Friday, August 9, 2013

the unfamiliar

You may have noticed I haven't been around blogland much the past week or two. Besides the drama of two surgeries in three days involving my grandkids, getting four botanica erotica molds filled (one twice because after I finished I realized I used the wrong color in one of my color blends), and the reprise visits from the grandkids (#4 is currently here), I will work at the antique store two days this week having filled in for my sister yesterday.

It may be a couple more weeks before I get back since I'm leaving a week from next Sunday for a week long residency at a meditation/yoga retreat in upper state NY led by glass artist Catharine Newell (who I have previously written about here). The focus of the residency is a departure from the familiar.

Identifying and letting go of the familiar, allows one to make room for a new way of being. Therefore, this residency offers The Familiar as the departure point for a self-directed investigation into the unknown. How does one recognize the familiar? What composes the familiar? What is it that compels one to embrace it, surrender to it, recoil from it? What does it mean to live in between the familiar and the unknown? How does one go about finding that thing the nature of which is totally unknown to you?

I've never done anything like this before, attending a residency, though I did attend a workshop on a specific technique when I was working on the Memory Box. I am familiar with living in the present however, and living with uncertainty and my commission work often challenges me to do something I haven't ever quite done before. I'm to put together a 10 – 12 minute presentation of me...who I am, how I got here, how I approach my work, where my inspiration comes from, that sort of thing.


Well, there's my first foray into the unfamiliar.

Meanwhile, back to the familiar...or the nearly familiar since it's been so long, about 9 months, since I filled a mold, apparently I've forgotten how to go about that.

The very first one I filled, as I mentioned above, I had to completely re-do, throwing away 24 oz of glass frit. Well, I did manage to salvage some of the white that I back-filled the mold with. That one will take more cold work after it's fired because now the smooth hard surface of the mold has been degraded some. Of course it was the mold of my favorite of the four models.

And while working on the third one, I had to remove two small areas I had just filled as a tickle in my brain told me to check the chart for color reactions. When two colors react with each other as a result of the chemical combinations of the glasses, the result is always an ugly brown. This can actually be used to great effect creating an outline in fused pieces but in my work it generally just ruins the color I intend. This can be avoided by covering the first color in with a layer of clear powder or frit, which is what I did when I re-filled those areas and the larger petals around them.

Yeah, I know, shop talk.

The molds are in the kiln now, scheduled to start the firing later this afternoon. It's not hot enough in the garage, being August, so we are going to remedy that.


  1. going on a trip is always good medicine! Kicks brains into working mode and extends dendrites, so we are told. Have a great time, I have envy!

  2. Shop talk is interesting to me! And since I find you endlessly fascinating you should have no trouble at all with your talk at the residency. :)

  3. The shop talk is great.

    I especially liked the "It's not hot enough in August in the garage so we're going to remedy that." HA.

    Have a fantastic time on your retreat. And YES, we DO want to hear all about it. :)

    Be safe. xo JG

  4. The retreat sounds wonderful.

    This is a time of personal and collective reinvention and transformation. It's perfect that you're doing this.

    Where in upstate NY?

  5. wow, your retreat/trip/residency sound interesting! and scary. :)

  6. Have a wonderful week at your retreat. I could never do that. Too intimidating.

  7. The meditation retreat sounds interesting. I've done similar retreats and I always found them agonizing and interesting, even pleasant, all at the same time. Hard to explain, but I'll be interested to hear what you think.

  8. The retreat sounds pretty cool, although I would hate to have to talk about myself. Do all participants have to do that, or can you pass on that? It'll be interesting to hear what you learn there.

    Bummer to have to re-do your mold, but it sounds like you salvaged a little bit from it. Pics of the finished product in the future?

  9. That sounds like an amazing residency! I hope you will tell us more, and that is turns out to be something you would highly recommend.

  10. You’ll be fine at the retreat, after all, taking about what you know best will be a doddle.
    You’ll love it.
    I’m sure.

    Have a wonderful time, getting away from ones comfort zone can be a life-lifting experience.


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