We usually know the key subject or focal point of a fused glass project from the very beginning. You enter the studio with the intention of making a piece with a sail boat or a geometric pattern. It’s that basic plan that fuels your creative actions. Making the subject is easy. But don’t stop there.
What about the background?
The background is equally, and possibly more important than the subject. How the background is handled can dramatically improve the power and appeal of a work of art. A good background enhances the focal point. It reinforces the subject with images or shapes that establish setting or create a mood that further support the artist’s specific visual goals.
Last month, at Glass Craft & Bead Expo in Las Vegas I had the pleasure of working with several creative students in my Fusing Art Design class.
We did a fun group exercise.
We built a fused glass design together. I went around the room and asked each student to contribute a random design element. The exercise quickly illustrated the dramatic impact the background has on a design. It showed how the addition of simple, complementary elements can sway the design direction. And how the choices we make can produce unique, exciting designs. The spontaneity of the student’s additions combined with their diverse interests and individual styles resulted in a fun and funky design.
This exercise was so impactful inside the classroom, I thought it might be of value outside the classroom as well.
Evolution of a Design
The first student contributed the shape of our project, a square.
The next student added the focal point, a cat. Being in a classroom situation, with limited time, I drew the cat from behind to minimize the detail.
The following student suggested the setting. She placed the cat in Las Vegas. I drew a simple slot machine into the design. Of course, our cat has a winning spin with three mice.
I then asked the next student what pattern we could add to reinforce the Las Vegas theme. She offered dollar signs which worked beautifully. I increased the line size on the dollar signs to further enhance our design motif.
A cocktail was suggested next. I added a martini glass with an olive.
The cheese wedge, and puffy purse were drawn in to add balance to the design composition.
At this point, we decide as a group that the design had enough elements. If during fabrication, we thought it needed more detail we’d select patterned or textured glass to add more visual interest.
This design was drawn on my computer using the Glass Eye 2000, from Dragonfly Software. https://www.dfly.com/
This cat design is fun, but not revolutionary. However, the free-style design approach that evolved from this exercise has enormous potential. It clearly emphasizes the power of spontaneous thinking and how we can use it to develop our own original works of art.
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Artist Website www.LisaVogt.net
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