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A Glass Residency at Lincoln Park

This website follows the progress of the residency. The information and photos are divided in sections with the newest information at the top and the oldest at the bottom. To view the entire process, start at the bottom. Happy viewing!

Yeah, It's Done!

Dan Burkhardt is the hero of the day. Over spring break while the rest of us were enjoying time for goofing off, he was hard at work hanging the masterpiece created by the Lincoln Park glass artists. He is a true craftsman.

First he designed and built the three frames, then he precisely laid out the eye bolts (I know that must have taken a ton of math) where the cables would attach. After welding all those eye bolts, he coated the entire thing with a clear coat to protect the metal from rust.

Then he bolted the frames to the building in front of the windows.

This close-up shows the eye bolts welded to the steel frame.

Here is a longer view of one of the installed frames.

Before hanging the glass, he built a jig, which is defined as "a device used to maintain mechanically, the correct positional relationship of... parts of work during assembly. " A jig can also be a dance, which is what I did when I saw the panels being hung. The jig allowed him to hang the pieces in straight rows. He also took the extra step of covering the bottom connections with shrink tubing giving the project a very finished appearance. If you are worried that the windows can never again be washed, that issue was solved by adding turnbuckles (shown in the second picture) at the top of the cables, allowing the panels to be hung down and the window washers to wash the windows.

The very clever jig. There is no picture of my jig.

Panel 1-A sliding on its cables then Dan attaches the crimp sleeves that will hold it in place.

Panel 1-B slides in place and the crimps are attached with a perfectly spaced gap provided by the jig, then 1-C slides in place.

The bottom crimps are added. Dan has left plenty of extra cable he will use to attach the panels to the bottom eye bolts.

Here is the first column hanging in place. One down 31 more to go.

Here they are all done and hanging. Just as I arrived to take the pictures the sun broke through the clouds, which is something I usually LOVE, however, not when I am trying to take pictures of glass. With the sun shining behind the panels, the camera gets confused about where to focus, so some parts of the picture looks darker than the rest. The only thing I could do was take the pictures and encourage you to visit the masterpiece in person because it is AMAZING!

A huge thank you to everyone involved from the talented and hard-working student-artists at Lincoln Park who ran their hearts out to raise money to pay for this project and the generous backing of the East Portland Action Plan, Teachers and Staff of Lincoln Park, the David Douglas School District and clever and gifted Dan Burkhardt. You are all awesome!!!

Lisa Wilcke,

Fused-glass teaching artist

A PREVIEW OF THE FINISHED PROJECT

The panels are now all fired and have been returned to the school. Class by class, they have been shown to their creators. The district is planning on hanging them during spring vacation, so here is a sneak peak at what they will look like. Please remember that they will look quite a bit brighter with sunlight behind them.

The 108 panels will be hung in 36 columns, each with three rows. The rows are lettered, so the top left-hand panel is 1-A and the bottom panel on the right will be 36-C. We plan to have all the labeled patterns returned to the classrooms that made them after the panels are hung, so each class can find the panels they created.

Before the panels could be returned, they needed to be laid out together, so I laid down white paper, a bit wider than the panels, on the floor.

Then the cats came in.

Here are the panels that will be in the windows closest to the library. They look dotty because of the texture of the paper behind them and will be much brighter with the sun streaming through. The closer hills have bigger trees and those further away have trees that are smaller. True to the nature of the Cascade foothills, there is a stream, feeding a waterfall, with a pool beneath it, which turns, once again, into a stream.

It turned out that the smaller trees were very hard to fill in around, so extra congratulations to the teams that put those panels together.

These are the panels for the middle section.

Here are the final 12, which will be in the windows closest to the office. Students working on panels above the snowline had to very careful to use the correct white for the snow and clouds.

The glass artists at Lincoln Park ROCK!!!!

KINDERGARTNERS GET INTO THE ACT

While first- through fifth-grade students made panels, kindergarten students each made stars that will be hung in the school. They also made necklaces.

After putting their names on the star form, kindergarten students selected five triangles from a tray of choices and arranged them on the form.

The forms were colored or labeled showing which triangle went in which position.

The triangles were stacked in the middle of the form which was folded up for the trip to the kiln.

After unwrapping , the triangles are laid out according to the picture, on the kiln shelf.

The stars are put in the kiln, ready for firing to 1450 degrees, the same as the necklaces. Because they are only one layer, their sides will shrink up a little bit.

After firing and cooling, the stars are ready to come out of the kiln.

A close-up of a fired star.

OOPS! HAD TO RUN TO THE STORE FOR MORE SUPPLIES

Most of the glass we are using in the residency was made in southeast Portland at the Bullseye Glass Factory. While I was buying more refractory material, these displays caught my eye. First are photos of displays showing the ingredients and how the ingredients look after time in the furnace. Followed by displays showing how colors are achieved.

BETWEEN VISIT 1 AND VISIT 2

The completed panel after the trip to the studio.

Unless glass is completely clean, scum, called devitrification can form on the surface which makes the glass not shiny.

To prevent this, the artist sprinkles the entire surface with powdered glass. Although the powdered glass is clear, when it is ground into a fine powder, it looks white.

Here is the panel all coated and ready to go in the kiln.

The kiln shelf is ready for adding glass. This Skutt kiln fires five shelves at a time with two panels on each shelf.

The panels will have channels on their backs to allow wire cables to run through them for hanging.

The channels are created by placing nonburnable refractory material between the panels and 1" x 4" pieces of glass.

The panels are put on their backers.

The shelf is placed in the kiln.

The kiln is closed and ready for firing.

This kiln, built by a Portland company, is equipped with two temperature probes called thermocouples which assure an even temperature throughout the kiln, allowing five shelves to be fired at a time. Since two panels fit on a shelf, ten panels can be fired at once.

The kiln's computer is turned on by pressing start. The panels will be heated to 1460 degrees.

The display shows the current temperature inside the kiln and the light on the side indicates that the kiln's elements are one.

Here are panels after firing. Notice that the powder is now clear, leaving just a very thin shiny layer.

Next the panels are soaked in water so the refractory material can be removed without creating dust. The edges are also checked for burrs and sanded if necessary.

These four panels are fired and cleaned. Next they are all laid out as they will be hung to check that everything looks as it should. The dark square is a post-it note attached to the pattern beneath.


VISIT 2

During the second visit to the classrooms the fired necklaces were returned and the students attached strings and learned to tie knots. Then they begin creating the panels. The life-size pattern shown in the last post was taken apart and the panels were assigned to classrooms. 5th & 4th grade classes each made six panels and 3rd - 1st made five panels each.


This close-up shows a typical panel pattern. This panel was assigned to O'Shea's class. It had a bit of the lake and two foothills, each with its own green color code and tree size.

The panel pattern was covered with a full-sized sheet of clear glass which was coated with a thin film of glue, then students worked in groups to carefully match the bits of colored glass to the color of the panel pattern below. Students were encouraged to add many more trees than on the pattern.

To the right is a completed panel, all glued and ready for firing.

VISIT 1

Tuesday, January 2nd marked the beginning of the full-school residency at Lincoln Park elementary school in the David Douglas School district with teaching artist Lisa Wilcke. During the residency the students will create a fused-glass mural in the hall windows just outside the school library. The mural, titled Stronger Together depicts the Cascade foothills leading up to Mt. Hood. The trees in the foothills will be in a rainbow of colors as a metaphor for how cultural diversity adds to the strength and beauty of a community.

The project is funded with a generous grant from the East Portland Action Plan and support from the Lincoln Park Boosters Club.

Shown above are the windows, followed by a small sketch of the plan for the mural, then an image a full-size cartoon of the one section of the mural. Each panel is 8x11.

Additionally, all residency participants including students, teachers, staff and volunteers will make a fused-glass necklace. Following are trays of necklaces. These are the parts created by the participants. Oddly, the parts are glued with hair spray. These pieces will be fused to a same-sized piece of clear glass in a kiln heated to 1450 degrees. Between the clear and colored pieces will be sandwiched a wire that the cord will attach to.

Stay turned to see the completed necklaces.

Next are some of the necklaces loaded in the kiln ready to be fired followed by a shelf of fired necklaces.

Ms. Adrian took pictures of her class working with Lisa Wilcke the glass art teacher. In the first photos the students are learning to cut glass at a station that includes doing the "I cut glass" dance.

The students at the necklace-making station.

The students also explore pre-fused pieces to discover how heat transforms the glass as it is heated and they learn about how glass can be clear, translucent, opaque and sometime even a trickster, appearing black, when is is actually a very dark color.