Tree Collage (1999)

Tree collage, © 1999 J. Thomson All rights reserved

Another collage of trees with several of the Wings of Desire chrysallis sculptures attached to them. My professor hated the idea so I never made them, but he loved this collage. Available in the gift shop here.

Slice (1999)

Slice, © 1999 J. Thomson All rights reserved

Having just returned to the United States after a year’s absence, and then re-uniting with my partner and relocating to Philadelphia, I was in a mood to settle down. I started exploring issues of domestic life, and this is the first indication of something I would explore for years. This drawing of a slice of bread represents home and comfort, as well as the banality of everyday life.

I went on to make cast glass sculptures of bread slices from molds I carefully made, (unfortunately, I only have slides of these, and no way to scan them). But this process was too time consuming for my busy schedule. Not only did I have to spend hours and hours making the original sculpture out of clay or wax and creating the mold from that, but I also had to anneal the glass slowly in a kiln over a period of days or weeks. Finally, I would have to spend hours cold working the glass to grind and polish away any imperfections.

So I invented a new more immediate technique. I made a mold of an oversized slice of bread out of a thick piece of wood, which I kept soaking in water. Then I could pour hot molten glass into it, and have them out of the annealing oven in two days. I made hundreds of slices of bread this way, and showed them in various configurations in the gallery for exhibits and critiques. I even sold a few at a gallery in Chelsea in New York City. I still have many of these slices packed away, and they can be purchased relatively cheaply too. Just drop me a line if you’re interested.

I also explored using bread in other ways, including as a sculptural medium itself.

 

Saint Lucy (1999)

St. Lucy, © 1999 J. Thomson All rights reserved.

Another drawing of Saint Lucy, this time a flying mermaid also makes an appearance. I’m not sure why now. Available in the gift shop here.

Saint Lucy (1999)

Saint Lucy, © 1999 J. Thomson All rights reserved.

Saint Lucy, from my 1999 Sketchbook. Available in the gift shop here.

Saint Lucy is a Christian saint (whose name comes from the Latin Lux, for light; she is the patron saint of blind people) who spurned her suitors and consecrated her virginity to God. In one version of the story, her would-be husband tortured her and took her eyes out with a fork; in another version her suitor admired her eyes, so she pulled them out and told him to leave her to God. She is usually depicted holding a pair of eyes on a platter.

Messiah (1999)

Messiah, © 1999 J. Thomson all rights reserved

Messiah, from my 1999 sketchbook. Available in the giftshop here.

Madonna (1999)

Madonna © 1999 J. Thomson all rights reserved

Madonna, From my 1999 sketchbook. Available in the giftshop here.

1999 Sketchbook

© 1999 J. Thomson

During my year as artist in residence in Scotland, I was talked into applying for graduate school at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. Because of the timing of my stay in Scotland, I would have to wait another year back in the states before applying to schools, and I wasn’t sure what I would do for that year.

To make a long story short, I was accepted into the MFA program in glass at Tyler, but that meant I had to leave Scotland a month early so I could go home, pack and move to Philadelphia, a city I’d never been to before.

To say my first few months back were a bit of culture shock for me is an understatement. I was reeling. I didn’t know what I wanted to make art about, and I was still trying to get grounded in a routine at my new school. The work load was horrific (15 credits a semester, plus studio work–my glassblowing time slot was 2am – 4am–as well as student teaching/work study). I barely had time to think. And because working in glass is so time consuming, there was hardly time to finish any work for critiques.

It was obvious I was floundering, and one of my professors insisted that I keep a sketchbook, even though I’d stopped doing that years earlier, and didn’t really have time to do it anyway. These are the covers of the sketchbook, and the next few posts will have some drawings from it.

© 1999 J. Thomson