Ross School - Senior Project 2006-07

Student: Noah Salaway

Mentor: Patricia Lein

Consultant: Andy Stenerson

Domains: Science/Visual Arts

Product                            

Title: Glass Refabrication

Description:

My project consists of reworked glass bottles. I took bottles with interesting designs or shapes and reheated and reformed them using glassblowing techniques. I also used scientific methods to figure out the most efficient techniques, and recorded the successes and failures. In addition, I wrote an artist statement stating my inspirations for this project as well the processes and analysis of my artwork.

Details:

Abstract

My goal for this project was to take regular bottles and alter them in a way that makes them artistic.  Initially my goal was to reproduce a style used at a summer program I attended. In this program, Snow Farm, I saw one of the glassblowers reforming a variety of bottles into tumblers (stemless drinking glasses).  I had done glassblowing from scratch before, but I had never imagined doing it from preexisting bottles. This idea fascinated me and so I decided to make it my senior project. I was originally just planning on making tumblers and then selling them and donating the profits. However, I soon realized how much more I could do than create simple tumblers. I began adding stems, cuts, swirls, and just overall deforming the bottles into what I thought looked cool. As the project went on, my outside consultant, Andy Stenerson, and I began trying more advanced techniques such as sticking a bottle inside of another bottle, or cutting off parts of one and sticking them on another. Through the process of creating my artwork, I decided not to write my initially proposed essay. When I was coming up with the idea for my senior project, before I had actually started working on it, I had planned on writing an essay on the history and evolutionary uses of glass. However, after starting the art part of my project I decided that this was going to be a waste of time, especially since I had no interest whatsoever in writing papers. Creating the pieces ended up being more work than I had expected. With each piece we had to come up with our own techniques, each of which took many, many tries to perfect. We didnŐt look at other artistŐs techniques because what we were doing was unique. I didnŐt try to incorporate other styles into my work. For each piece I had to use my knowledge of the basic properties of glass and apply it to my own created techniques.

Coming up with my own techniques was fun, but at times it was very repetitive and annoying. Each bottle had its own attributes that could completely destroy a certain technique. For example, the Saratoga bottle heats up very quickly since it is made of a cobalt blue. This means that I could not work on a Saratoga bottle for too long or it would melt. On the other hand, the Grey Goose bottles took very long to heat up since they were extremely thick. Another difficulty was involved in the chemical makeup of the bottles. Glass can be made in a vast number of ways. The way that bottle companies make them is designed so that they pour into a mold and never move again. So even without the difficulty of completely creating our own techniques, we had to figure out how we could get the glass to even move.  Some of the bottles were more resistant than others, but in the end I feel that I got a good amount of completed pieces.

Works Consulted

Grove, Slate. Personal interview. Jul. 2006.

McCleod, James. Personal interview. Jul. 2006.

Puryear, Gillian. Personal interview. Sept. 2002 – Dec. 2002.

Stenerson, Andy. Personal interview. Sept. 2006 – Jan. 2007.

Community Member (Details)

My community member was Andy Stenerson. Andy is a glassblower with his own studio at his house in Amagansett. Prior to this project, Andy had only been working with the traditional Ňfrom scratchÓ techniques, so this was new to both him and me. His expertise in the field helped me come up with viable ways to construct my pieces.