Friday, January 22, 2016

I'm Gonna Die

The second you start thinking of yourself as an animal is the second you become a lot less neurotic.

Couple of nights ago, I'm watching an episode of Nature entitled Natural Born Hustlers. This episode, the 2nd of 3 entitled the Hunger Hustle, had a segment that blew me away. Monkeys would steal stuff from tourists. The thing that blew me away was the monkeys would give up the stuff for food.

Meaning 1) monkeys could abstract reason the concept of value, 2) monkeys had a theory of mind that the stuff could be ransomed, and 3) the monkeys had a concept of reciprocation, they bartered the stolen items for food.

Is it really that surprising that animals could be so sophisticated? Hell, no. We are animals. We just have a hard time admitting it. But once you do, life gets a lot simpler, things get less scary, and you, my dear little fellow animal, can act with more ease and grace in your daily life.

Consider: I wrack my brain for ideas. What will I make next? It's not a question of finding things to make. There are tons of those. It's a question finding things that are cool to make. What do I want to devote my precious, precious time to? What if an idea doesn't pan out? What if thing is not how I envioned it, due to practicality or ineptitude? What if I waste my time?

Relax. Just fucking do it. And if you waste your time, it's your time to waste.

So, there's a competition coming up called Bullseye Emerge. It's for people who are not represented by major galleries, so I can participate. This juried entry, like the Corning Glass Review, is something I never get in. I considered submitting my usual cast glass piece, but then said Hey, hang on.

I went back and looked at my last and latest mold failure, and said, why not submit this? In fact, why not use the accident to create a purposeful failure?

I was staring at this image last night:
Tentatively Titled 'Crop Failure'
And I said, there's a lot of things I like about this. The glass flow is nice. The edges are nice. The fragile brittle thin (or broken and missing) sections look good against the thicker more solid pieces. I can't create this purposefully, but I can harness the mold failure to make a nice glass flow. (Bullseye actually has a video and a class called Harnessing the Flow that involves stacking glass on a ramp, and letting heat and gravity produce the forms). The flow can be controlled to some extent. So why not create a mold failure to semi-control the flow?

The other thing I like about the image, one that I use a lot, is frame breaking. Breaking the border of the piece. It makes it more interesting, especially the ragged bottom edge. I'd be hard pressed, once again, to come up with such an interesting line had I tried to do this on purpose. So, let the glass do it for me!

Third, it's true the piece is ephemeral and, actually, non-existent, now in the trash. So what? Nowadays, in our digital age, documentation and provenance of an art piece are worth more than the art piece. The metadata is worth more than the data.

I'm going to do this again, but build a plaster/silica tray to hold the mold and recover the glass, rather than it spilling all over the kiln shelf, and see if I can do an intentional mold failure.

If I make a series of glass objects that I document and then trash, what's the problem? There is evidence of a glass piece, even though it's gone now. Plus, there is a certain element of freedom in going against every stricture of glass casting. Molds aren't supposed to break. Glass thicknesses should be kept uniformly close, soaks and ramps must be followed to keep the glass stable.

I don't care. As long as it lasts long enough to be documented, what's the problem?

It's liberating, freeing myself of the collective neuroses of proper glass technics. And even better, since I'm well-versed in mold making, I can justify breaking the mold.


  1. I know I liked the discombobble-ululation and thought it was a keeper.

    1. The glass varies in thickness from 2 cm to 1 mm. Even delicate removal of investment and handling broke it. I managed to photograph it before it fell apart.

  2. I have pieces I made that had more than one part. after not selling I will usually repurpose the different parts. but the original piece still exists in photos. as for animals, it alway astounded me that science thought that other animals didn't think, had no self awareness, that all their actions were due to 'instinct'. how stupid. anyone who ever had any kind of animal as a pet or just observed other animals knows that yes, animals do think, they do communicate, they do remember, they are self aware.