If There Is A Will, There Is A Way
Pringle Teetor Blog
When we opened our studio for the 8th season last fall (our season is October through June), I thought that this year might be a good year to slow down and enjoy life a little more instead of working so hard. Maybe do just a few shows, spend time taking better care of myself, get in better shape……..well, that didn’t work!
The 2014 winter was full of ups and downs. Temperatures went way way down and propane prices doubled. Color prices went up since metal prices went up. We had the snow storms, ice storms, power outages, including one that kept us out of our home and in a hotel for over a week with 2 dogs, one who was very ill (has since passed on) and oh! I fell down and broke my ankle in February. But I didn’t know it for about a month. Then it started hurting. A lot. I finally went to the doctor who put me in this boot cast for 2 1/2 months. I was out of the studio another month, then when I finally felt comfortable enough to blow glass in a boot cast, I realized how little time I had left before we shut down for the summer. PANIC! Working alone with the boot on my foot I knew there were some things I would not be able to do by myself so I had to improvise – think of a new way to make what I wanted to make before we shut down for the summer.
I had always been fascinated with the use of a bronze “pineapple” or “diamond” optic mold to put patterns of bubbles in glass. It is a very tricky tool to learn to use. The mold has diamond shaped points on the inside that one you blow into it with molten glass on the end of your pipe, it leave diamond shaped dents in the glass. When you gather another layer of glass over these dents, it leaves perfectly placed air bubbles in your glass. The trick is getting out of the mold once you go in – it is very easy to get the molten glass on the end of your pipe stuck in this mold. Your shape and temperature have to be “just right”! I spent a lot of time practicing with this tool! I wanted to use this tool as a way to make my rolling wine decanters interesting without the use of an assistant in the studio. I only have either of my partners on weekends and I work alone during the week so I thought this would be nice. This led to more bubble pieces, rolling bubble glasses, bowls and more. Fun with Bubbles!
My love of chemical reaction between colors with high gold and silver content is a mainstay in my work. Many of the bowls I make are made using the same colors and technique every time I make them yet they each come out different. These pieces just glow under a good halogen spotlight!
Dreams also played an important roll in this years work. One of my series of pieces that resemble clouds against the earth as seen from the space station uses colors that are stiff and soft together, which does interesting things in molten glass. The stiff glass doesn’t melt in as much and tends to hold its shape instead of melting into the other colors. They can be used to write down your dreams and put them inside. This could be for daydreams or night dreams, hopes or wishes.
The yarn ball series started out as a color test – to see how a stiff color looked if it was wrapped around a softer color. Black and white pieces are traditionally difficult because black is extremely soft, and white is very stiff. By this I mean they melt at different temperatures – the black will be soupy runny glass while the white stays stiff longer. It can be quite a frustrating and challenge experience! So of course I had to try working these two colors together. It was fun thinking of interesting and striking combinations.
I ended up having surgery on my ankle in early July. This was usually the time I do my “cold work” which is the wet grinding and polishing of the pieces to smooth punty marks or flatten bottoms of vases. I do this in my back yard workshop only during the summer, as it is not possible to heat for working during the winter. Once the surgical cast was removed after 2 weeks, another non-weight bearing cast was placed on my leg for 4 more weeks. Plus, I was told not to get the cast wet. Or sweat in it. It wasn’t coming off until the same day the show was going up in the gallery. You know the old saying “if there is a will, there is a way”? Thank you Harrison Ford (yes, the actor) for breaking your leg and allowing yourself to be photographed using this device (Iwalk Free). It worked for me too!
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