by Kerry Ellen
cast glass pendants, fused once – then they will have sharp edges ground off & be fire-polished before they are finished
East Meets West – Last weekend, at the 5th Annual Grafton Arts Fair, in Grafton, Illinois, I shared a tent with Pat Syano, – a delightful young man and extremely talented artist from Kenya.
We collaborated on this piece – my fused glass, his paintings. I told him to draw whatever he wanted, and he drew pictures of village life at home. (He has been in the U.S. about a year so far.) This started out as a glass plate – I got the kiln too hot and it cracked – so I re-fired, recycled it, and with Pat’s help, redeemed it!
Nyumbani – Swahili for Home
Half a world away
the shining stillness of home
If you would like to contact Pat, you may reach him at email@example.com.
Photo credit: Pat K. Moore – thanks!
I play with broken glass and burn it because I want to make something that did not exist before. I want to give, not just take. I want to say here, look at this, this color, this shape, this texture, did you ever see it quite this way before?
I fuse glass because honestly, I can’t paint or draw very well but I still want to engage, tell myself yes, I see the flower, I see it well enough I want to memorize it in glass, and show someone else what I see.
I make glass objects because they are little miracles that I can say I helped along…I stacked the glass, I chose the colors, I decided hot long and how hot – I made some choices, and some of them were good.
I am teaching myself about glass and my kiln and heat and gravity because I like to learn and because the possibilities are endless, you can do so much with so little, just by giving it some time and attention and process and the right temperatures.
I play with glass and fire because it lets me go at my own pace, make mistakes, doesn’t yell, doesn’t criticize, doesn’t demand perfection. If I don’t like how something turns out, I can usually melt it down and re-use it. A very forgiving medium.
Out of sand and ash I can create little works of art. Without destroying or hurting anything else while I do it. My little pendants and dishes will not change the world on any grand scale, but on the day-to-day level, they make my world a better place to be – more beauty, more sparkle, more light, more attention to something made with my own hands, not machined or fabricated by unknown hands, just cut and placed and fired and formed right in my own home, with a love for the process of learning, little regard for the bottom line, something I can succeed or fail at and it won’t damage anyone – just something I can call my own, and share when I choose to.
I’ve been given a gift for design and the ability to create. I enjoy the work and am at peace while cutting, measuring, glueing, sanding – it’s something I can give back. Something I can plan, and dream about, and hold what was once just an idea in my own hand.
By Kerry Ellen, 7/14/10