Sunday, September 20, 2015

Grow Domes

I started off today tired, grumpy and indecisive. Generally a little dark cloud just looking for an unwilling victim to unleash my rage on. I end, a pale grey cloud who got a bunch of stuff done and is kind of on top of things.

I made these cute "Grow Domes" that I am going to put into a group show called "The Secret Garden" that opens in Melbs later this month. I think they turned out pretty sweet. And who doesn't love using a hot glue gun? No one, thats who. I think it's going to be a cute show and I'm sad I won't be there because I'll be in Adelaide making a million lights....

I think I am going to make some more of these for my solo next year. I'm so close to being able to make on my close. A buddy helped me out on the weekend and installed my controller for me so now I can get the kiln to hold temp. (Oh, and here's a big fucking tip I wish I had known, Tim told me he could have just change the original controller for me! Say WHAT?! So I didn't need to spend $400 on a controller, I just could have bought Timmy a beer and he could have messed with it to do what I want. Let that be a lesson to all you glassies out there, get a sparky in to look at your shit before you buy other shit you ultimately don't need. Good to know, now you can buy me a beer to say thanks.)

I also got to teach a dog to catch a frisbee on the weekend. It was the best!

And not to be outdone, Mont then taught Nova to do the cat flop.

Victories all round.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Springin in the step

Hello friends! Spring is here! (Well you might be mistaken for thinking it was still winter in melbs after that fucking torrential downpour last night but what evs)

Spring just made me feel instantly better. I loved seeing our apricot tree puff out into gorgeous marshmallowy puffs then just a week later there was gorgeous plump new leaves! So good. Even my old friend the maple is back (My sister gave him to me for Christmas and shortly after all his leaves shrivelled and he rapidly turned to brittle stick...) The nasturtions are fucking off the hook! Swirling their little tendrils into anything possible.

So good.

It has been a whole bunch of worrying and stressing out for me, oh, i reckon the last month? And just when I thought there was an end in sight...WRONG!! New giant orders to make and freak out about. Anyway, thats for later to worry about. It's past 5pm, I'm off the clock dammnit. (Thats my new thing, no bizz after I get home.) 

Me and Rizz got to install our little exhibition in Fed Square on Monday (At blood 6am I might add) and it looks pretty sweet. Seeing as I panicked when it came time to submit the name and was listening to beastie boys at the time, consequently the tittle of the show is;

"Like a scientist, when I'm applyin this"

(Pretty good right? Thanks Mc A)

Its on in the fracture gallery in fed square for a week as part of the craft cubed festival. Noice.

It's always hard to get decent snaps from installations but I still think it is pretty awesome. So then the next big thing was the transportation of my new equipment....
MAn oh man did I give myself some new grey hairs over this one. I almost gave myself a panic attack at the party just looking at the annealer. It just looked so big, awkward and heavy. My eyes kept sneaking over to it mid conversation with whoever I was talking too. I think I had to leave the room at one point. And then I freaked out that the movers I had booked were bogus. Bogus as in didn't exist and just took my deposit. (seriously, what the fuck is wrong with me?) (In my defence they were two hours late) Anyways, they got the job done and I am only slightly greyer to show for it.
Look at all my stuff! And there is an annealer in the loading bay. All I need is a furnace....and a gas line, and a new studio, and connection,....could be sitting there for awhile, but, hey, it's mine, I paid for it, I'm ready. (Almost) My kiln controller came in the mail today so now I can get it installed and get it to hold temp. I bought this cute lil kiln off ebay and who fucking knew that tetlows just switch off when they get to top temp??! Not me thats for sure. What a grade A doofus. So now I got it and just gotta get it installed, next on my hit list is a bigger oxy tank from supa gas. I got a little guy from bunnings and man did my torch chew through that! Like, maybe two hours total? Another "learning" curve. 

Just look at my cute little set up!!

And heres my pal helping me set up. Watch that beard buddy...

I just want to be on that torch! Life just keeps getting in the way though. I had this amazing feeling of lightness on Monday after we installed the show. I felt like all my months of planning and worrying were finally coming to an end. That I could dedicate time and space to my exhibition, to play on the torch and make some stuff....WRONG!
Hey heres an order for x60 lights. Hey Dinosaur Designs wants to stock your Yumemiru for Christmas. Hey Cummulus wants you to design and make champagne decanters for them. All this is AMAZING. I just wish it could be spaced a little better? Is that even right? I think it's hard because I have to slot into another studio to make the works. Like rather than space it over a couple of sessions a week for a month I have to do it all in one hit. One big, fuck off week. Sometimes I wonder just how I got myself into this? It's ok, I can do it. I just make it happen. Thats what I do. I have almost resigned myself to the fact that I will be blowing my exhibition work in Febuary and March. Not my ideal plan, but a decent back up. If I didn't get these orders I couldn't spend the $$ to make the exhibition pieces. Catch 22 I guess. (What the fuck does that even mean?!)

I am also looking forward to spending the Summer, December and January on the torch. I want a large part of the exhibition to have flameworked components. Better hop to it I guess...

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Winter time woes

So I just wrote that last post trying to be all puppies and sunshine when the real truth is I'm more surly cats thunder clouds. I want to tell you how meh, I am feeling, but I don't want to be that guy at the party. (You know the guy. The one that is the major downer, probably has greasy hair and sniffs really loudly while telling you how hard his life sucks.) I really don't. But sometimes, thats just how I feel. This blog is like the diary I have been keeping for like 5 years. Thats just awesome. High five for me. And over the years its kind of changed, sometimes I come in and out, sometimes its just photos. I think before I had my website I was always directing people here so then I thought I had to put forward a "professional" like front. You know, keep the swearing to a minimum, talk about all the great stuff I was working on and keep the whining to a dull roar. Weeeeellll, the thing is, that gets boring real fast. It's not me. There are no shades of light and dark. When it just tries to be light it gets boring and the dark is busting at the seams and before you know it its burning down your lap top trying to get out. Which brings us to the present.

So sometimes I like to go back to the very beginning of this blog and read past entries. Kinda makes me feel better and kind of resets me. What just dawned on me was that the whole reason for starting this blog was to wade through and try and figure out my ideas for my first solo show. It was going to be a sounding board to try and find my way. And whaddya know, we are pretty much smack bang in the same place. History repeats itself. 

So I think thats what I am going to do. Go back to basics.

I have a solo show lined up for May 2016 at JamFactory in gallery 2. Thats right, I'm playin with the big boys now! I am so pumped. For the length of my career as a glass blower I have always wanted to exhibit in gallery two. It is my fav space. It is a self contained "u" shaped space that is just perfect for an installation. My initial idea is to create a show that is based on the greenhouse. (I am also aware that my first solo show was garden themed....) My working tittle is;


I feel like this is my chance to show all my works I researched and created from my residency in Northlands, it's my chance to fill this little space up with all my garden-y loves. It is daunting. At the moment I have a heap of scrambly ideas running around my noggin but I feel like I'm starting to take a hold. So thats why I want to reactivate my blog again. This lil guy helped me out last time around and I'm hoping it can pull me through again. 

This is the story so far:
- "The leaf library"
- Green shed type of installation
- "Memory Keepers" - domes in like sargasso, eel green, olive with decals of family
- stag ferns (god help me how am i going to pull that one off?
- a call out for prop hire to incorporate viewers into the exhibition, we create a common shared memory of the garden

So sometimes, like now, when i stay up too late and all the little niggly things start to eat away at me (i have to remake x6 lights that got returned, i have to set my torch up but i don't know how, i lost my studio mate, i feel alone, it is ridiculously hard to be a glass blower in melbs) all that junk, i'm gonna cram it under the rug and focus on all the good junk. The good junk is what makes for a good life. The bad junk is what makes for a wasted life. 

I'm going to pour everything I have into this show for next year


Adelaide, the land of celery dreams and glass blowin teams

Another day, another trip to Adelaide. I have been to Adelaide so much this year. It is both good and bad. Good that I get to see my family and mates and blow a shit load of glass. Bad in that I have to hit the ground running, generally stress myself out and have to blow a shit load of glass. Same, same but different see?
So deja vu, heres a bunch of lights I made.
Here's the little ray of sunshine that works her ass off for me and keeps me on track.
I did get to go and see a show opening which was super fun. It's at my fav pub, the wheaty and with some of my fave gals, the girls from gate 8.
But this is the most exciting thing.....celery! I finally got to spend some time working on my solo show next year. I' starting to get excited for it and almost ready to throw myself in head first. I've been doing a little dicking around and procrastinating but finally I am (almost) ready to commit! Darryl made me a couple of sweet leaf moulds to use and the celery stalk was one of them. I am so happy with how these stalks turned out. Pretty good for the first try right? Exhibition work is hard going. Especially if you are trying to make new works. It's just so freaking expensive to make glass. So to make something that a. potentially might not work out and b. doesn't turn an initial profit is really tricky. And now that grants are getting harder and harder to come by, it's even trickier. 
I think these guys turned out pretty good. (I love that my sister said to me, "why'd you put that picture of celery on instagram?" "uh, because I made them....out of glass!!" "ohhhh, i thought they were real!" hahahahahaha. Job done.
Now I gotta think about how i am going to display all these lil suckers. That is a show in itself.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Come Bloom with us!

Hey crew! If you are in Melbs on the 9th of August and you like blooms you should come take a class with me and my sister. (My sister is the rad florist, I'm more like her sou chef of floristry and I'll also be there for general chit chats and hilarity) The classes will run as part of the craft hatch festival and they take place at thousand pound bend in the city. All details can be found at craft vic here.

Gonna be a good time. Add some fun and colour to your Wintery Sunday, thats what I will be doing....

(Oh and we will also be at Finders Keepers this weekend!!! If you come up to me and say some sort of code word, lets say, 'phenomenal llama', I'll even cut you a deal on the class and give you a $30 discount. $30?! Thats like a a carton of beer off!! Well, almost....)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Stressed Eric

Here's the thing, I like to stress myself out and put immense amounts of pressure on myself. Sometimes it feels so intense that I feel like I might implode. What the fuck is wrong with me? Plenty, it would seem. At no point is there an easy ride in my job. I seem to freak out at every point. Get the order, freak out. Try to book the sessions, freak out. Attempt to make the work, freak out. Cold work it, freak out. Pack it up, freak out. Go to hand it over, total freak out. Is it good enough? Will they like it if it is a bit different? Is that minute bubble ok? Fucking hell, see what I mean? Yesterday I worked myself into a right state. So much so that I began to question is it all worth it? MAybe I should just go back to schlepping tea for the man? Learn to zone out with morons customers and just do the 9-5 like everyone else? Just live for the weekends?

MAybe I just have to be a little kinder to myself? I just got back from a super intensive working stint in Adelaide, 5 days team blowing back to back and I didn't even stop when I got home, just hit the ground running. I love being busy but I don't love being stressed. I think after this weeks over, I'm taking myself to the movies. Maybe a swim in the morning then a choc top in the afternoon watching mad max? I fucking love the movies because it is the only place I can totally zone out and forget everything else. No emails, no phone, no worries.

That seems like a solid plan kid. I'm glad we had this talk.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Penland dreams turned reality

Penland! Never have I been to a place that is so lush and green! It was truly stunning, an amazing place to learn. As soon as I got there, I was like;
"This isn't real".
But it was!! I was fortunate enough to receive a full scholarship to attend Amber Cowan's flame working class. This meant full tuition, board and meals all covered. All I had to do was pay for the flight. It was mindblowingly generous. Without this generosity I would not have been able to attend.

The thing I really liked about Penland was that it was a whole bunch of different mediums thrown in together. So not just glass. As an Aussie glass traveller it is nice to branch out of your own medium. There was also people of all ages there. I made friends with a cute lil blue haired teen and a rockin lady named Joy in her 70's! Penland is in North Carolina kinda atop the mountains. I have never seen weather change so quickly. One minute it will be hot with the sun beating down the next the clouds will roll in, cracks of thunder and a torrential rain shower, then back to steamy sun. Nuts.

So I wanted to go because I was desperate to take a class with Amber Cowan. This chick is the business. She is balls to the wall awesome. She pretty much invented her way of working, figuring out how to flamework recycled glass and turn it into these gorgeous creations. And now she is willing to share all her secrets with you! I just found that phenomenal and to me it spoke of what a true artist is. She figured out how to manipulate the glass in a new way and instead of keeping it all to herself she wants to share it with you. She is so passionate about glass as a material and this shows in everything she does.

So for a glassblower I had a pretty steep learning curve. Everything I had learnt so far I had to pretty much not do! No flashing! No reheats! Madness! We worked hard. I was on that torch from 9am till 11pm. (I was usually done by 10:30, that was my peak so I pretty much just spun on my chair waiting for Arlie to finish...)

I went because i wanted to figure out how to lamp work furnace glass to incorporate into my hot shop made pieces. I think I made a good starting point. One of the other dudes teaching the goblet class, Granite Calimpong, teamed up with me to make a colab piece which we entilltled "turnip da beet".

Pretty funny right. So I then thought, how about if you blow me a bottle and I flamework the stopper. This way I could use boro and make it super detailed. I still haven't figured out all the joins properly but I still think it turned out pretty sweet. (It also helps that Granite is a fucking gun.)

I met some awesome people too. One of those is Arlie Towbridge. Man I had some fun with this chick. She is a super talented babe and I learnt so much from her. Her, me and Amber got on like a house on fire and a couple a nights we got to tear it up. I want both of them to come visit me! (Are you reading this you two??)

We got to hang out for a day in Ashville which was rad (when my hangover finally cleared, man it was a close call...) where we got to go "thrift" shopping and visit some studios. Gave me some mega inspiration for what I want in a studio. 

I also got to have some great conversations with Lisa and Boyd, two phenomenal glassblowers from seattle. I guess really it's just nice to step outside of your comfort zone. Switch off your brain to the everyday and submerge yourself in your craft. Such a special gift. I feel especially blessed as I was awarded a full scholarship to attend. Penland is a total gift and I can't speak highly enough of it. Everyone should apply! I was the only Aussie there that session which was a strange feeling too.

And OWLS!! I got to meet owls!! They brought them in for the life drawing class. Man did I leg it down there!! They were so amazing, they don't even look real, they look like puppets.

I feel incredibly lucky to have gone to Penland and I hope again to go back someday. I also feel excited as I just purchased my very own torch!! YEEEEEEWWW!!