Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Early Morning Leaves

The panel is designed as a portal, bridging the spiritual and the material. The generative power of the embedded geometry, overlapping circles, and the radiating energy fields of the leaves combine to create a transition space, a portal, where the spiritual world can bridge the material world. The Vesica Piscis, overlapping circles, represents any unity in the midst of becoming dual and symbolically joins together heaven and earth, above and below, creator and creation. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Early Morning Leaves - Secrets at Dawn

These leaves contain a powerful presence. It took some weeks of getting to know them, just before dawn, before I began to draw them and their radiating energy fields. The leaves, the small tree, presented a very complex picture of consciousness.

This full-blown consciousness is literally bursting to make itself known. I have celebrated its individuality and anticipated its growth by placing it in  a powerful and generative geometric context.

The geometric armature supports the emergence
of this newly revealed nature consciousness
by means of three general processes.

The Generative Process,
symbolized by the square root of 2:
The diagonal, dividing the root square in half, serves as “an expression of the assimilative, generating, transformative function which is root”. The root is a symbol for the law of sacrifice in nature, for like a mother, its efforts are not for its own benefit but to uplift the plant in its movement toward the light.
The Formative Process,
symbolized by the square root of 3:
The Vesica Piscis appears as overlapping circles, literally, a bladder [vesica] which when filled with air would be in the form of a fish [piscis]. They represent any unity in the midst of becoming dual and symbolically join together heaven and earth, above and below, creator and creation.
The Regenerative Process,
symbolized by the square root of 5 and its related function of PHI, the golden Proportion:
This is the proportion which opens the way for the family of relationships called the Golden Mean or 1:1.618. The Golden Proportion generates a set of symbols which were used by the Platonic philosophers as a support for the ideal of divine or universal love.
[Text taken from Robert Lawlor; Sacred Geometry, Philosophy and Practice]

"The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you
Don't go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the door sill
Where the two worlds touch.
The Door is round and open.
Don't go back to sleep."


Winter Transition on Thoreau Street (Right Side)

This half of the winter panel design contains the celebratory conifers.  This panel and the following one will be viewed on the landscape side by side, slightly overlapping and supported by a masonry surround.  These slab-glass (dalles de verre) panels will be placed on the landscape.  The total width of the two panels will be 30 feet.
Through all the seasons, their celebratory upper branches reach up and out, and convey enjoyment of every moment.  They are wonderful companions.  The radiant horizon in the panel center, the elevated energy of the lower center and left provide food for the soul in the middle of the season of snow and ice.  

Friday, October 23, 2009

Winter Transition on Thoreau Street - Details

Winter Panel (Left)

Winter Panel (Right)

Landscape Study
Both panels, each a tribute to Gaia during this mid-winter occasion, will live together on the landscape, in a masonry surround above a reflecting pool. The colored glass, the light and the reflecting pool are placed to receive and reflect the early mornng Winter Solstice sunlight and playfully celebrate this seasonal event.  Cultures and nature consciousness around the globe celebrate this significant time of  rebirth and express gratitude for the beginning of another cycle of fertility and growth.

Mid-winter weather offers color-filled therapy to all of us.  The colors almost physically touch us as the sun moves across the sky.   From the larger designed panel of Winter Transition on Thoreau St. I plan to construct these as my next dalles de verre sample panels.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Winter Transition on Thoreau Street (Left Side)

Winter Solstice morning light during the morning of December 21 will confirm that this band of trees have placed their lives in our safekeeping. Their energy levels are barely pulsing. Almost invisible background colors wrap them in sleep-inducing rich, somber quilts.Winter for them is truly an act of trust. They trust we will treat them with respect and not injure them during their winter sleep.

Fall Transition on Thoreau Street - Details

Fall Transition on Thoreau Street:. Slab Glass Design Sketch

Sample Panel
It is quite a committment to design and build these larger panels without a few smaller trial detail panels. Here is one that I have fabricated.  It is taken from the larger Fall Transition design.  Magic begins when light passes through glass!

Sample  Panel

As I develop these larger panels (each at 12 ft. in diameter) , all will be located in the landscape, with supportive masonry surrounds.

Fall Transition on Thoreau Street

One of my most deeply felt and satisfying designs draws on the presence of a stand of trees at the edge of my commuter train platform.  Photographing them over the years in all seasons, watching them energetically grow and thrive, or become temporarily ill and recover to full energy, has led me to consider them as a second family. I have become aware of their "calendar" which is in fact, the calendar of most of the natural world. Their lives are intimately tied to the Earth's position in relation to the sun that governs light and temperature, and, I confidently add, to the amount of human admiration and helpful attention they experience. I have designed three seasonal panels, (with the fourth in progress) representing fall, winter, spring and summer. My plan is to erect these four panels in the landscape, oriented to receive the first morning and last evening light at solstice and equinox times of the solar year. What more intimate way to acknowledge their life and energy! This is similar to celebrating a beloved friend's birthday! This natural celebrtion cycle easily extends our awareness to the natural "liturgies" and cycles of our solar system.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fall Crystals - Under/Over Water

In the front yard of my home lived an amazing shrub that looked down over a shallow fish pond, home to four large golden carp. Every fall at the onset of frosty mornings, the shrub's outer leaves would shine with tiny ice crystals creating a halo. This was a magical event! I recorded the beautiful contribution this shrub made to my mornings by designing a sidelight to my residence's front entry door.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Chalice Window (3)

This panel has made it out of the design stage. The actual panel
 is so much more filled with life than the design sketch!

Chalice Window (2)

The second Chalice Window panel design emphasizes more clearly the natural geometry found in the growth patterns of the shrubbery.  I have strengthened the geometry through the use of color and have included an overlay of the geometry emphasized in the design. The geometric overlay represents the step by step operation of the squaring of the circle, an ancient, integrative geometry. It represents the circle (the infinite) communicating with human intuition (the pentagon) through the laws of harmony and reason (the square) . [Lawlor]  The chalice itself offers a refreshing nectar, a gift, from the natural world around us.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chalice Window

One of my train platform friends who greeted me mornings, year after year in the fall.  A powerful presence!

Glass cutting cartoon with geometry overlay.

 I celebrated this presence with a series of three commemorative window panels. The first panel named "The Burning Bush" is shown below. In this design have joined the medieval geometric construct, the squaring of the circle, with the image of the shrubbery. The circle represents un-manifest spirit-space and the square represents the manifest, comprehensible world. “When a near-equality is drawn between the circle and the square, the infinite is able to express its dimensions or qualities through the finite.” [Lawlor] 

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Discovering Slab Glass (Dalles de Verre)

Some years back when I was living in Montana, I had started a small stained glass studio (Bear Canyon Studios) in a shop I had renovated next to my home. I designed and built leaded glass panels, and was selling them to residents of Bozeman, Helena and to some farmer/ranchers in the area. I also caried out repairs to some existing leaded glass windows in various churches in the area. A friend of mine told me about a new glass studio just begun in Philipsburg, an old silver mining ghost town. Phillipsburg is up in the mountains around Helena and is fairly remote. The studio was started by a Roman Catholic priest, who was better suited to designing and fabricating glass panels, than to more social priestly duties. The Church had asked him to design and build stained glass panels for many of the Roman Churches in Montana. And build them he did! I drove up into the mountains one Saturday, to Philipsburg, to visit  his studio. He worked exclusively with slab glass (dalles de verre) bound in a two-part thermoset epoxy polymer matrix. He faceted the glass pieces around the edges to give the light extra intensity as it passed through the glass. After a very enlightening afternoon in his studio (he had purchased the old town hall, for literally two or three dollars, renovated it) he suggested that I stop on my way back to Bozeman, to see a panel he had recently installed in a small chapel in Three Forks (or Trident as it is sometimes called). I found the chapel alongside the road and walked into an unlocked, tiny vestibule. As the door swung shut behind me, I realized there were no lights in the vestibule. I was in the dark except for the light coming through my friend's newly installed panel. The panel was about 6 ft. by 5 ft. and comprised of a fairly tight palette of lively, vibrating blues. These varying blues, literally "bouncing around" within the field added immensely to its energy. The total effect was stunning! It felt to me that I was actually being physically touched by the color! I had never had that intense an experience with stained glass before. My body immediately understood how light and color could actually have a physical effect! This was and is a life-changing experience. I was hooked!! Since then I have designed and built slab glass panels, with the expectation of re-experiencing that wonderful first moment when I literally FELT the color. And the expectation has been realized, time and again.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Schjeldahl's stained glass article (New Yorker-5/12/08)

I appreciated his article "Many Colored Glass". His work was beautifully researched giving me a more intimate feeling of the stained glass artists G. Richter and S. Polke and their context. There is a value in presenting the detailed context of the social motivations and artists's background and glass technician's skill. I believe this is historically interesting but I feel there is an aspect of the window and artist he reviewed that I found missing.

In the Cologne Cathedrale, G. Richter lays the groundwork for a powerful, transcendental, physical and by extension, spiritual experience.  He has brought together colored light, geometry and intent.  The geometries of the window border frames, themselves developed from geometry expressing transcendental ratios, provide a programmable framework that is intrinsically energized.   And when combined with both words and music of a liturgy (energized further by the geometry and chant), have the potential to form a veritable "broadcasting station" disseminating a subliminal, liturgical message.
It is unfortunate that the colored glass chosen by G. Richter is unfocussed and scattered across the color spectrum. A focussed, unified color scheme, or at least a tighter palette could have worked much more powerfully in concert with the energized geometries of the window borders. It is a relief that there are no liturgically themed graphics (no ever-present Christians-At-War). I wish Schjeldahl's article had included comments on the value of including  a focussed color scheme.  The resulting window is burlesque in the sense of possessing a strong and articulated frame, but extremely weak subject matter. The transformative medium of light, color and geometry is capable of so much more!