Sandblasted Glass Portraiture

lincoln_squareIt has been the challenge of rendering the human face that has been the main drive behind why I have so often pursued experimentally the ways to better control sandblasting as a medium.

Sandblasting is about blown sand and stencil. Most of the time stencils are affixed to the glass, that is the standard method used by almost all sandblasters. This “restriction” is what gives the medium it’s recognizably distinctive look of ultra sharp edges and soft gradations between things. It wasn’t long after I started etching before I was, in some circumstances, wanting to break free of that. I believe that for most sandblast artists who encounter that urge to go beyond the standard look logically attempt “freehand’ techniques to bridge that gap between sharp and soft edges.

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What is a “Free Press”?


The title is a question that could also read What is “Alternative news”? It is the natural result of people turning away from traditional mainstream network news for the reason that it does not function as a free press. Truth be told, it never really did.

A free press is a “natural” part of a society. People do not need to deliberately invent or design a “free press” – it will always design itself. Mainstream Media has only ever “occupied” the spot where the free press would be if it could be. Since it can’t be there, it has to be elsewhere. Even if there were no internet, the free press would still exist in some other form. With the internet though, the real free press, is for the first time accessible enough in the form of alternative media that MSM is genuinely dying. The powers that should not be do not intend to let go of their favorite power tool. Their “Fake News” narrative is yet another gigantic piece of evidence that we conspiracy theorists have been right all along. It is yet another thing that SHOULD enlighten people about the seriousness of the situation, and that we cannot afford to just keep floating along in a stupor, allowing things to continue to deteriorate as we have for so long.

Anyone can contribute to this cause. In sufficient numbers “the people” can do just about anything. When is it time to save free speech? I think it’s when it becomes clear that there are important things not being talked about… from fear. Fear of what? It doesn’t really matter. A society that appears to be letting go of it’s main principle so easily, coerced into giving up what it had said it was all about? Obviously it is precisely the time. How? Well for starters by supporting the real free press, in every way that you can. Especially with your own free speech. Never assume your voice doesn’t count.

We don’t have the freedom of speech to talk about the weather. We have the first amendment so we can say some very controversial things” ~ Ron Paul

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Between Glass and Stone

stonecarvedRelief carving by Ron Branch circa 1989 ~ I’d like to do a series of these soon. This is a small piece of flagstone, approximately 8″ x 12″. It has hand crafted mounting hardware by Bill Branch (my Dad).

Between glass and stone I feel stone is the more forgiving medium to work with. As a material, float glass is predictable, as in there are no hidden surprises. As a transparent canvas it is unique, with its distinctly beautiful qualities, but there is no variance from piece to piece… and so it quickly becomes all about the etching.

With stone however, you are entering the unknown. Oddly though, this is not a source of anxiety. Instead, a great deal of the pressure is off. In those rare occasions that something bad is coming, like a severe crack, or a pocket of nothingness, you don’t see it until it arrives. Blaming yourself for the issue is useless since you really had no way of foreseeing it. Blaming the stone, well… that would just be absurd.

So for me there is a self granted state of acceptance. Besides, most of the “surprises” are often what I like best about the finished piece. There really IS therefore, a strong feeling of interaction, a kind of partnership with the material. By virtue of it’s unpredictable variances, it participates – lending its uniqueness to the art.

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A Focus on Lighting

Regarding the importance of considering how etched glass and light go together, my goal is to arrange what I’m learning into an easy to digest overview of the subject so that a quick look at the page results in raised awareness. To see how the lighting page is coming along click HERE or watch this short video below.

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