Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

If you celebrate Christmas, have a wonderful day! If you don't, have a wonderful day too! Settle in with some hot chocolate and a warm blanket and enjoy the season (unless you live in a warm climate... in which case, get a nice tan!). Here are some FWP artworks in shades of red and green to fit with the holiday.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Artist Spotlight: Guido Gerlitz

This post is part of a series spotlighting the range of artists and musicians involved in Floating World Projects. See all.

In January several members of Floating World Projects are traveling to Hebron to film a documentary about the Al-Salam glass factory. Sculptor and Executive Director of Public Glass in San Francisco Guido Gerlitz will be joining them as a representative of his gallery. With a BFA in Glass and Ceramics from Virginia Commonwealth University and an MFA in Glass from California College of the Arts, Guido works to "bring a leading edge perspective and understanding of the glass genre to contemporary art". He tests the limits of the material, evoking energetic and thoughtful abstract shapes as well as recognizable wares with splashes of color.

Since 2009 he's been the director of Public Glass, a non-profit institution specializing in education and professional glass studios including blown, cast, kiln, torch and cold-work. Next year a show of collaborative works from Floating World Projects will be exhibited in their gallery, in part as a fundraiser for "The Road to Hebron" documentary.

"Contiguous Form - Red with Black Cane", 2010

"Gesture 1", 2004

"Teal Goblets", 2010

"Octonese", 2003


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Artist Spotlight: Dafna Kaffeman

This post is part of a series spotlighting the range of artists and musicians involved in Floating World Projects. See all.

"But I have come to detest life" (Embroidery by Yoav Weinberg), 2010

Coming up in January, several members of Floating World Projects will travel to the West Bank to make a documentary focusing on the Al-Salam glass factory in Hebron. Before going into Palestine, they'll stay with artist Dafna Kaffeman, a lecturer and coordinator of Glass Studies at Bezalel University in Jerusalem. She studied glass art in Amsterdam and lampworking in Venice, often combining different materials with the glass medium and creating a more tactile effect.

Her works are incredibly close and detailed, taking advantage of the fragile nature of glass as a medium and working in assemblages of small pieces. Many of them take organic, seemingly soft shapes formed by hundreds of tiny hard parts.

"Tactual Stimulation", 2007

"Animality", 2004
Her 2006 exhibition Persian Cyclamen features a range of handkerchiefs embroidered with phrases in Latin, Hebrew, and Arabic and abstract geographic outlines. Intricately-crafted glass plant forms rest upon them, symbolizing larger concepts of life and placing the pieces in context of the Isreali-Palestine conflict. They were displayed lying down on low pedestals, creating a more intimate viewing.

"Fence line in Red, Pinus halepensis", 2006

"Arabic is not spoken here. From the article by Jack Huri and David Renter, Haaretz, March 13, 2006. Sea Squill", 2006

"Persian Cyclamen", Lorch-Seidel Galeri, Berlin, Germany, 2006

Her most recent series Mantis Relgiose takes a similar approach, incorporating texts from Israeli newspapers and letters this time embroidered by Norwegian woman and Israeli men. The former didn't understand Arabic or Hebrew, and so their embellishments are purely aesthetic, while the latter added accents as commentary. Dafna complements the handkerchiefs with glass plants and insects.

"And my family planned to ask for her hand" (Embroidery by Yair Shif), 2010

"One day before I set out for the operation" (Embroidery by Michael Golan), 2010

Some of her work is currently on view at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in the exhibition Studio Glass.

Dafna's official site
Profile at WheatonArts

Friday, December 10, 2010

Floating World Projects Newsletter

We've been working hard on the launch of our monthly newsletter, filled with news updates, artist profiles, delightful anecdotes, music updates, and general information regarding various happenings. If you'd like to sign up, there's a handy box to your right in our sidebar! Just type in your name and email address, and you'll receive a confirmation email with a link to add you to our list. Our newsletter will only go out about once a month, so I promise we won't flood your inbox! 

If you have any trouble signing up, you can email me at and I'll add you.

Below is co-founder James McLeod's 2010 reflection from the first issue we sent out last week:

Hello and Happy Holidays from FWP!

As 2010 comes to a close we would like to take an opportunity to thank everyone that has helped us in all of our achievements in 2010. It has been an exciting year here at Floating World Projects with many new developments, none of which could have happened without the generous support of our collaborators, sponsors and friends in the international art community.

Looking back to three years ago to the conception of FWP, I can recall how distant all of this seemed. The idea began with a simple conversation one evening in Istanbul overlooking the Bosporus straight. I was with my colleague Leo Tecosky and we had the idea to create an art project that could help share our perspective of a city and a community half way across the world with our communities back home. When we analyzed our concept, we quickly realized that it was far more complex than a just a story about a city or a community that we wanted to share; our conversation was about socially constructed prejudices that exist and what we can do to help dismantle them.

Three years later we are still here and evidence of all of our hard work can be seen with our new web presence. In September 2010 we launched our new website with updated examples of all the multimedia projects we are currently working on. This is a huge step for us, compiling of all of the work that we have done over the past three years in one, easily accessible place. In addition, our new web content and social-networking manager, Alexandra Kittle, has outfitted us with this newsletter, a facebook page, a blog and twitter account that are updated on a regular basis. Since we have been primarily self-funded in the past, we are also happy to announce that we now accept much needed donations on our website.

Our events in 2010 began with a month long collaborative residency at the Mimar Sinan University in Istanbul for the month of June. Six artists from the USA and Turkey joined together to collaborate on glass artwork and the result was an overwhelming success. This residency was conceived of three years ago and was more productive than we ever could have expected. The next stop for FWP in July 2010 was a preliminary research trip to the West Bank to begin work on a new project; a documentary of one of the worlds’ oldest glass studios that is still operated by the same family since the 13th century.

In October 2010 upon return to the USA FWP incorporated as a non-profit organization and enlisted the help of our current staff Alex Kittle, Penny Saftler, and Sylvie Agudelo. We are currently preparing for our next trip to the West Bank in January 2011. In addition, we have two Exhibitions scheduled for May and September of next year and an additional residency at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in June. The residency will be the counterpart to our collaborative work last summer and will involve four Turkish artists visiting us for the first time in the USA.

Please keep in touch and feel free to follow our activity as we have a busy year ahead. Thank you again for all of the support from our friends and sponsors and we wish you a safe and happy new year to come.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Artist Spotlight: Gülfidan Özmen

This post is part of a series spotlighting the range of artists and musicians involved in Floating World Projects. See all.


Glass sculptor Gülfidan Özmen graduated from Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University with a focus on Ceramic and Glass. She has worked in several glass studios and been a part of multiple installation projects and group and solo exhibitions. She has been a lecturer at Mimar Sinan since 2008. Her glass work incorporates vibrant colors, linear patterns, and playful shapes for varied and eye-catching abstract effects.

Her 2009 solo exhibition "Optical Impressions" featured colorful shapes and hanging pieces that toyed with ideas of three-dimensionality and juxtaposition of textures. They bring the 2-D illusions of op-art into a sculptural space while still playing tricks on the eye, often adding bright pops of color to black and white compositions.

From December 7th-31st, 2010, her work will be shown in the solo exhibition "Silhouettes" at the Ormo Art Gallery in Istanbul. For this series Gülfidan has brought in more clear glass materials and round forms.

Here are a few of her pieces made with other Floating World Projects artists during a visit to Istanbul.

Gülfidan's website
Check out her blog

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello everyone, we at Floating World Projects want to wish all our American friends a very happy Thanksgiving. We hope you are able to spend time with your friends and family, and eat a lot of delicious food! And hopefully all of you outside of the US have a lovely day too!

This year we're thankful for a lot of things- the wonderful people who've worked with our group, the art we've made together, and the incredible experiences of traveling. We're grateful for all the opportunities that are opening up for next year, so that we can share what we're doing with so many more people!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Special Announcement: Donations

As you may or may not have noticed, there is now a friendly Paypal "donate" button located in the right-hand sidebar. Since becoming a nonprofit this fall, Floating World Projects is working on a number of new ideas and events in both artistic and musical spheres, but we need your help to realize our goals.

If you donate $50 or more, you will receive a compilation cd featuring FWP musicians. If you donate $100 or more, you will receive a one-of-a-kind, small printed glass piece in varying sizes signed by the artist. These would make excellent and unique gifts for your loved ones for the holidays! Below is an example tile, and there's a gallery of other samples here.

If you donate to our group, your contribution will go to:

  The Road to Hebron
-       Video post-production and research for “The Road to Hebron” documentary film, focusing on the ancient al-Natsheh glass factory in Hebron
-       Arabic translation
-       Video publishing
-       Travel to the West Bank in January 2011
-       Transportation of recording equipment
-       Additional video equipment for recording
-       Follow up travel to Hebron to finish final documentation, August 2011

-       Transportation of 4 Turkish artists to the US to participate in an artist residency at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, MAY 2011
-       Art supplies for 2 upcoming residencies 2011
-       Preparations for September exhibitions 2011in Boston and Seattle
-       Transportation / Accommodations / Music recording July 1 August 1 2011 in Turkey

We'd really appreciate any support you are able to give, either monetarily or just by getting the word out about our organization! Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Artist Spotlight: Oben Abright

This post is part of a series spotlighting the range of artists and musicians involved in Floating World Projects. See all.

San Francisco-based artist Oben Abright has been drawing, painting, and sculpting since he was in elementary school, taking after his artist parents. After studying at the Lorenzo deMedici Institute of Art in Florence, he received his BFA in Glass from the California College of the Arts in 2004.

Working from his own drawings and photographs, Oben creates closely-studied portrait sculpture out of glass, metal, and clay. For some pieces he sprays oil paint on certain areas and wipes it partially off, creating a colorful, textured look. His series are inspired by neglected or war-torn areas and the people affected, giving widespread problems a more intimate focus. He believes the three-dimensionality of his pieces makes them more impactful than photography or written reportage, and hopes to raise awareness through the stories his works tell.

His "Market Street" series looks at homeless residents of San Francisco through confrontational portraits from the waist up, with many of the subjects shown bundled up or huddled over. 
Gabe (Seated)
mold blown glass, oil paint, cement and steel

Market Street Series IV 
mold blown glass and oil paint

Zee Cee
mold blown glass and oil paint

Market Street Series VIII
mold blown glass and oil paint

Oben's newest series is currently on view at the Echt Gallery in Chicago in an exhibition titled "Portraits of Loi Tailang Burma", with pieces modeled after photographs he took while visiting Burma to document the under-reported genocide of the Shan- an ethnic group within a mountainous area of Myanmar- and other minority peoples in the region. They have been pushed out of their homes by Burmese troops and thousands are living as refugees in Loi Tailang, a border city near Thailand. His sculptures offer a forthright and honest depiction of these men, women, and children in a detailed, textured, and bold style.

Nang Ga
preparatory sketch for sculptural installation

Orphaned Boys

While in Istanbul with other Floating World Projects artists, Oben focused on street photography of the gritty and neglected areas of the city, and is now working on a new portrait series based on these images. He will also be traveling to Palestine with FWP next year to work on the planned documentary of the al-Natsheh glass factory in Hebron.

Oben's official site
Echt Gallery official site
"The Art of Suffering"- an account of Oben's experiences in Burma by Antonio Graceffo

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Artist Spotlight: Javelin

This post is part of a series spotlighting the range of artists and musicians involved in Floating World Projects. See all.

The Brooklyn-based group Javelin is made up of cousins Tom van Buskirk and George Langford, who started making music together around 2004. They collect sounds from a variety of sources, both sampling other artists- many culled from their assortment of bargain vinyl- and making their own instrumentation for an eclectic, layered style, incorporating countless genres, loops, and ideas into a few minutes of music. It's a dancy, funky rollercoaster ride filled with fun surprises along the way. Their live shows involve a number of boomboxes tuned to the radio and improvisational rapping, resulting in an ever-evolving "sound" that can't be pinned down.

The duo released their latest album on Luaka Bop (David Byrne's record label) in 2010, titled No Más. Their self-released record Jamz n Jemz was listed as one of Pitchfork's "Albums of the Year" in 2009. You can download two of their mixtape mp3's below (right click and "Save as") and see some fun music videos!

Andean Ocean Tape (30:00)
World MIDI Classics, Vol 2 (13:01)

Javelin on Myspace
Javelin on Luaka Bop, where you can stream tracks off No Más
Javelin's official site
Pitchfork interview

Javelin Music Video- "Soda Popinski"

Javelin Music Video- "Education!"

Friday, November 5, 2010

Artist Spotlight: Ayse Balyemez

This post is the first in a series spotlighting the range of artists and musicians involved in Floating World Projects.

Ayse graduated from the Ceramic and Glass Design Department of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University with a BFA in 2003 and MFA in 2009 and designed tableware decorations at a decal printing company for five years. She has worked as a lecturer in transfer printmaking techniques and is currently a research assistant. Her art has been exhibited in several shows in Turkey and Europe. She creates intricately decorated plates and ceramic mounted wall pieces as well as small sculptures, and with other Floating World Projects artists she produced a number of colorful glass panels with interlaced silkscreened images. Her aesthetic fuses text, photography, and pattern for a colorful, multi-dimensional effect.

Check out Ayse's blog, where she posts photos of new work! (text is primarily in Turkish)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Preparing for Exhibition in San Francisco

From January 1-February 4, 2011, the Public Glass gallery in San Francisco will be opening a new exhibition from Floating World Projects! On display will be a combination of pieces inspired by stays in Turkey and the West Bank, collecting a number of new painted glass works from our artists. The event will serve as a fundraiser for a planned documentary about glassblowing in Palestine.

Here's a preview of some of the pieces that will be shown, including an impressive 14'x4' assemblage of glass panels. The glass is painted in successive layers, and then projected images will be applied with a low-fire enamel marker.

One piece experienced a serendipitous kiln mishap that led to some interesting heating effects.

In the upcoming months, we'll keep you updated with news regarding this exciting exhibition, and look forward to seeing some of you there at the January 29 opening!