For some time I’ve been toying with the idea of not attaching fruits onto branches in a natural way, but of including them in the piece in an abstract manner. The first piece I am working on in this vein of thought is a tree trunk with acorns.
The piece started out as an idea and a quick sketch. Since making the sketch a couple months ago, I have been contemplating various ways I might go about building the structure of the trunk, and how to include acorns in the piece.
I settled on the idea of “drawing” the trunk in lines with dark glass rods, and including a knothole into which I can place the acorns.
First I built about half the trunk, as if it’s cut in half vertically. I love this process of “drawing” with the glass rods. It’s a fun process – a discovery every time. Although I have an idea in mind, the piece unfolds in the making as much through my interacting with and listening to the glass as through imposing my will upon it. Each color brings its own life as well, which is part of the discovery.
Next I made the knothole. I need it small enough that it won’t dominate the piece, yet large enough that the acorns can be retrieved out of it, and the gaps in the knothole must be small enough to prevent the acorns from falling through.
Now comes the very difficult part: attaching the knothole to the trunk and building the rest of the trunk.
The difficulty lies in the large number and the close proximity of connections being made. The knothole must be connected onto the trunk in a number of spots in order to be secure. Given that this is not a life-size piece, all these connections are in very close proximity to each other. This situation is very challenging – as I heat one connection spot and meld it together, I can easily flash too much heat onto a neighboring area of the piece, inadvertently cracking it. Given the nature of the type of glass I work with, it is too difficult to keep the entire piece hot in order to avoid that issue. So, I must work patiently and calmly, working from connection spot to connection spot, gradually building the trunk over several days and repairing each inadvertent crack along the way.
At this point, I have most of the trunk complete, the knothole connected in, and a few unwanted cracks to repair before I can complete the trunk, finish the ends and add the leaves. In this image, I have sandblasted the piece-in-progress. This removes the shiny surface, enabling me to find the cracked spots.
When it is complete, I will post another entry to show the final piece.