Thursday, June 23, 2011

Glassblowing Demonstration for SOAC

Last week a group of people involved in Floating World Projects and the Society of Arts and Crafts gathered for a behind-the-scenes peek at the work being made for the MassArt residency, along with an experimental glassblowing demonstration.

FWP artists took some finished screenprinted glass panels (with photos taken in New York this month) and bent them with heat into new shapes, stretching the printed imagery into more abstract forms. One panel shifted into a bowl, while two others were fused together into a boat shape. Pieces like these will be exhibited at SOAC in August.

Photos by FWP visiting artist Ayse Balyemez.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Glassblowing at MassArt

For the first few weeks of June, the Turkish artists involved in Floating World Projects have been staying in Boston for a residency at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design with James McLeod, Leo Tecosky, and Oben Abright. The group traveled to New York City and photographed graffiti and architecture around Brooklyn, and the resulting images are being used to screenprint collages over glass panels, similar to earlier pieces incorporating photos of Istanbul. The finished pieces will be exhibited at the Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston.

Last week I (a person who has no experience with glass) visited the studio where Leo and James were working with MassArt students to produce glass shapes to be used for screenprinting. Below is a photo-diary of sorts of the process, from an outsider's point of view (meaning the vocabulary will remain simple!).

First, the artist takes a roll of compacted pigment at the end of the rod, and begins surrounding it with hot glass, continually twisting it as it hardens.

Several layers of hot glass are built up over time, with one person shielding the artist's face from sparks as he or she cradles the glass with wet cloth to shape it, and another person periodically blowing through the rod to expand the glass ball.

As it gets larger it is passed on to James and Leo, who continue to build it up until finally rolling it along a flat surface to give it a somewhat oval shape.

Then James stands at a greater height to lower it into a hot, hollow concrete tube, which shapes it into a flat-bottomed cylinder.

It is then chipped off the rod and stored in an incubator of sorts.

Watching glassmaking is exciting and fascinating, and I was impressed with just how much of a group effort it really is- with a range of different jobs and activities handled by the MassArt students/graduates working together.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


This May saw a lot of activity for Floating World Projects, so much that we've neglected to update you on all of the happenings! The TRANSITLINES exhibition at the Public Glass Gallery in San Francisco ended on May 23, but you can check out some installation shots below:

James McLeod gave a glassblowing demonstration during the opening event, experimenting with a hot silkscreen technique.

Next time there'll be a little photoshoot of the glassmaking process during FWP's artist residency at MassArt.