February 27, 2010

Middle Eastern "Bottled Walls"

I'm not what you would call a fan of big explosion action movies, so the last thing I expected would be to post an image on this blog from "Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen". But, a few weeks ago, a movie blog called 'Incontention' did an entry on 'the top ten shots of 2009' and the first shot I saw included, of all things, a bottle wall!

This is the shot, here taken from a screenshot for the Transformers 2 trailer on YouTube. This shot in the trailer lasts only about 2 seconds. If you want to see the whole shot, forward to about 1:05 and wait for the 2 seconds at 1:15-1:17. That's the whole shot. I wouldn't bother with the rest of the trailer. Seriously.


The image was enough to floor me, but then there is this quote, from Director of Photography Ben Seresin -

The shot wasn’t specifically storyboarded, although there was extensive pre-visualization for the rest of the scene. The bottled wall was planned, as it is typical in the Middle East. I tried to create a feeling in the room that would give a sense of safety, and that contrasted with the expanse, scale and danger of outside.

The key phrase for me being The bottled wall was planned, as it is typical in the Middle East. 'Bottled Walls' are typical in the Middle East?? I'd never heard that before, so this is intriguing.

So, are these Middle Eastern bottle walls not recorded by anyone? Or recorded but not put up on the web? Or are they on the web but not in English, therefore harder to find?

Whatever the reason, I've never come across an image of a Middle Eastern bottle wall on the web, other than this. I'll keep searching. In the meantime, if anyone out there hears of or sees evidence of the typical Middle Eastern wall, send it to me.

Posted by Tom at 09:06 PM

February 25, 2010

Spinning Plates, that is... Rondels

In the world of glassblowing, the making of rondels is often referred as "spinning plates", which is similar to the way of making window glass in large rondels called crown glass. Recently, it occurred to me to search for the term 'spinning plates' in YouTube and it turned up these 2 videos about spinning plates.

These two are from the same YouTube channel and seem to be from the same person. This one is from a public demo, with a microphoned glassblower and funny banter.

This is apparently the same guy, but not with the theatrics. The technique looks basically the same.

I've now 'favorited' enough rondel/crown glass/spun plate related videos to make a Crown/Spun /Rondel Glass playlist on my YouTube channel, VitreosityInMotion.

Posted by Tom at 11:18 AM

February 15, 2010

The Last Window - excerpts

The documentary filmmaker John Bishop just posted excerpts of his documentary on the last days of the Connick Studio, filmed in Boston in 1986. The film is called The Last Window, and it documents the making of the Henry Pepper Memorial Window, at All Saint's Parish, Brookline, Mass. All Saints Parish contained the first representational window by Charles Connick, from 1910, as well as this last window made by the Connick Studio, in 1986. The excerpts are only 3-4 miinutes each, while the whole movie is about an hour.

One thing I remember about the film is that it doesn't quite give a sense of the space. It was like a big rabbit warren, with 4 floors, each being some 2,000 square feet. One floor alone was just row upon row of glass racks. There were some big rooms, like the big showroom, but I remember lots of little rooms. Still, this is a nice document of the people and the time, and it is hard to believe it's been 24 years.

Last Window 1 - Louis Cammacho, the Connick Studio colorist, talks about choosing and cutting glass in the first part of this excerpt. The young woman you see in the background is Becky Breymann, who designed the last window. The second half has a real treat showing one of the Connick painters, Harold Nicholson I think, tracing and matting. I'd like to see an hour just of that.

Last Window 2 - Features some historical background on Charles Connick, especially about his relationship with Ralph Adams Cram.

Last Window 3 - Johnny Campbell leading up the last window. Johnny was quite a character. I remember, when I was looking through the racks in the last days when they were getting rid of all their glass, Johnny trying to convince me that green is just no good in stained glass. "Can't do anything with green", says Johnny.

I'm still working off of those scraps I got from when Connick's closed. I kind of hope they never run out. That would be a sad milestone for me.

Posted by Tom at 12:32 PM

February 13, 2010

Secular Window Saturday - Cappy Thompson Library Window

This from flickrite "Library Development @ Washington State Library", an image of the Stained glass @ The Evergreen State College Library - Olympia WA, by Cappy Thompson.

Click on the link or image to see a high resolution 'Zoomified' version of the Cappy Thompson Evergreen Library window.


Posted by Tom at 05:02 PM

February 06, 2010

Strange Interlude - Screenprinting edition

A little unexpected personal backstory. This is a video with my old friend Geoff talking about screenprinting. Geoff was one of my roommates in the 80's, and we became good friends. We used to talk about screenprinting back then and those conversations are one of the reasons I thought about applying screenprinting to my stained glass. Geoff was also the one who first heard about the Print Gocco process and inspired me to try it.

Just to prove the connection, here is a roll of reject 'Twigs' wallpaper that I got from Geoff and still occasionally use for gift wrap.


and a scan with 'The Twigs' name -

Posted by Tom at 10:55 PM

February 05, 2010

Arthur Ganson: Machines and the Breath of Time

Talking about tinkering, here is another video with the Kinetic artist Arthur Ganson. I had posted his brief TED talk in 2008. This is a more recent talk and a much longer one, for the LongNow Foundation. Wait for a leisurely 88 minutes where you have time to watch and drink it in. I love his work and have always wondered how some of the kinetic aspects of his work might be applied to glass art.

[Oops, just discovered that the embedded version is only 10 minutes long (weird.), so here is the link to the full 88 minute version of Arthur Ganson: Machines and the Breath of Time.]

Posted by Tom at 03:59 PM

February 04, 2010

Hidden Cat Revisited

Thanks to all for the wonderfully positive response to the Watching Eyes Hidden Cat panel and blog post. I was surprised by the number of responses and Gwyneth was touched and a little perplexed by it all. The project was mainly done as something for the two of us to do together, and it just happened to work especially well. Gwyneth is not that interested in becoming an artist. She wants to work with animals, perhaps become a zoologist. Her special interest - big cats, of course.

I've gotten some inquiries from those who would like to do similar projects with their kids or with kids in general. I do have a few pieces of advice based on my experience. First of all, obviously, I would stay away from the pattern books, totally. Let the kids do the design, whether they end up liking it or not, whether they stick with it through the end or not. Just plunge in and let them make the creative decisions. Also, don't be afraid to let them handle the glass and use the tools, including the power tools. There will be mishaps and cuts are to be expected, but that's part of the learning. Safety first, but not at the expense of paranoia.

Upon reflection, I realized I was partly inspired by this short video from the TED people that I saw a few months before I did the project with Gwyneth. The man in the video is Gever Tulley and he founded a place called The Tinkering School. I like the part about 'decoration'.

He's also written a book called 50 DANGEROUS THINGS (you should let your kids do). Here is another TED talk where he talks about 5 of them (well, actually 6½).

Posted by Tom at 04:12 PM

February 02, 2010

Bottle Wall Videos

I realized the other day that I hadn't checked for new bottle wall/house videos in over a year. So I checked and found there are quite a few newer ones on YouTube and elsewhere. Still nothing good about building bottle walls or houses, but some unique insights into existing structures. And one or 2 wild experiments like this one of a bottle wall turned into an animated LED display. Most interesting toward the end is to see the Times Square type text display and then realize that these are bottles!!

Bacardi Bottle Wall, LED lit bottle wall, by Alex Beim of tangible interaction. There is no sound.

Bottle wall (no sound) from Alex Beim on Vimeo.

Make sure to check out the very detailed flickrset on the Bacardi Bottle Wall, with many construction details.

6 more recent bottle house videos below the fold...

A film about Grandma Prisbrey and her Bottle Village. It seems to be an amateur or student film, possibly from the mid 70's. It contains the only footage I've seen of her actually building one of the bottle walls.

This one is new to me, and I don't have much information, as I have no idea what they are saying. I do know this is located in Uzice, Serbia.

A video about the Bottle Temple in Thailand.

Two recent videos from 'Viscape', in a kind of amateur travelogue style, showing the bottle house on Prince Edward's Island, Canada.
This is showing the interior -

This shows the garden and glimpses the exterior -

Finally, not a bottle house or wall, but still taking bottles and making stained glass out of them. In this case a lamp from crushed and fused Heileken bottles.

Posted by Tom at 02:33 AM