On Nov. 25th, 2009, I was awarded a University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Undergraduate Research Grant to research "Glass Blown Photography," a process in which I will blow glass (at Southern Fried Glass, Sparta, WI) and then attempt to print photography onto the surface of the glass using a liquid emulsion called Liquid Light. Below is my initial research proposal.
I am currently in the final stages of completing this grant, working on developing my images onto the glass blown works that I have created. These works were created throughout a 6 week class that I took this summer, as well as in lessons I've continued taking to specialize the designs I had planned for my grant. For more information on the glassblowing studio I work at, please visit www.southernfriedglass.com.
My Research Proposal
Background/Statement of the Problem/Significance of the Project
As an artist, I am very interested of incorporating motion into a sterile piece. In my recent history, my photography has often focused on this idea, and dancers have become an integral subject throughout my work.
In early 2009, I began working with Angela Steidl and Chad Moriarty, recently relocated glassblowers in Sparta, Wisconsin, doing mural work and assisting him with shows. While I have always had an interest in glassblowing, seeing it live gave me an even greater yearning to try it myself, as glass itself has characteristics that relate to the idea of motion.
My interest in expressing motion through two-dimensional surfaces, along with an increasing interest in glassblowing, brought me to the idea of combining the two in a mixed media project. This project would allow me to research a mixed media art process, which would incorporate glassblowing and photography, with the underlying content of motion. As far as my research has shown thus far, these are two media that have not been combined previously in this form.
This research will not only allow me to investigate glassblowing, a form of art I have not yet attempted, but also allow me to explore and present my findings on two-dimensional art projected on a three-dimensional surface, while paying special attention to expressing the idea of motion through both glass and photography. The research will give me the chance to explore two medias in combination with each other, realize their similarities and differences, and contextualize glassblowing with the intent of photographic printing. I will also work to create photography with the intent of application to a three-dimensional surface.
Objective 1: To research and/or discover new and unique ways to print photography on a three-dimensional surface.
Objective 2: To incorporate the expression of motion into both photography and glassblowing.
Objective 3: To discover and work to enhance the effects, (light, distortion, spatial illusion) of printing two-dimensional photography on a three-dimensional surface.
Objective 4: To create a large-scale, blown glass piece, which incorporates motion-themed photography in innovative ways.
The proposed outcome of this research will be a series of three-dimensional pieces incorporating photography and expressing motion through both glass and imagery. After the project is completed, I would expect to have greater knowledge of the process of glassblowing and three-dimensional photographic printing.
First, I would research glassblowers, such as Dale Chihuly, Dan Dailey and Chad Moriarty, as well as others, and study the process of glassblowing. I would also research photographers that have focused on motion, and also the photographic process of printing with liquid emulsion. Next, I would begin designing three- dimensional blown glass pieces and discussing the designs with both my mentor, Jennifer Terpstra, and Chad Moriarty, artist/owner of Southern Fried Glass. After designing the pieces, I would have a few lessons to create small blown glass objects to experiment with in the photography lab. I would then hold shoots for photography with the main focus on expressing the idea of motion (subjects including dancers, fabric, the human form). I would then apply liquid light sensitive emulsion to the pieces, and print the photographs on to the glass pieces. I
will continually reinvent the process to find new and unique ways to combine the two-dimensional elements of photography with the three-dimensional elements of the glass. Based on previous experience, I would foresee having issues with photography appearing dark enough and/or realistic enough due to the distortion of the glass. In order to combat this, I will work with differing exposure times and temperatures in order to find a solution
that is most aesthetically pleasing. After completing these smaller pieces, I would return to designing for a larger scale piece, and work with Mr. Moriarty to complete larger pieces onto which I will incorporate more photographic images.
Final Products and Dissemination
Upon completion, I will publish my findings about the combination of glassblowing and photography on my website. I will also present my findings to students within the UWL community, including the Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creativity. The final products of this research will be a series of pieces designed around the idea of motion and completed in glass media with photograph emulsions on the surface. As I conclude my research, I plan to seek exhibition opportunities and I will exhibit these pieces and publish my findings to my website, www.bethanymarieexpressions.yolasite.com, and a blog on art.blogs.wkbt.com adding search engine access so that the information will be easily accessible to audiences around the world. I would also post the findings to numerous glass blowing forums so that other artists may benefit from my research. After documenting my work, I would also like to do live demonstrations with high school students who rarely gain access to a glass blowing facility.
Overall, I feel that Glass Blown Photography would be a research project that would not only benefit me as an artist, but also the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse community, public community, local students, and fellow glassblowers. I plan to share my work as often as possible, so that others may benefit from my research. Through combining these two previously separate medias, I hope to create a new series of art that may unify glassblowing and photography to create well-designed and executed works of art.