LOIS MANNO (The Artist)
I've been an artist most of my life, working in pastel, acrylic, scratchboard, watercolor, etc. and as a professional freelance designer. But when I tried glass for the first time about 7 years ago, it was life-changing. My first workshop was about "painting" with frit, and I loved working with the powders, as the effect was similar to pastel in some ways. What I didn't like was the mess and lost powder. I'm thrifty and a control freak, and seeing all that powder sifting around made me crazy. What, I wondered, would happen if I mixed powdered glass with a binder of some sort? Could I get that powder under control?
At the time I was such a newbie I knew almost nothing about things like pate de verre (except that it is beautiful), and my exposure to other techniques was minimal. In a way, my ignorance freed me up to experiment, as I didn't really know what wasn't possible. I started doing research online about other ingredients that have been added to glass over the years, and I put my own twist on it, experimenting with different combinations, and adding a liquid medium of my own formulation.
Once I perfected the mixture, I was able to make a material very much like modeling clay, that could be used to make 3-dimensional shapes without the need for complicated mold-making (did I mention that I'm both a control freak and into instant gratification?). Thus, Modeling Glass was born.
Now I'm teaching my process of making glass feathers using Modeling Glass, and am excited to see what other artists will be able to make with Modeling Glass!
CHIRPY (The Glass Bird)
This 22-year-old cantankerous geriatric
cockatiel has been with our family
since he was about 3 months old.
As the inspiration for Glass Bird Studios,
Chirpy is in the middle of almost
everything that goes on in the studio.
He samples the flavor of packaging, inspects cardboard boxes, tries to walk across my frit powders, gets underfoot, sings during video shoots, and generally insinuates himself wherever he is least wanted.
If you've ever lived with a bird, you know it's different from any other pet: you don't train a bird, you don't discipline a bird, you negotiate with the bird. Hopefully if he's trained you well, your wishes and his align much of the time. And the other times? He wins.
Lifelike, oversized powdered glass feathers are my way of connecting with the powerful energy of birds. I’m constantly surprised by how strongly people identify with the freedom and majesty of birds. Feathers are light, strong, and resilient; all good qualities to have as a human. We have a lot to learn from birds. And I think Chirpy approves.
Chirpy "assisting" me during some powder work.
Chirpy is my ultimate quality control specialist when it comes to feathers.