Four Phases of Artistic Creation for the Glass Artist
Here is a simple question I have for you. Are you able to draw a sketch or thumbnail to help get the thoughts out of your head and onto paper? The idea is to have the ability to engineer your art on paper first to work out the details and to think about the moves you will make to successfully get from point A-point Z. This will be the starting point in the creative process as you begin this journey of manifesting thoughts into reality.
Phase 1-The Thumbnail Sketch
This is the first phase of 5-phases that I feel will help simplify and guide you through the creative process. Now this isn't for everyone but In my opinion, if one is having difficulty coming up with ideas or simply feeling a mental block, this path will help alleviate some of the aggravation and heartbreak that can come with artistic discovery. Some may argue that to become a better artist, as well as finding your voice through your work, it is necessary to experience the heartbreak. However a favorite quote of mine, to paraphrase is "....The wise man learns from the mistakes of others...." Throughout my art journey I have learned from trial and error as well as from the mistakes of others. In college I received formal 2-D art training but regarding glass, its been about 85% trial and error. This is why this episode in my opinion is so important to take to heart with the hope to save you from years of frustration and anguish from the mistakes I've made and discoveries learned from along the way.
Phase 2-The Glass Sketch
When trying to figure out a direction to go this tends to be the most affordable way to experiment with your thumbnail sketches you've created. With any new item, creating something in clear will shed some light on the right direction that you want to go. One of the benefits of creating your "glass sketches" in clear is you can rapidly cool these items, giving you a chance to hold them and study the piece from all directions. This will allow you to get a handle on the areas that you may need to adjust and change for better comfort and function. As the whole cliché goes.. "sometimes it Looks better on paper" can hold true for an idea that might be just out of your range of experience and technique. This doesn't mean give up, it just means that you will have to make adjustments, finding a way to make it function within your means. Once you have fine-tuned your new item through adjustments and trial and error you now have a 3-D reference to study. If needed you can go back to your drawing board per se and fine-tune the work on paper again before getting Phase three, the dress rehearsal.
Phase 3- The Dress Rehearsal
This is the beginning of the experimentation phase while heading down the path towards the "final design. This is a mock-up of the final product and at this point you will be adding color or use whatever products you have in mind to see how they work together. If this is a never before used material like crushed opals, then this phase will be your test run, allowing you to see how the material works and whether or not it should even be used in the first place. Because of the influx of new materials it is important to learn how specific material work. Glass color comes in different viscocities, which means the consistency of the material works and feels different from one color to the next. Some colors need specific flame settings and work better with similar colors. If you are using a color that reduces next to a color that doesn't the two colors will work and feel differently. Especially if you are trying to avoid the reduction of the color its self. Especially when it comes to using it for different and new project. For example a cobalt blue is going to move easier than a lemon drop or any cadmium color. When referring back to your thumbnail sketches think about the colors you're going to want to use a write them down on your drawing using little lines of reference to point to the area that you think the color would be applied. Once you get though a successful "dress rehearsal" it will be time to begin Phase four......Opening Night.
Phase 4- Opening Night
As any opening night of a performance, there will be bugs that need to get worked out that may not have come up during the dress rehearsal and rear their ugly heads during opening night. Typically Phases 1,2, and 3 can be done on one day, Phase 4 should be done during its own session. It will give you a true gauge on the particulars of the piece being made. This way if there are any issues like color checking, you will be able to narrow down the specific issues and solve them as they occur.
At this point you will have your thumbnail sketches, clear sketch, and dress rehearsal piece that you will use for reference while finalizing phase 4. By having your phase 3 piece available to hold and study, this physical reference will help you down the path towards the end of your final masterpiece.
Now that you have successfully moved through the 4 phases of creation, worked out the bugs and fine tuned the path you can now begin the final stage if you want,
Phase 5...... Production.
In a future Episode, I will be diving deep into the concept of Low-End High-Volume production VS. High-End Low-Volume production as part of the
pricing and selling your work series..