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Wednesday, 18 January 2012

FHFTeam Design Process, Karen Lilley

Karen Lilley (Lilley Glass Designs) - Design Process for Black and Green work.

This body of work started life as part of my Glass Techniques course that I finished last June. We could choose any subject, but the idea was that all the work should be obviously linked. I didn’t want to have to choose only one technique (am quite a butterfly) so did look at ideas with the wish to produce fused and slumped work, lampwork and blown work.

I like plants and flowers and so chose to collect a whole heap of pictures of leaves and flowers which I gathered together in my sketch book. Having got them together I considered which I found most striking, which I thought it might be practical to do something with bearing in mind the constraints of glass. These are the ones I liked best for this project (there are others of flowers, seedheads etc etc in my sketch book, some of which I used for other things):

I liked the shapes and the black and green. I liked the stripes.
These bits are from East’s packaging, I like the Chrysanthemum, though I prefer the monotone version they have (top left, rather than the bottom one).

I did some drawing and came up with this:

Largely based on lines from the East Chrysanthemum and the stripes from the collage, and in the three colourways, because although I thought green and black would be what I would go for (that’s why that one is the top one) I thought I should just do a bit of colour investigating to be sure.

I made this plate in black and green, not without its problems, the long thin bits of green were hard to cut without them breaking and it did take a long time to cut for what is quite a small dish and therefore had a limit on what I could charge for it. It also took a fair time to arrange all the bits of green on the base plate of black. Irritatingly one of the greens also had a tendency to devit so I ended up having to cap it with clear and fire it a second time before slumping it. Once I’d slumped it I sandblasted the underside so there was a matt underneath and a shiny top.

I liked it and made coasters to match.

However, if I was to make bowls of this sort then the process had to be quicker, it just was not economical to make the bowl with so many leaves so I simplified it and made:

At the same time I was playing with pattern bar (fusing glass into a solid shape e.g. square, triangular etc which can then be sliced up). Having decided that I liked green and black I made some triangular pattern bar that I sliced up and polished. To decide how I would like to have it arranged for a dish I played with it, moving the bits around each other – so there aren’t any pictures of this. I found I liked a square pattern with chevrons that reminded me of the stripy leaves (though they were green and red). The pattern bar section was not big enough for a plate so I needed to do something to make it plate sized, more stripes of green and black seemed a good plan so I made this square sushi dish

How to make some lampwork that would sit with this green and black work? I decided to continue with the stripes so I made stripy green and black beads starting with a black base and winding trails of different coloured green stringers round the bead. I then raked the trails backwards and forwards (I have a weakness for this sort of raking, it reminds me of colourful book edges and papers, and it also echoed the red and green stripy leaves from the picture). I wanted a lentil shape and so used a press to get a nice shape and consistent sizes. I made a necklace and a bracelet with the beads. I used copper as I thought it went with the green and black better than silver.


The blown work, well, I was (and still am) at the stage of learning how to do it at all, so for that I decided I would make pieces that had a trail which was then raked
I didn’t have any black or red so replaced the black with yellow, this is one of the very early pieces.

I’m still enjoying stripes – this is one of my more recent vases.

Now I’m playing with other ways of getting stripes, using an optic mold and also experimenting with different rims too:

And so the process continues and evolves.
I hope you enjoyed this.
PS: Please don’t think I’m always this structured though – sometimes I go to the torch with no idea of what I’m going to make until I start, sometimes I go to the torch or the hot shop to practice a particular skill (that’ll be encased floral beads in the case of lampwork – I love them and want to learn how to put flower murrine in to beads).

To see more of Karen's gorgeous work, you can visit her website: www.lilleyglassdesigns.co.uk


Kitzbitz Art Glass said...

How cool to see so many techiniques in the one place, it's easy to see the thread of your inspiration in every piece of glasswork. Your sketches are just lovely too :-D

Dawn Turner said...

Love the way you've translated one idea into several different techniques x