I started on my AA2A placement last week at the National Glass Centre where the ceramic and glass departments are based for the University of Sunderland (the view from outside the centre looking over the Wear...an unexpected bonus of this scheme is that it gets you out of your own studio and looking at new scenery, the bright sunny day helped too).
I didn't get as much work ready before hand as work is taking longer than expected on other projects (always the way) but managed one large powder based blank, though unfortunately I managed to break off a corner. The yellow, white and grey combinations are really working well at the moment and I'm especially enjoying working on both sides with layers of powders and building three dimensional designs (thinking ahead for when this piece gets slumped into a vessel).As this was going to be one of the biggest vessels I've made (the reason I applied to the scheme was for access to larger kilns) I thought it was safer not to slump this piece as it probably didn't have enough glass to keep it safe on the rim. I took a few other pieces with me and just got the feel of the place instead.
I felt a bit like a kid at school for the first time, as I kept going the wrong way to find the coldworking room and didn't know many people. But everyone has been so friendly and managed to meet one of the other glass artists on the scheme Kateriin Rikken, who was over from Estonia for a 2 week block making great use of the water jet cutter.
Using a very lovely, huge Kilncare casting kiln for a big slump (and remember kids a watched kiln never slumps!!)I soon realised I needed to get the firing on earlier in the day as I was still looking at the drop at 8.45pm (one of the benefits of working at home is that I can go and look at the kiln whenever the firing schedule dictates). I'd like to get several firings on my next visit so need to be ready to go in the morning. Currently making some very large moulds to utilise the large kilns.
Whilst there this time I did a quick session with some of the current BA and MA students. Here they are setting up a big kiln with 12 small drops (I've yet to find out how these came out, as I gave them a suggested firing schedule and left to come back home!)....fingers crossed.
I came home very enthused about working big and the chance I have to work at Sunderland, meeting with fellow glass artists, Inge Panneels (my mentor whilst on the scheme and also my fellow Creative Business Advocate for Craft in the Borders), Professor Kevin Petrie (Glass and Ceramics Team Leader), Jeffrey Sarmiento, James Maskrey and Cate Watkinson.