Our talented and determined glass fusion artist, Mary Ellen Larkins, will be our featured artist in May at C’ville Arts. She will be at the gallery to meet you and share her stunning collection during the First Friday Event on May 5th, 2017, from 6 to 8 p.m.
It was about 20 years ago when Mary Ellen first met and fell in love with glass and fire. Watching this dazzling, yet hard and cold material, be transformed by intense heat into a multitude of art forms fascinated her from the beginning. At first, leaned on her graphic arts training to design stunning color blocked bowls and plates that might require three or four trips into the kiln to get the exact intended effect. Sometimes pieces were assembled into arresting sculptural forms.
As time went on, she wanted to move beyond this artful geometry into more lyrical representational use of the glass to form lovely landscapes, created from memories of her favorite places. This latest technique involves “painting” with tiny fragments of crushed glass (called frit and powder) as though it were a liquid medium. Numerous colored and patterned layers are created on thin sheets of glass, and sequentially fired in a 1400 degree kiln to form deep images. Sometimes enamels are used to create fine details or entire vistas. Techniques may be combined, or even pushed into entirely new processes to get desired results.
The results of a kiln firing are always surprising, and usually happily so — but glass can be a harsh mistress. It takes a great deal of technical knowledge and strategizing to get the desired effect without causing the glass to fracture or deform in an unintended way. Sometimes days of work can be lost in a kiln mishap. But usually the kiln door is opened to reveal a magical surprise full of rich color and flowing forms.
It is the challenge of this medium and the lovely effects not achievable in other art form that drives Mary Ellen along on her creative journey.
To learn more about Mary Ellen’s work visit her web site Maryellenlarkins.com.