For nearly three decades I have employed birds and bird imagery as a metaphor for my ruminations on relationships, parenting, home, shelter, and geographical identification. As an artist, I have been drawn to the ideas of identity that grow out of a sense of place and self.
In my series, Avian, I take a closer look at this subject as a metaphor for ourselves. I pixelate, deconstruct and then reconstruct these birds. They perch upon a tablet identical to the one from which they are created. The tablets serve as reminders of their past. They represent their shadow, cartography, and their DNA. They are built, much like we are - one piece, or experience, at a time.
I construct these birds by taking colored sheet glass and cutting these sheets into 6” strips that are stacked into a rectangular block of stacked glass. The pattern is discernible on the end of each stack and this pattern continues through the entire length of the block. This stacked block is then heated in a kiln and picked up on the end of a steel rod. It is heated and squeezed until it is uniformly melted ant which point it is stretched or drawn down to a 12’ rectilinear glass rod. This glass rod is cooled to room temperature overnight. The rods are then cut into small sections that are referred to as murine. The pattern can be seen in the across section of each piece of murrini. These murrini are the building blocks to the larger Avian pattern. An average of eight different murrini patterns are used for each tablet. Once the patterning of the tablet is made by arranging the little squares of murrini, the assembled pattern is put into a kiln and melted into a rectangular sheet. These thick sheets of fused glass murrini contain all of the color and pattern information that will be carried into the final bird form. These are in a sense deconstructions of a three dimensional bird, they are a dimensional bird unfolded into a flat pattern. From here the tablet is once again heated and then rolled up onto a glass collar on a steel blowpipe. The sheet is curled into a cylinder, the seam is fused together and then the end of the patterned cylinder is restricted and closed off. It is now a glass bubble, but a bubble with all of the coloration placed exactly where it is needed to be to be sculpt, folded, and shaped into a dimensional glass bird.