or bricks is probably a more apropos descriptor being that I am building a wall.  This is one of the first installations of it.  I blocked a doorway for a couple days.  I don't imagine the fire marshal would of been pleased but, it gave me time to futz with the video for the projection that goes on it.  I will have video footage from the instal as soon as I figure out how to make it small enough to be uploaded onto a blog post.    

I also have a couple smaller finished pieces that got done in the past couple weeks.  The smaller work keeps me sane, and allows me to actually finish things while the large scale work for my thesis show is still in progress... Agonizingly slow progress.  The door I want to block for my thesis show is a little more than double that doorways size and its definitely won't be the largest piece in the show.  

These are both still untitled... The glass and brick one might get a title dealing with firehouses or an architectural study.  The glass and concrete one might just get called Cairn for Lost Roads II or something that feels similar to that title as the piece functions much like this piece which is called Cairn for Lost Roads . . . 

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Evolution of Art Work.

So I was about to say lets start at the beginning – but that is almost to difficult to pin point.   So I guess we should start with a drawing.  

I drew this partially as a response to having access to new technology.  Namely a CNC router, I am a competent wood worker and yes given the time and frightening number of jigs I could make this.  But the router cut 6 sheets of 4 foot x 4 foot concentric circles with flat spots to lay glass on in about 3 hours.  Which gave me an amazing number of part.  Ironically enough this piece has not progressed much farther than this, I am struggling with some hardware issues.  That and I am being indecisive. I have the wood and glass made but have not figured out what the bolts will look like, I might need to black smith them.  
     In order to fabricate the above image I need 36 or 37 pieces of 3 ½” in x 16 “ glass with two holes drilled in them.  The glass drilling process breaks glass sometimes so you make extra,  maybe 60 of them striving for constancy of color.  60 pieces of glass that size at about 6 pounds a per piece is roughly 360 pounds as one would expect that much glass takes up space and even if you weren’t inclined to obsessively stack things (which I am) I ended up stacking a lot of rectangles.  I liked the little sketches this stacking process created.   This brought to me changing the color of the tank to create an analogous but different set of colored rectangles and then I started cutting and polishing them to create a wider variety of shapes.  Which lead to this piece called Meditations on Stacking

 Which I installed a couple different times, and each time the piece looks similar but pronouncedly different.  As one might guess its a meditative but precarious process.  Next I decided I wanted bigger bricks to play with. The didn’t really work with the obsessive stacking but they worked great with some of the rings/barrels/wheels I had cut earlier. 

Then the summer happened and I couldn’t keep making glass because our furnaces go cold so I turned my eyes to the hundreds of pounds of glass I had stacked in various nooks and crannies around the studio.   

Which was rapidly followed by



Both three of these wood structures I just started chopping up the rings I had cut on the CNC and allowed myself to play.   Next I started thinking about the process for making the rings laminating plywood, which made me think back to earlier work

Which reminded me I had been neglecting some of the functional things I had intentions of making.  Which might also double as a pedestal for Argo. 

Plywood and cast glass end table 

 Plywood Plantstand 

Reclaimed Pine and Blue Glass Table 

So I still have not finished the original idea, I will but first I think I want to install it a different way

But I will have 10ish  finished pieces as a response to a single drawing.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Fuctional things are easy on my brain.

       So my thesis show for my MFA at Tulane is March 2nd -11th.   I don't know the date of the reception yet but that isn't the point.  The point is that thought runs through my head like a scary, exciting but mostly scary ALARM BELL.  A couple times most days, this is extra stressful right now because Tulane's furnaces are cold for the summer.  My brain knows casting right now would be kinda awful but it doesn't prevent the anxiety.  Normally when I am stressed in the studio, I blow glass cups.  It's easy, I can do it by myself and you end up with a finished product.  But our furnaces are cold, you see its starting to become a cyclical problem.  So I thought to myself what other processes to I find intrinsically soothing.  
       Cold working, did a couple days of that but it wasn't doing the trick, and it takes forever to get to a finished product.  Then I remember that, I am perhaps best at production wood working, two years of building big furniture grade crates 40 hours a week and that is not quite 10000 hours but it's a ways towards mastery.  So I snagged some of the wood from the junk pile by my neighbors house and bought a 22 dollar piece of plywood and made a big old mess.  I am gonna walk you through the whole process of one of the tables I made.

 A half sheet of cheap 3/4 in plywood.  I have a truck this week so it was even easy to get the shop

 Then I ripped the plywood down into an obsessive amount of 1 and 3/8 inch strips.  The planner in our shop doesn't work right now so I was just planning on laminated them together and using the table saw to get them down to the one inch thickness I wanted.

Next I used a staple gun and a bunch of wood glue and laminated the strips together.  The clamps are not strictly needed but they will squeeze any tiny gaps left after the stapling and gluing process.  

 I trimmed the my plywood end grain board I had made to fit a piece of glass I had cast this spring.  

For the legs I cut my strips at about 3 inches, so I could end up with four 3" x 3"  plywood legs

More gluing, stapling and clamping

Now I put the base of the table together, you don't see the connections so I glues, screwed and stapled.

Sometimes things are easier to assemble upside down.

 It needs is a bit more sanding and a light stain and some poly.   Oh and photographs not taken with my phone.  

 This is the table I made first using just reclaimed pine that I left pretty rough and the parts I did cut I took an acetylene torch to rough back up and make the weathered coloring.  It also needs some sort of a finish but I don't actually know how to finish something that's all toothy and weather.  But I have been asking the Internet some pointed questions and will do some tests.