Sorry, I haven’t been very good at posting while at Pilchuck. I got a little busy.
The course was a really fantastic experience, I think the most interesting thing about it was the collage of everyone’s individual expertise in creating the session. Lienors was really wonderful at bringing everyone together and playing on each individuals strengths, which meant that the final walk through for our class was quite varied.
We did a lot of playing, and our classroom was often full of camera carnage. We ripped apart thrift store cameras for their lenses, and played with machine made prisms and lenses and handmade ones. We explored the refractive properties of glass and water, and how they interacted. We experimented with ambient light, and projected light. We experimented with time-based media, like stop motion animation. We learned how to mirror – and how to dispose of mirroring waste in an environmentally responsible manner, and we played with mirroring a variety of surfaces, polished, engraved, straight out of the kiln, and even tree bark and sunflower seeds.
I wanetd to use existing, rather than projected light, in my work. Dan and I did a collaborative piece with the lens that I hand ground, using plywood as a film to record the day, and one of the most magical things about it was the way that at sunrise and sunset, it projected the image of what was around it onto the panel as well. You can just barely see it in the image below, with the hint of the upside-down tree line near the end of the burned line. We recorded it through the day as a stop motion animation
But I think the most interesting thing that I explored was installing camera obscura with engraved glass as the “film.” It’s definitely still work in progress, the lens in this one had a 9 inch focal distance, and I used some steel tube to frame it, which of course made it absurdly heavy, and I have to do some thinking and writing about them, to figure out where they should be going.
This is a few experiments in one… first the camera obscura, which is hard to photograph. The object is a steel tube with an engraving of an ear on the front side, and a lens on the back. The lens projects the image of whatever you direct it at onto the engraving. The engraving itself was also a bit of an experiment. The glass was sand cast, so it is quite thick, and I covered it with a thick layer of white powder. Because the powder was so thick, it has a very crackly texture, like mud that has dried in the sun. I’m not sure I like it… and I think that it’s too heavy, but it might be interesting to play with in the future, if I want to do more sculptural, deep cutting.
I think that one of the more unique elements of this particular corse was that one of the artists in residence, Dr. Elizabeth Presa spent quite a bit of time with us. Her artistic practice is deeply integrated with philosophy, and there were a few days where she came in and we read some philosophical papers together and had discussions about them. They were all related to glass and vision and truth, and were quite interesting conversations to have.