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visual artist and writer marisol diaz

i am a self-defined Nuyorican creative (that is a Puerto Rican who is from both the isles of Manhattan, NYC and the Caribbean). I share daily in the joy of education and live in a cute port town in New York, in a 'teensy-weensy' apartment with my two dogs and canary named Valentino. Check out my Etsy shop for purchasable pieces. Please do not reproduce imagery off of this site without explicit credit and no derivatives may be made of my original imagery- Thank You.

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Entries in glass (8)


Updated Glasswork Portfolio

Hey there folks! It's been in baby steps I'm sure, but slowly I've been updating my Glass Art portfolio. All the portfolio's are in need of clean-up, re-organization and re-clarification since I hurriedly posted something up two years ago when I first started my blog. I would love for folks to click on the portfolio and check it out!

My Alice glass illustration and block by marisol diaz

I still have more to upload and rearrange. I have made a distinction between glass 'art' and glass 'sketches' as the first is more about pieces I feel are more resolved with clear intention and the latter is about products that emerge out of the process of learning and experimenting.

Wooly Willy magnet toy

Many of you have asked about the techniques. When illustrating, I work with ground glass called frit. It can be ground into different consistencies - coarse to powdery. Much like one would play with a 'Wooly Willy' magnet toy and push around the crushed magnets to draw Willy's hair or mustache, I push around the glass frit to illustrate. After each layer of glass has a frit drawing on it - it then gets fired, usually into one singular block of glass. Such is the case with the 'Alice' above. Often time there is great depth to these illustrations that is almost impossible to capture in a photograph head on. So please check out my glass art gallery!

Well, I hope you have all had a beautiful day!


Ciao Amarettogirl


Glass Explorations II

While contemplating the word encasement, I explored some new glass powder work this summer.

Unintentionally, my concept was very similar to an assignment that I gave my students last year. The assignment (to paint a distorted self-portrait by basing the composition on a scanned/xeroxed facial print) was a blessing for some students who flourished with the 'chiaroscuro' demands of the project. However, the assignment proved to be challenging for others, who were left feeling disillusioned, which for me as an art educator is never ok.

quick sketch of idea as I saw it in my mind actual xerox of my facexerox of my face 11"x 11" layered glass tile made with glass powders entitled ENCASED by marisol diaz When working with glass powders, your initial drawing is very forgiving since the dry powders can simply be wiped (or blown) away until you fire it. However if you're working to create strong blacks it can be challenging since the material that you're working with is transparent and will also be reflective (it is glass) - thats why we use light tables during the process. Once the glass is fired your options become very limited since you can only add material and re-fire.

For this piece I combined both picture references of my face to create a new composition that included my hand. After the piece was fired I re-fired it with a layer of clear glass on top. The thickness and depth that created is difficult to see in the above shot. That clear glass layer also really helped 'encase' the piece. In addition, it made more sense why this piece was made out of glass as opposed to a drawing or a painting. I love sharing these explorations with you all!


Some Glass Explorations

powdered glass sketch by marisol diazGlass landscape sketch with powdered glass on light table - marisol diaz

Inspiring Glass Artist Richard Parrish

The teaching assistant for Catharine Newell's glass class at the Studio in Corning, NY was glass artist Richard Parrish (who was off to teach his own glass class at Pilchuck Glass School in Seattle WA after ours). Richard had been Catharine's teaching assistant before and fortunately their working relationship was great one. As students we benefitted the most from this combo because each artist was so dramatically different yet very stimulated by the other's art.

What on Earth? by Richard Parrish 2007 Kiln-formed and coldworked glass panel

Richard has moved on from a career in Architecture and has roots in Montana. Although often subtle or invisible Richard's work is very much informed by the figurative. The above series of work (which really resonate with topographical earth views) are my favorite. However, Richard also does architectural commissions, glass tapestries, studio productions plates. He sells some of these art pieces on Artnet if you are interested in purchasing one. While we were in class together my class mates and I were privileged to see Richard make some TESTS for future work and now you can be just as lucky too!

Check out these dimensional glass powder and kiln-formed tile- tests, in which Richard is investigating surface textures, colors relationships, dimension and landscapes!

Test1 (and my personal favorite)test2test3

Favorites at Corning

Well, I'm fortunate enough to be at glass class at The Studio again this year, and being taught by one of my all time favorite glass artist Catharine Newell whose course is entitled, A Particulate Language. While I'm here (and until January 3, 2010) Corning Museum of Glass is showing an AWESOME exhibit entitled Favorites From the Contemporary Glass Collection where they feature some of their most popular contempory works.

While You Were Sleeping by Christina Bothwell at Corning Museum of Glass

Above is one of my personal favorites from this exhibit- a piece by Christina Bothwell that employs ceramics raku, in addition to glass.

Omagh by Clifford Rainey at Corning Museum of Glass

Another exhibit that is happening while I'm here (and will be up until January 3rd, 2010) is Voices of Contemporary Glass: The Heineman Collection, which showcases more than 230 important works by 84 international artists. And since we're discussing favorites I just had to show this museum piece to the left entitled Omagh that is made but cast and cut ground glass by British b. Northern Ireland artist Clifford Rainey in 2001. This piece really resonates with me and even the work that I do.

As for my class, we have had our first two days and working with Catharine and our TA Richard Parrish has been intriguing and provocative to say the least.

Compared to past glass classes that I have taken, this a relatively small session (in terms of attending students) which is a special treat when considering community, attention, space and depth of focus. I will be sure to keep you abreast of our progress!

For anyone who has followed my work you will know that I am very interested in working with powdered glass to combine my illustrative passions with those I have for the medium of glass. Catharine Newell has been an artist whose work in powders has been very inspirational. If you don't know anything about this medium or process I urge you to watch this Youtube video on her and the process!


Inspiring Artist - Sylvia Levenson

While I was taking the class at The Studio @ the Corning Museum of glass I got to visit the museum collection frequently. One of my favorite pieces (and there were many) was this piece by artist Sylvia Levenson.

It's Raining Knives by Sylvia Levenson

On of our class assignments was to seek out a piece from the glass collection to respond to via our own art work. As I get adjusted to moving out of NYC and deeper into the jaws of suburbia, and as I watch the continuing politics of fear immobilize people, I was deeply drawn to this sculpture. The title card also spoke volumes about our human exchange with fear.

For me, Sylvia's sculpture invokes the innocence of youth. The colorful houses and even the astro-turf are reminiscent of cloistered safety. The fact that she makes use of glass only adds to tenuous, fragile and volatile potential of the situation.

In my own work I am very drawn to the melancholy of loss, especially innocence lost. I had been feverishly illustrating a series of young girls in my sketchbook and was considering carefully composing them in a paper-doll fashion of sheets of glass. In addition I am very interested in stained glass, and really wanted to consider cutting my sheet glass into forms before I illustrated on them with the vitreous paint (this technique is explained in past post). I was inspired by the element of repetition as well. That is how my art pieces entitled Lost Girls was born.

detail of Lost Girls by marisol diaz

Lost Girls by marisol diaz

So with little time (for class was in its last three days) I cut sheet glass, painted and fired as many girls from my sketchbook and bunnies as I could. The scale is much smaller and less colorful than Levenson's work but the inspiration is there...in my way.

Lost Girls 2 detail by marisol diaz

More Sandblasted Glass from my time in Corning

Here are some sneak peeks at some more of my earlier sandblasted glass pieces from my time at the Studio at the Corning Museum of Glass.

Since I am really interested in graphic design and illustration I really tried to combine these varied interests. Often glass surface treatment is not narrative, but more decorative in nature. However, the images that I developed for the surface manipulation was more personal with a definitive narrative, so my interest in illustration and graphic line really started to show up.

Popped Balloon by marisol diaz

With this particular image - the assignment was to blast a hole entirely through the glass...I couldn't see how I would do that in manner that made sense me, unless it was through a heart. This piece is actually slightly smaller (than the on screen size) in real life and that adds to its charm - at this scale and with the flatness of the photograph - it loses some of its graphic pop.

Paz by marisol diaz

This particular image is actually much larger than this image (8 1/2' x 11') and the assignment was to create variations in the blasting tones, such as gradations. Since I was coming up with my design ideas on the fly (with no preset plan) I was even surprised to see the imagery I formed, all of which had to be cut out with an exacto knife of a protective sheet (buttercut) in stages to blast (see the last post to understand buttercut).

Think With Your Head Not With Your Heart Fool by marisol diaz

This piece is done on 1/2inch thick glass which is lost with the photogragh...and was most time consuming since the size is around 10 by 10 inches. I also 'royally messed up' by packing the glass in my backpack one evening to work after 11pm and after riding my bike, hence the side of the glass with no protection got scratched (good lesson to learn) and so I had to lightly blast the front edges of the piece to compensate...some say you would never notice if I didn't tell (another lesson to learn).

Still, these pieces are from the first few days of class...after which my work began to evolve in quite a different direction which I will share with you all next...so stay tuned.


At Corning

Well I am off on my own for two weeks for another glass class...but this time - its at Corning! I have to say - I have taken classes at the following glass schools, Haystack - in Deer Isle- Maine, Pilchuck (2x on scholarship), Urban Glass in Brooklyn, NY, Bullseye in Portland Oregon, and none of these are physically as close to me in location as Corning is and it is now over ten years into my love affair with glass that I get know the Corning Glass Museum. It is the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory of the glass world!

I am on my third day and I have so much to show everyone...I have already made 5 sand-blasted pieces but unfortunately my camera will not work with my laptop and I will have to wait to show you all my pictures. The class I am taking vitreous painting and sand-blasting class taught by Denise Stillwagon Leone...a wonderful teacher and amazing artist! Some of the work we are doing is similar to work I have done in the past, but the vitreous painting is the same process as one of my favorite artists who I have blogged about in the past... Judith Schaechter Definitely click on that if you did not get a chance to see it before...there is also one of my stained glass pieces there.

I know this wasn't the most exciting blog but stick with me until I can get my new glass work up here for you all to see. Hopefully, this weekend when my husband comes we can get some new pics,...until then I am back to the glass classroom!