Mondrian in Stained Glass

November 2010

In early November we're due back on a weekend fused glass course where I'm hoping to try a full B301 and maybe a few smaller scale items...

[Saturday] We have just finished day one of the course and I have four small pieces melting in the oven as I write. I decided against a full B301 as cutting all those yellow strips would have driven me mad: if we buy a kiln I may well build it in sections - less risky as if something goes wrong I haven't lost the lot and £100 of glass. I'll post the four pieces when I bring them back tomorrow and there should be another five-or-so in the oven to pick up next week.

B173 B214 B217 B243

[Sunday] I brought the first four home tonight. B217 came out well, B241 and B173 ok, but B243 turned out a bit of a mess. Currently in the oven are B126 and B306, with B117, B235 and B152 in the queue.

[Wednesday 17th] I picked up the second batch yesterday. They all turned out pretty well, Im just waiting for the sun to come out to take the snaps [added two days later].

B117 B126 B152 B235 B306

We brought home plenty of glass to carry on and plan to buy a kiln to cook them in. I am not sure whether it is possible to build the later works in miniature, but I aim to make most of the compositions. One course colleague kindly gave me a spare piece of green fusing glass and that reminded me of the so-called (by some) Composition with Green B215. Here's the story. It was a good green and that will be the first piece I make if we get a kiln.

August 2010

An obvious, remarkably effective, yet seemingly untried (perhaps that should be insufficiently realised) medium for the homage is stained glass. At the time of writing (5th August 2010) I am on a one-week course taught by the remarkable Lynettte Wrigley at the splendid Lead & Light. And, of course, I am making homages.

I'll get five test pieces done on the course and then the intention is to build a larger window specifically to fit over our front door.

I brought the first three home tonight.

The first is based on the standard Mondrian design, Composition with Red, Blue and Yellow, 1930.

I adjusted the size to match the piece of red glass to hand and the proportions to make the components manageable for a glass neophyte.
Mondrian by Nick Blackburn Mondrian, Composition with Red, Blue and Yellow, 1930
The second need not detain us long, a cod Rothko to occupy the second afternoon. I was aiming for a synthesis of his lighter works and his dull pieces, though mostly driven by the glass available in the discard box. Rothko by Nick Blackburn
The third I count a surprisingly successful experiment. It is a detail (top left hand corner) from New York City, 1942. This was cooked overnight in the kiln, having spent the third morning cutting lengths of compatible fusing glass (including interstitial clear glass to prevent the coloured components from spreading) which were laid on a sheet of clear glass. The result was far more attractive and precise than I had anticipated.

I am tempted to return for a fused-glass course and try to create the whole piece.

Note, the largest piece their kiln will hold is about 20"x20", so I'll make some calculations on that basis. The original is 47"x45" (119.3x114.2 cm). In the detail, I used 18mm strips.
Mondrian by Nick Blackburn Mondrian, New York City, 1942

6th August, stepping up to more detailed work, the variously tinkered-with (by PM) and renamed:

A simplified version ofComposition, 1940 /
Composition No.11, 1940-42 - London, with Blue, Red and Yellow, 1940-42

Oops, that's upside-down. I'll take another snap tomorrow(-ish).
Mondrian by Nick Blackburn Mondrian Composition No.11, 1940-42 - London
A fairly straight take on Composition No.2, 1938 /
Composition of Red, Blue, Yellow and White No.III, 1939

The original, complete with my fenestratial (or should that be in vitro) calculations.
Mondrian by Nick Blackburn Mondrian Composition of Red, Blue, Yellow and White No.III, 1939

PM For the last piece, I was tempted to pursue one with just lines rather than colours, emphasising PM's point that the lines are as important as the spaces, and also toying with a fundamental basis of stained glass, which relies on colour. This was a key to the choice of the fourth piece which is mostly white glass. I considered Composition in Black and White, with Double Lines, 1934 or Composition No.1 Lozenge with Four Lines, 1930 [images to follow]. But in the end, stayed with splashes of colour.
As previously noted, the choice is often glass-driven and I had just enough coloured fusing glass remaining to tesselate #5.
Fusing projects need fusing glass, but fusing glass can be used anywhere.

PM For those who were on the course with me, I mentioned that Mondrian resorted to flower paintings, as these sold better than his compositions. Here's my favourite, PM's Amaryllis. And on the right is the piece on tiles, painted for the Collection by Roberta (whose surname and web-site have disappeared into the ether).
If any of the class of August 2010 would care to knock one of these out for me in stained glass, please go right ahead.

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page started 5th August 2010