Originality is born through experimentation.
From childhood, we’re taught to color inside the lines. But there is so much to learn from exploring outside set boundaries.
When planning my new webinar, Fusing for the Adventurous, I focused on designing unique pieces that didn’t adhere to traditional stack-and-fuse construction. I made it a point to try techniques that would yield questionable results. I then used those techniques in combination hoping for unexpected outcomes. My goal was to create fresh characteristics that I could then expand on to make extraordinary pieces of art.
When you experiment, there are bound to be surprises along the way. Many of the projects came out better than anticipated. Those are the pieces and methods I’ll revisit to take farther. Some projects didn’t come out as I had hoped, but their educational value is intact. With only minor changes to construction, materials, or firing schedules the pieces eventually came out well.
The best way to introduce yourself to experimenting is to start small. Next time you have an open corner on a kiln shelf fill it with a piece that’s made using a technique that intrigues you. I usually make the piece 2” x 2”. The piece may be small and even ugly. That’s okay. The value lies in stretching your skills and in seeing the results of the firing. That small success gives you the confidence to invest more material and more time into expanding that and other ideas. It opens a portal to new concepts and fresh designs.
Here’s what I learned during my experimental journey.
5 Tips for successful rebels:
1 Start with a Plan
The most exciting experimental pieces are often complex and tedious to make. Without a solid plan, you might be tempted to take short cuts or even quit. The educational value is lost without completion. Allow yourself the luxury of time and patience to follow through to the natural end.
2 Take Pictures
Before and after pictures are priceless, especially if you’re playing with unconventional materials. Different glasses react differently to heat. Therefore, variations in the expected results and the actual outcome are likely. These irregularities are welcome for the new design directions they might suggest.
3 Take Notes
This may seem repetitive to taking pictures, but notes are very valuable to the success of future projects. I write my notes in a pink spiral bound note book with glitter on the cover. The glitter is optional. Before fusing, I write down the glass I used, the starting dimensions of the project and the color and size of frit used, if applicable.
After fusing, I add comments relating to the changes that occurred during firing. I note if the shape changed unexpectedly or if a color looks different than I planned. I include the fusing temperature and the slumping temperature, plus any other details I think might be useful.
The benefit of taking notes goes beyond this single project. With good notes, you can combine techniques and accurately predict the outcome of previously untested designs.
Another befit to note taking is you can repeat your successes. More importantly, you can learn from and avoid repeating failures. Plus, you don’t have to keep all that detailed information top of mind. You’re free to welcome new project ideas knowing the information is easily accessible.
4 Stick to the Plan
It never fails, I’ll be in the middle of a new experimental project and the novelty of it spurs a new purpose for the art. When that happens, I force myself to stick to the original plan all the way to the end. I may take notes, so I can come back to the new application, but I forge ahead.
Trust yourself that your original idea was a good one. If you follow every tangent that presents itself you’ll become lost in the weeds and never accomplish anything of real value.
5 Never Give Up
Artists that you admire were not born great. They became great through trial and error, by pioneering innovative techniques and staying true their creative spirit. You can too!
This is only the beginning. There is so much potential for growth. The possibilities and endless.
Keep on fusing!
Excerpt from Fusing for the Adventurous Webinar
Check out the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGT7AIRz17U
For more tips and tricks visit:
Upcoming Webinars and Classes
Join me for more exciting tips and techniques!
NEW Fusing for the Adventurous Webinar
September 5, 2017
NEW Fusing for the Adventurous Webinar
September 7, 2017
Fusing with Frit Webinar
October 26, 2017
Creative Slumping Webinar
January 18, 2018
Advanced Glass Fusing Workshop
February 6 – 9, 2018
4-Days, Hands-on, Wesley Chapel, FL
Exceed your expectations! This workshop is ideal for ambitious glass fusers determined to go bigger and explore more in-depth kiln forming techniques! Join me in this comprehensive, 4-day workshop and enjoy, one-on-one instruction, step-by-step guidance to develop your own design style and an individualized project program - make what inspires YOU! You’ll love the creative momentum you gain from working four consecutive days. Seats size is limited. Register today!
Register here http://www.lisavogt.net/products.aspx?id=477
“Lisa is an exemplary educator who is passionate about her craft. She is highly organized and mindful of her student’s strengths and challenges. Best practices of teaching as well as craftsmanship were utilized throughout the workshop. Thank you for igniting my creative spirit to a whole new level.”