24 Sep 2008

North Lands Creative Glass Masterclass Part Four

The motley crew of fellow students and tutors......

As this course was run in a relaxed way, we could come and go from the studios to visit local sites. I found this useful to clear your head and to get outside, especially as Caithness was actually having a summer. I was running a low-tech course (i.e. no computer!) which meant I couldn't work directly from images taken on the course, so thought I would take many to come home with and hopefully produce a few new wall based panels along a Lybster theme. This gorge I named 'bunny gorge' is on the way down to the harbour. It's a very long drop down to the water so hanging over the edge on a windy day is not for the faint hearted.

Day 6 continued the theme of tradition.....Jiri spoke to us about simplifying form amd showed us several leaflets he had produced of cave printings, childrens engravings and work from artists he admired. Above is a piece of Jiris he worked on throughout the course, one of many beautiful portraits he produced.

I took a range of Bullseye samples with me to work on. This piece turned into 'cactus fork', playing with the lovely reactions between French Vanilla and Turquoise (sulfur and copper) (the red is a chinagraph pencil used as its waxy form stays on the glass when wet.

Day 7 was group outing day....many of the group went to visit Orkney. I chose not to go mainly because of money (i thought it was good value for money but we hadn't been told about these trips until we arrived so I hadn't budgeted for the extra cost....shame as it looked beautiful from the photos taken by the group, they even saw a tornado!). As I drove up from Dumfries and Galloway I had the car, so I went on my own mini-trip with recommendations from Dennis.
At 8.30am I was sitting in John O'Groats car park eating my maccoroni pie (for those uninitiated ones a macoroni pie is macoroni chesse in a pie!!!...a Scottish speciality and one I partake in regurlarly!).
Dunnet Head...the most northerly point of Britain was my next stop, quite amazing tall, steep cliffs along the coast line. A quick walk along Dunnet Head beach and then off to Thurso.

On the way back to Lybster, first on the A9 but then on B roads and single track roads, I came across these......

These are the Causeymire Wind Farm turbines....all 21 of them. I sat there for ages just watching them go round, after a couple of days driving about the place I saw them from many angles.

These sites were on the way to the 'Flow Country' near Loch More.

Day 8, our last full day of the course, I finished this cameo (the harder of the two as it was several sheets of Bullseye) but with a translucent base colour.

A finished view of the one above after sandblasting and a lovely buff with baby oil!!

Also learnt the mix for a great glass cleaner (bit strong for windows but used for getting sticky, waxy stuff of engraved and fused glass).....third distilled water, third white vinegar and a third propanal alcohol.

For are last night Dennis cooked up a plan to surprise us all.....April, Zak and Jiri all dressed in traditional Scottish Dress. It was a fantastic surprise and they all looked great. We also were taught the basics of bowls by the Lybster Bowls group (and where we had lunch that evening)....think I'd like to try the game again.

Richard Jolley playing bowls......

Sadly, the last day came around (although very ready to go home and was enjoying the play time and forgetting about commitments at home). We spent several hours in the morning finishing pieces and then a good clear up of the cold working room and our benches. These were then set up with the fruits of our course.

Denis Manns work table....such beautiful prints.

Kathys local cow...they seemed to be a lot tamer than the D&G cows, even mothers with babies would stay and say hello.

Istra Toner sketches of cows...

As the course comes to an end I have the evening to reflect on what I had experienced and started to get excited about getting back to work and the changes that might occur.

North Lands is an extremely interesting venue. The local landscape, so different than here in D&G, is very stimulating and quite dramatic, the facilities in the studio are extremely well kept, in great working order and a good range of work stations, the staff are extremely helpful, easy going and welcoming (a big thanks to Lorna, Grace, Carrie, Bunty, Karen, The Mckays, Bay View Hotel and The Portland Arms for their hospitality)....all these factors make a wonderful experience, finished with yet another rainbow.

I hope to go back one day........

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