Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Adventures in Glass ~ A Visit with Stan Harmon

This past weekend my boyfriend, Robert and I enjoyed a great visit with glass artist, Stan Harmon, at his home and studio on the Neuse River in New Bern, NC. What started out as an invitation to go fishing turned into an artistic retreat when the weather turned rainy and cold.

Just touring Stan's eclectic studio is a real treat. This custom built garage/art studio/ apartment is crammed with all kinds of fascinating art, tools, equipment and cool stuff he's collected over the years. He's set up to create a variety of glass art, from the stained glass panels builders commission for their custom homes to the fused glass artworks we currently feature in the gallery as well as anything else he can come up with. Wife, Marti, also loves to play in the studio and her creations are scattered through the space.

Stan uses the light table, shown in the right side of the photo above, to lay out his glass panels. These designs are really like paintings in glass. He uses fine powdered glass "frit" to make up the colors of the lifelike fish he favors.

Note the tuba horn crafted into a ventilation hood. More evidence than Stan never throws any ting away, finding utility in all kinds of stuff. The jars along the right side show different sizes and colors of frit. In the rear you can see the clamshell kiln he uses to fire his larger pieces. He has two other kilns as well.

Here is the wood/metal shop where Stan creates his hand forged sculptural copper hangers. He has everything he need to noodle around and make just about whatever he wants. That is, if he can find a square inch of counter space to work. This shop is a tinkerer's dream.

Here are our art camp creations. Above is my abstract platter. It's been through the first firing and now will be slumped into a form to make a square platter with raised edges. What you can't see is the sparkle from the adventurine glass and the irridized glass. One thing about a freeform pattern of color, you really can't make a mistake, it is all good!

These two adorable designs are what Robert created to give to his young granddaughters. You see them placed in the kiln about to be fired to fuse all the parts together. What you see is powder and fragmented bits of glass arranged on top of two sheets of glass, one clear and one white. The glass seeks to be 1/4" thick and everything will melt together and end up as a flat piece. In a subsequent firing these disks will be slumped into a form to make cereal bowls.

It was great to have the opportunity to just play for an afternoon with all the supplies and tools available and ample coaching from both Stan and Marti. We learned a lot and I have a whole new appreciation for Stan's gorgeous fish panels. They really are paintings captured in glass.

To see more of Stan's work, click here. Remember, that it's very difficult to really capture the sparkle and 3-D effect of these panels. Stop by the gallery to see them in person. Hope to see you soon!
Star Sosa

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