February 2010 Archives
The last waterjet section was due for completion today; the water sections of the first column on the left. However, the blank broke during the cutting process. A new blank had to be cut and fired in the kiln. When loading it in the kiln, the fragile corner chipped. However, the piece could still be saved.
At the same time, the most complex waterjet piece was pieced together and assembled in the kiln. The pieces are firing at a gentle pace to allow all the stresses to dissipate.
Jeff is in the process of dissecting all the digital information from the overall piece into all the separate layers. There are 49 layers of printed images to be done and we have completed seven so far. So from now on, printing the images onto the layers of glass will be the main focus of work; a long road ahead!
Hi, just a quick note to say check out the new exhibition charting the creation of the LIverpool Map.
It opened at the Daily Post offices on Old Hall Street, Liverpool, and includes photographs used in the sculptures manufacture as well as samples of glass showing how it will be fused together.
Running until February 26, it also demonstrates the involvement of Daily Post readers in creating what will be an icon art work enjoyed by future generations of Liverpool people and visitors to the city.
The image above is a sneak preview of what it will look like when it's in its new home in the Museum of Liverpool.
This is the final installment to catch up you to our current progress on the Liverpool Map
16th January 2010
Emma, one of the Level 2 students has bravely agreed to help me lift, carry and cut the large panes of glass. Handling large sheets of glass requires a different technique from handling smaller panes. In order to get a clean cut, you have to snap the glass to separate the two halves. She takes it all in her stride!
We break a few but this glass, although not usable for this application, will get used somewhere else so all is not wasted. The stack of glass Emma and I have prepared will allow Jeff to continue firing during the week without the need to cut.
The first firings are blanks of a double layer of 3mm glass. From these Jeff will be cutting the jigsaw that is each piece; each layer has both coloured and clear glass sections. Each colour is cut out on the waterjet and a corresponding shape cut out of the clear blank. The shapes in the blank are removed and replaced with the coloured sections. Today Jeff has been busy cutting the first parts of the white streetgrid on the waterjet.
24th January 2010
Emma and Jenna help us today and are busy snapping of the glass parts of the Mersey and cleaning them. Jeff has devised a clever way of keeping all the small parts of the intricate pattern of the Mersey estuary intact, not unlike the parts of a toy model car. The smaller parts are that small that when cut on the waterjet, they fall through the metal grid to be lost forever in the depths of the murky water underneath. This way all the pieces remain in formation, which also helps to locate them in the giant jigsaw that each piece is! After the glass is cleaned, we carefully transfer it to the kiln, in the same order, where it will get its second firing.
As LM have asked for technical spec of the materials for conservation purposes so we have agreed to make a sample that can be submitted for age-testing.
This means we have to take all the materials we use, compose them in a sample in the same way we are making the real thing, cut it in half and submit one half to a ridiculous amount of lux (light) that mimicks the exposure to daylight over a long period of time. As the materials we use are ceramic and glass based, we don't think it will be in issue.
So we get a quick introduction to screenprinting by Jeff and make up some colourswatches of all the enamels we will be using.
The firing we put in comes out well! Progress indeed....!
27th January 2010
Whilst Jeff keeps the kilns going, I travel down to Liverpool via Carlisle to meet up with Jen at LM and her team. I am introduced to Becky from Redmond Design who are appointed to design the plinths in the gallery. The Map will be housed in a specially designed and engineered steel plinth. Becky will liaise with me on the design of the plinth and will involve and engineer to calculate the loading and support needed to keep six tall slim glass blocks upright and safe!
It is nice to be involved and feel supported within a larger team; usually I would have to do all this by myself!
Another update on where we are up to...
Jeff continues to experiment and test. He produces another sample and goes to Liverpool to discuss progress.
1 December 2009
Jeff and I go to Liverpool to present the final submission in a Powerpoint presentation together with Bettina's beautiful 3D rendering of the Map and a full scale glass section of the Map to the panel. Although the Redmonds can't be there, the rest of the team love it.
The Redmonds give their approval later and the green light is on for full scale production to start.
Jeff continues to test and experiment with the material to get the details just so.
I order the materials so we can make use of the lower VAT rate before the increase in January. It also means all will be ready for the start in January.
The continued snow over the Christmas period mean I am snowed in the first week of January which we had set aside to get started in earnest. As I cant go anywhere, I go sledging instead!
15th January 2010
Doing some housekeeping; preparing the area in the University Department where we will be working; a large cutting table to cut the large sheets of glass and rolling table to move work-in progress. We find a remnant of bright orange carpet in the National Glass Centre (NGC) skip which is perfect as a cover for the cutting table; the carpet gives a bit of cushioning for the glass.
We sort out storage for the glass and all the materials that we will need and try to make it as ergonomic and safe as possible. Students will be helping us on the project. Several have responded to an internal advert for work experience; seeing a project like this take shape and develop, warts and all, is a great opportunity for our students, and one we are happy to share!
Next stage - producing a sample
Presentation of the final research together with a working sample.
Meanwhile Justina at the ML is a great help in sourcing images for us from the LM Archives - which she makes sure have copyright clearance - to use in the printed layers if the Map.
Since the contract is signed, we can finally order materials. The glass we use is from Bullseye in the USA. The glass is a batch of large scale Tekta glass which has been waiting to be shipped in the factory. It will take 6-8 weeks to get freighted across the ocean (it will get shipped into Liverpool incidentally) and Pearsons, whom are also based in Liverpool, are handling the order.
Inge has baby son and Jeff gets married so Map gets put on backburner for a few weeks.
Three large crates arrive at the University.
We will be making this project at the Glass and Ceramics Department of the University of Sunderland where we both work. The crates are forklifted in by Tim, the technician; two are full of 2x1m Tekta sheets. For the glassbuffs reading this; these are rather large sheets of clear and expensive Bullseye glass. Handling them will be a challenge! There is also a crate of coloured glass as we will be using some coloured glass segments; opaque white to denote the street infrastructure, transparent red, blue and yellow for the different boundaries and seablue for the Mersey River.
Continuing the story of the Liverpool Map...
Jeff and I take our respective partners with us for an extended weekend in Liverpool to explore the city as preparation for our research.
The new Liverpool Museum is taking shape. It is a brand new building being built on the Mersey that will be a museum dedicated to the City of Liverpool. It will be cited between the Liver building and the Albert Dock and is designed by Danish architects 3XN.
The Daily Post is the media partner of the Liverpool Map project and have been conducting polls through the paper enquiring where people feel the boundary of Liverpool is, and what they feel is Liverpool? The poll results prove to be difficult to interpret into concrete boundary lines and lead to some excited discussions around the table with Phil Redmond and the team.
19 May 2009
The contract is signed. Meanwhile we have continued our basic research. Research includes consultation of several books, internet searches and correspondence with Liverpool Museum (LM) Staff as well as interpretation of further Daily Post findings.
We conclude our research and put together a document that explains how the content is formatted into a giant multilayered map. We have used both Ordnance Survey maps and City boundaries as well as the Daily Post findings to define distinct geographical boundaries, determined both by official borders as well as emotive interpretations of the city of Liverpool area.
Because the LM team are so impressed with our proposal, they have moved it from its initial site in the lobby to one of the main gallery spaces. The new LM will have two main galleries. We will be in the gallery with a 8m tall window overlooking the Mersey and the Liver Building; a great spot indeed. This does mean that there will be a LOT more light flooding the piece. Originally it was to be sited against a wall with no backlighting and as such we had proposed to use very little coloured glass, instead bringing in colour with the opaque glass enamels.
We are now bringing in strong colours that can withstand this barrage of light; bright red, yellow, blue and seablue, This density of colour is traditionally used in stained glass windows. We are combining this with printed imagery. The Map will now also be viewed from both sides so the printing will be placed so as to be able to be interpreted both from the front and back.
HI, I'M Inge, one of the two artists behind the Liverpool Map. Although we've only just started writing this blog we have been working on the art work for a long time.
Over the next couples of blog entries I'm going to catch you up on what we've been up to.
This story starts in June 2008 with a small advert in the artist magazine A-N.
The advert sounded intriguing; artists were sought to submit an outline proposal for a cultural map of Liverpool to celebrate its Capital of Culture 2008 with a permanent piece of sculpture that was to be sited in the new Museum of Liverpool.
I thought glass would be a beautiful medium to interpret a multi-layered cultural snapshot of Liverpool 2008. My colleague Jeff Sarmiento at the University of Sunderland's work consist often of many layers of printed glass stacked and fused together, allowing a depth of visual information to be built up. I thought this technique would be a good way to approach this project and asked if he wanted to put in a joint application to which he agreed. Little did he, or I for that matter know what we were letting ourselves in for!
31 July 2008
Jeff and I are both sent a letter to tell us our proposal has made a shortlist of two from a nationwide call for submissions and invite us for interview. We are very excited; Jeff in particular. We both work with glass but work in very different ways. I predominantly work to commission which involves submitting applications, doing speculative proposals, going for interviews, meeting clients groups, discussions with architects, working with contractors... Jeff works very differently as a gallery artist. He works mostly by himself in the studio producing world class glass sculptures and he is a technical maverick. As such we combined our experiences in the proposal.
25 September 2008
So off we went to Liverpool to be interviewed as part of the shortlisting process.
We both went with the idea that it was an honour to get to this stage, whatever happened. We used the long train journey from Newcastle to Liverpool to brief ourselves and prepare for the interview. We prepared a Powerpoint presentation to showcase our individual work and explain our joint proposal.
Jeff and I are called for interview; we were nervous but excited. It was clear in the interview that we are both bringing our different expertise to this project. The interview panel of around eight people consist of members from the Liverpool Museum, Open Culture, Daily Post and Phil and Alexis Redmond who are sponsoring this project.
Clearly we impressed them as on Friday, on my way home I receive a phonecall from George (from Liverpool Museum) to say we won the contract and would we like to make the Liverpool Map!
I call Jeff; we are both a bit gobsmacked! We are delighted and worried at the same time as now we will have to deliver this. It is a complicated piece, both in content proposal and technical delivery.
I am however confident that with a good team we can do this!