Sunday, June 13, 2010

Glass Imagery Workshop by Michael Janis at the Washington Glass School

"Inspired by ways we transform ourselves, I work at creating creates glass pieces that have both visual and spatial depth. By layering and fusing sheets of glass with overlapping elements, I strive for an interactive commentary using simple forms with intricate glass powder drawings.  These works are a continuation of my frit powder drawings that I have been working on for some time now. The layered compositions allow me to make unusual juxtapositions of imagery.
My kilnformed work takes scenes and suspends them within layers of fused, formed and coldworked sheet glass. Using crushed glass powder to create drawings, I like to play on the elements of light, color and also sequence. The glass powder is sifted onto glass sheets, and by scraping and scratching the sifted black glass dust I craft my artwork. The glass panel is then fired in an electric kiln at temperatures up to 1600°F. This time consuming process facilitates drawn out contemplation of often overlooked imagery.
I work hard to create some kind of meaning out of my artworks - dream-state surrealism using figures, text and common objects, and hint at questions. The artworks suggest meanings but they encourage the viewers to draw their own conclusions. The work has an intrinsic meaning for me, but they remain open to multiple interpretations. I want to encourage the possibility of exploring meanings beyond those I put there – I count on the viewer bringing something to the work." - Michael Janis

On Saturday I had the pleasure of being the TA for Michael Janis' workshop on Imagery in Glass at The Washington Glass School.  I love Michael's work, two sample of which are above, and was excited to learn more about the processes used in creating imagery in glass.

The process predominantly used by Michael is the use of glass frit powders which are manipulated with sieves, paint brushes and fine blades to carefully create the images in multiple layers of glass, which are then fused together in a final firing. I have a new appreciation for the extreme level of technical difficulty this process requires and the copious amounts of patience it takes!

We also learned about markers that can be used to write on glass, stencils, waterslide decals and special paints that can all be applied on glass and then fired in kilns. 

I can't wait to apply these techniques to glass panels which can then be incoporated into my reliquaries!


  1. I look forward to the new reliquaries containing etched glass treasures.

  2. I Know, me too!
    By the way, I really loved your recent post explaining the symbolism behind your work. It added another rich dimension to your work that made me love it even more, which I didn't think was even possible!