Hawaiian Sunset

Please enjoy my video of the making of Hawaiian Sunset!

00:08 S1: Hi, and welcome to creating Hawaiian sunset. My name is Emily Ohland, and I’m the artist and owner of Ohland studios. I am so excited to share with you my creative process and how this multi-media art work came to be. So each piece begins with the concept drawing, after I’ve met and consulted with a client, this client really wanted something that had motion and life and had something to do with Hawaii. So I came up with a sun and then sent it to the client for approval, and she was like, Okay, let’s go ahead to the next step! I actually start with concept pieces, and this is one of them… I originally thought that this was how I was going to create the center of the sun, and although I liked some elements of this, it wasn’t as transparent as I wanted, and I wasn’t really able to do small detailed drawings and do images like I wanted to so I went back to the drawing board and I did another piece. And this is a dam mold. And I fired it once, and then once it came out of the kiln, I did some design on the top of it and fired it a second time and resulted with this concept piece, which I thought was a lot more the way that my brain conceives the center of a sun.

01:41 S1: So this is sort of the feeling that I went with. And then I got really big, this is six inches, and when I built the piece, the center is 19 inches, so this is a steel ring mold, and this is actually the second firing, I don’t have a photo, the first one for some reason. And this piece is getting ready to have images in it, and if you look close, you can see a turtle and a volcano and a wave and a palm tree, but it translates better once it’s fired and there they are. So that’s what it looked like after the second firing, but there’s this big space at about 1-2 o’clock and I had a plan for that. I wanted to do something different in that area, so after I thought about it a little bit, I came up with this painting of a hibiscus flower, once it was fired, it kind of fades, but it looks different in different lights, and you’ll see how that’s highlighted in different times of day night and day later, here’s a close-up of the thickness of this piece, and you can see some really shiny things there in the bottom corner that’s called dichroic glass, and sorry about my cat mewing in the background, that’s probably not something I can do anything about, but you can see all the little different pieces of glass and the drawings and depth of color, all those fiery colors there, there’s a little bit of the hibiscus.

03:15 S1: These are some elements that I worked on for the sun rays. I had to learn how to use a torch, which I had never done before, so I was excited about that. I got really excited and made lots of these really cool organic shapes, these are called stringers with different thicknesses and bendy parts. I then made the background pieces of the rays, there were three different sizes, and employed those bendy pieces that I made and some other frit, which is ground glass, and here’s a full shelf of rays headed into the kiln. And this is the opening of the kiln, my favorite thing as a fused glass artist, so the colors really come to life and all the clear glass becomes clear and you can really see the colors and their shapes. After this, I actually shaped them into shapes on a mold, and somehow I didn’t get a photo of that, but eventually after firing 32 rays, I came up with this basic sun… Now, mind you, this is 19 inches in the Center, we’re getting very large here, and sometime the client said, “Are you gonna employ the teal of my couch?” And I hadn’t really incorporated that into the design, and so I decided to add water because I’m extra, and so I was sizing for water, and again, back to the drawing board for a concept, I can’t go into quite as much detail about this concept because it’s called the Gap technique, and it’s a class that you can buy or if you’re a glass artist, but I’ll show you some quick clips of the process, it involves paper and lots of glass, frit glass and different elements.

04:58 S1: I went back and made some more bended shapes for this portion of the piece, and then I got to work making a total of five glass pieces for the water elements, so that’s the center piece going in and it just barely fit on my kiln shelf, the secondary ones, and I don’t have a picture of the end pieces, they wound up being almost just all blues and teals, that was me checking to make sure things were fitting together, as I conceived them, and that’s on my back deck; On my carpet that I have on my deck, so once it was all done, I had to figure out how I was gonna mount this thing because I originally, we thought we’d put it directly on the wall. And as this evolved, I was not happy with that solution. So I got my carpentry skills out and created an MDF backer board, it’s three-quarter inch MDF with a 2×3 framing on the back, which you’ll see later in the video, and this is… I don’t know why there’s a neck pillow on the table, but you know, maybe I was sleepy, so I didn’t wanna do just a plain background, I really had sort of moved into this was going to be a multi-media piece, and so I wound up painting a mural to go behind the glass.

06:26 S1: And I cut out the center of the glass because I’m really extra and decided that–not the center of the glass– the center of the BOARD, because I wanted it to have a lighting feature as well, so later you’ll see that it lights up too. So this is some of my spacing process, I’m getting ready here to start mounting the pieces, I created custom mounts for all of the rays, you can see how they’re kind of bendy the one on the right there, you can see it’s very organic looking. These are manufactured standoffs I adapted to be able to give me different levels of glass, they all come in one height and I had to do some spacers to make it be what I wanted, and then I started to place the rays around and mark for the drill holes. And there’s a shot of all the glass pieces mounted, just checking for fit, there’s everything dry-fitted and getting ready to be transported, so I drilled all the holes, I’ve custom-made all of the mounts for the rays out of eight-gauge copper wire and some smaller gauges as well, drilled holes in all of the rays sealed them so that hopefully they won’t turn green over time.

07:49 S1: Although if they do, I don’t think it will be a huge detractant and then it was moving day. So, I got my moving crew out and we’re moving the backer board, you can see there, the lighting that I’ve installed on the back is just LED rope lighting that I purchased and it will plug into the wall in its location. So that’s kind of neat. Thankfully, we have a convertible and I didn’t have to rent a Uhaul to get it to it’s new home, which is on a pool patio deck, and as you can see, this gray wall is not gonna be a great feature for the sun and the water, so I think the mural worked out a lot better. There’s that giant board, it wound up being about 72 inches wide and 51 or 2 inches tall. That’s my chief installer and also my husband, he spent about two hours getting the backer board up onto the wall and into studs and securely fastened so that I wouldn’t be nervous to reassemble the glass on it and… Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of me re-assembling the glass, but know that I did it because eventually everything is affixed and epoxied and mounted and it’s done, so I’m pretty excited about this piece, it’s the largest piece I’m done yet.

09:16 S1: And the client loves it, it’s gotten lots of rave reviews, even though it’s been covid year, and there’s not been a lot of chance to really party in the backyard. I’m gonna bring some music in and just let you sort of enjoy these great photos that Stacy Winter took for me of the piece… 10:34 S2: I’m going to pop back in for just a second here. So I really wanted to have this piece be something that had impact at every distance, so you can see in the shots where we’re standing further away that it’s just this big splash of color, but as you approach the piece, there’s all these really fine details, all the little twirly swirls and the imagery in the sun, and individual little pieces of glass that are interesting, there’s my John Hancock or E Ohland as the case may be. So, I really just wanted… My vision was for impact, and I think that I was definitely successful with that in this piece, I’m hoping that the folks will have this for years to come, and there’s your light, it lights up in the evening, It will get a little darker here over the next shots and like that they really enjoyed it this summer. The client says they’ve enjoyed it during the day and at night, thanks for so much for listening to me and joining me for this process video about Creating Hawaiian Sunset!

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Emily Ohland

Emily Ohland is a fused glass artist who lives with her husband Matt, and her three sons, in West Lafayette, Indiana.

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