I use a lot of clear window glass in my work.
I layer it over mirror and color it with alcohol inks and sometimes there are up to 8 layers of glass in one piece.
I was raised by Depression Era parents who wasted nothing and they passed that ethic on to me. When I replaced all the original 1950’s windows in my home a few years ago, I wouldn’t let the installers throw any of them in the dumpster. They reside snugly in my attic waiting for my next project.
In the meantime, friends, neighbors, and locals who know me give me old windows. LOTS of old windows. The frames are falling to pieces, they are covered with fly spots, old layers of paint, and more dust and grime than I thought possible. The wood smells musty and the hardware is rusted. But the glass is fabulous.
It’s simple, 1/8th inch thick clear window glass. As ubiquitous as air. We’re surrounded by it. We look through it every day. We measure our days through it gazing at a sunrise or sunset, watching children play, watching the seasons change. This glass has held back countless storms, snow, wind, hail, oppressive heat, and bitter cold. This glass has been there for the beginning of journeys and at the end of homecomings. This glass has history, yet it is as clear, shiny, and flat as the day it was made.
I like to think that I’m taking this shiny, hard, sharp, common substance and elevating it. What went on around it through its life is now added to my work and my artistic vision. The colors that the glass reflected are now on its surface and changing its character. Viewers no longer look THROUGH this glass, but rather into it.
I like to let the glass “speak” to me when I manipulate it (I’m not crazy, it doesn’t actually say words ). When glass breaks in an unexpected manner it seems to be pointing me in a direction I hadn’t considered. When it won’t lay properly, it seems to be telling me to try something else. When I listen to it, really listen to where it wants to go, then the glass, and the artwork resulting from it, sings.