design city and urban glass

I started off the week with a visit to the Gardiner Museum‘s Breaking Boundaries exhibition with four young Canadian artists – Shary Boyle, Marc Courtemanche, Carmela Laganse and Brendan Tang (closes Jan 30, 2011).   I really enjoyed viewing Shary Boyle’s works.  I was especially interested in the lace draping technique on her porcelain sculptures.  Cotton lace is dipped in slip (liquid porcelain) and applied to the work.  During firing, the cotton burns away leaving a very delicate filigree of porcelain.  Boyle’s works are a fascinating contrast of the gorgeous and grotesque.  Also loved the vampire blood-letting furniture by Carmela Laganse.

I stopped into MADE (a design shop on Dundas West at Manning) on my way home.  They were busy installing MADE at Home for Do Design – a four day free event located between Bathurst and Grace on Dundas West.  Unfortunately Bookhou was closed for installation of CAPACITY for the same event. I’ve got to get back to check it out. Their hours will be extended this week…open Sunday.

Check out the Toronto International Design Festival website for more info on events throughout the city this weekend.

URBAN GLASS: Aaron Oussoren

THIS SATURDAY: Aaron will be participating in INNOVATORS + IDEAS (viva voce lectures from the Craft Studio) – Contemporary Craft Series at the Harbourfront Centre on Saturday, January 29, 2011. 1-5pm. FREE!

Street Light Reader

Aaron Oussoren was introduced to the craft of glassworking in 2002 in Toronto. Taking an intuitive approach in his pursuits, Aaron has always been motivated by new combinations of technique that often result in “undiscovered” objects. Every project is embarked upon with the intent of discovering something new in the material, process, and self.

Aaron Oussoren enrolled in the glass program at Sheridan College in 2004 to explore his ideas through object making. Today, he uses a combination of screen printing, fusing, slumping, and glassblowing techniques in using glass as a canvas.

A residency at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto and a scholarship to Pilchuck Glass School, near Seattle, have given Aaron the opportunity to be inspired by a variety of international artists. These opportunities have pushed him to pursue glassworking in many different capacities.

Over this past year, Aaron has participated in international exhibitions, collaborated with architects, commissioned works of public art, worked with nationally funded curators developing ideas, as well as continued his own practice. It is the scope of these varied approaches that allows Aaron to continually re-formulate his relationship with glass as a material of utility and artistic expression.

Aaron lives in Toronto where he is a full-time Artist in Residence at Harbourfront Centre glass studio. He enjoys teaching and has found that professional fulfillment lies in the sharing of knowledge.

Manhole Cover

Manhole Covers: Aaron took photographs of Toronto manhole covers, as part on an ongoing study of the systems that make up the city.  He liked their variations and felt that the object really lent itself to the sand casting process. Based on the photographs, Aaron re-created the manhole cover using foam. In a bed of sand, he created an impression of the manhole using the foam positive.  He added glass colour to the sand to create three transparent colours:  grey, opal and fuchsia.  He polished the edge of each manhole cover to allow the light into the piece.  The smooth edge is a wonderful contrast to the gritty surface.

Street Light Reader: These blown glass pieces include screen printing in glass enamels of street lights and figures.  The images are taken from photographs of the Gardiner Expressway and self portraits of Aaron reading and biking.

Helpful Definitions

Sand casting: involves pouring molten glass into an impression made in sand.  Coloured glass may be applied to the sand to give a surface colour to the sand cast object  Sand cast glass can come out clean with the use of a release, or it can appear more gritty, depending on the texture the artist is seeking.

Glass Blowing: The process of free-blowing involves the blowing of short puffs of air into a molten portion of glass which is gathered at one end of the blowpipe. This has the effect of forming an elastic skin on the interior of the glass blob that matches the exterior caused by the removal of heat from the furnace. The glassworker can then quickly inflate the molten glass to a coherent blob and work it into a desired shape.

Sally McCubbin and Aaron Oussoren

Recent News: Aaron and fellow artist and collaborator in Timid Glass, Sally McCubbin, were granted a commission for a collaborative work entitled One Among Many which is at Arlington Ave on St. Clair West’s streetcar line.  This project was part of St. Clair Avenue West Transit Improvements Project (SCW) Public Art Program. All the sketches in One among Many are drawn from the streets of Toronto.

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