Friday, May 29, 2009

Planning an Exhibition Layout

Well, I'm happy to report that all of the artwork for my show at the Appleton Museum is finished, boxed, and ready for pick up! Installation begins Sunday afternoon. Due to the fact that the Museum is currently without a Curator, I have been given the task of designing the exhibition layout as well as assist with installation.

One of the best things I ever did throughout college and the years immediately following was work at various art galleries. If you can work part time in a gallery, I highly recommend it! Not only is it a fun place to work, the skills you'll learn are indispensable! Everything from how to submit a clear, professional exhibition proposal to shipping artwork to PR/marketing to techniques for making labels and properly hanging a show. As an artist, I found it endless helpful to know how things "worked" from the "other side."

So, when I was told that I would be the curator my show at the Appleton, I did not panic. Rather, I simply called upon another set of learned skills.

I do not have a fancy Computer Aided Design (CAD) program to help me render the layout in graphic 3D. Low-tech graph paper, colored pencils, and scotch tape worked just fine. Each sculpture was drawn to scale and cut out so that they could be easily arranged. Having an idea of where each piece is going to go, should help installation run much more smoothly. Stay tuned for more photos of the installation progress as well as the finished show. Thanks for reading and following along with me as I prepare for my first Museum exhibit!

Urban Bloom: Ceramic Sculptures by Meagan Chaney
June 5 - July 5, 2009
Appleton Museum of Art
Saturday, June 6
1:30 - 2:30 Artist talk and Demonstration
3:00 - 5:00 - Opening Reception

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Making Fused Glass Cabochons

Yesterday, while the kiln was firing with a load full of ceramic work for the Appleton Museum exhibit, I took advantage of the time to switch gears.

In late June I will be part of an exhibit at the Green Hill Center for Art in Greensboro, NC. They have asked for a grouping of 45 of my Mini Sculptures to be installed on the wall. (I am excited to see them hanging collectively!) My newest Minis included the addition of fused glass cabochons. My supply of these was running low, so I decided it was time to restock.

Thought I would share how to make fused glass cabochons. (Cabochon - a "stone" with a convex top and flat bottom.)

Using a glass cutter, I score lines at 1/4" intervals. I'll make all the score lines first, and then...

Break them over a small container with breaking pliers.
(You could also use the tile nippers that are used for mosaic work.)

After all that scoring, cutting and breaking -
an assortment of apx 1/4" square fused glass color chips
This was my very first kiln. It's an Evenheat Hot Box Mini Kiln, and is wonderful for small scale fused glass work. The shelf is only about 4" square, but you can see how many cabochons I am able to do at one time. The other great thing about this kiln is the section with the controller and heating elements can be lifted off so that the glass can be loaded easily.

After arranging the 1/4" chips for firing, the kiln is placed back on the base.
The lid is placed on top, and now we're ready to fire!

Because these glass pieces are so small, there's little concern for thermal shock from heating/cooling the glass too quickly.

I turn the kiln on high and set a timer for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, I visually start to check the progress by lifting up the lid. The kiln has a pyrometer that reads the temperature, but I've had more success by looking in on the progress inside the kiln. This firing ended up taking me around 30 minutes.
Here's a look inside after everything is all cooled off.

What makes this work is the 1/4" volume control rule for glass fusing. I won't go into technical, scientific details, but think of it like this - glass wants to be 1/4" thick. If it is thinner than this it will pull in on itself. If you stack multiple layers of glass on top of one another, they are going to spread out until the average thickness is 1/4". Here's a chart I made a while ago to help explain this.

Now it's time to select the right size and best color cabochon for each Mini.
100% silicone adhesive is used to attach the two together.
This was a quick rundown and overview of this process. I'm happy to explain anything in more detail, just leave a comment or email me -

Happy Fusing!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

New Work and In Progress

Here are a few more new and in-progress ceramic sculptures for my upcoming exhibition "Urban Bloom" at the Appleton Museum of Art. The Opening Reception is Saturday June 6th from 3 - 5pm. I will also be giving an Artist Talk and Hands-on-Demonstration just before the reception from 1:30 -2:30Scent of Childhood, Earthenware clay, 43" x 36" x 1"

Hearts Ease, earthenware clay, 33 x 20 x 1"

Patience, earthenware clay, 26 x 22 x 2"

Daybreak, earthenware clay, 24 x 16 x 1 1/2"

Anticipation, earthenware clay, 43" x 58" x 1"
(This piece was too large for my current photo set up, so I took this quick shot instead. The plan is to get installation shots at the Appleton next month.)

In-Progress, Untitled. Scale drawing taped to the design wall.

Thanks for reading and checking in on what's been happening in the studio! After my much-needed and overdue mental and physical break last week, things have been going great!