This idea has been made real
Visual arts has always been a strong part of how I connect to the world. The creativity of young minds is my driving inspiration. I enjoy re-contextualizing children's artwork through in-depth collaboration with my craft work. Mixed media elements allow me to fully describe the emotion of a piece and reiterate unconventional characteristics of children's designs.
We absolutely loved the thought of astronauts chilling out in these fuzzy pj's! They are like a onesie for space - even better that you can go outside of the ISS in them too - how fun!
Robin Ritter, an artist and Glass blower, certainly agreed! She hand crafted this miniature Fuzzy PJ spacesuit out of glass, and it's lined with cosy fluffly fabric. She even knitted a miniature David Saint-Jacques to go inside!
He certainly looks very pleased!
Maker blog entries
I sourced the help of my good friend Jade from @_kiwitography_ to take photos of the constructed and deconstructed spacesuit - Fuzz and all!
Finally I created an overview of this project using Adobe InDesign to make two 11” x 17” posters that explain the sculpture.
Last step is carefully package this GLASS sculpture for shipping. Post to follow.
Creating the helmet of the PJ Dress Up Spacesuit is done in the same way as the bottom portion (legs) in the hot glass studio through blowing and careful torch assembly of components. One big difference is that I have placed the colored layer on the OUTSIDE of this shape rather than the interior which is more common. This is done so I can SANDBLAST (form of COLD WORKING - processes done to glass when it is hard and room temperature) through the colour and leave a clear layer intact to behave as window for the astronaut to see the universe and us to see inside too!
In order to SANDBLAST only the desired area I used sticky vinyl resist to protect the areas that I wish to remain shiny and untouched. I also use the Sandblaster and DREMEL to carve arm holes into the helmet.
Making the suit in two parts was a fun challenge - matching the diameter of each part so that suit appear cohesive is an interesting task. The process is done hot so you cannot simply pause and measure with numbers. Glassblowers usually use calipers to get a rough measurement and the rest is achieved with experience and by eye.
I tried making the pants for this project 3 times, first in clear to work though the process. The first try was too messy and wide (and CLEAR), I found my second try too dark in colour, tall and long. Making a project more than once is very NORMAL in glassblowing. The helmet was more simple and took one attempt! WOO!
Glassblowing is often done in teams, with the help of my assistants I can blow and sculpt the shape of pants, coloured by a dense chuck at the core of my initial gather. This chuck is called COLOUR BAR and is used to achieve bold uniform layers of colour in glass. The tail is served as a hot blob and snipped with steal shears into shape. Next all spikes and feet are taken from pre heating kiln one by one to be fused into place with the power of a oxygen torch! (Like welding!) This process takes about 45 minutes! When shaping is complete we remove the sculpture from the blowpipe using temperature shock and pop it the cooling kiln (ANNEALER) to cool slowly over night. Again, once the sculpture is cooled I can use a wet DIAMOND saw to cut off sharp and unwanted material. Next step is to create the helmet in a smiliar way!
When glass is hot the colours appear very different than at room temperature. This can be confusing and fun... check out how green the glass looks on the blowpipe compared to its bluish tone when cool on the table.
Complex glass sculptures can be made in parts. To begin I prepare the detailed aspects of the suit for later attachment to the main sculpture. By rolling clear molten glass in FRIT ( crushed, coloured glass chucks - like big sprinkles!) I can form purple and teal spikes and feet. After melting in the FRIT I shape the hot glass with my graphite paddle and steal glassblowing tools. This is all done on a long metal rod that acts like a handle so I can heat the glass without getting too close! At the end of my sculpting process I cut my piece off the rod by using temperature shock and pop it into a 1000 degree F. oven to cool overnight slowly. The next day I can grind and flatten any sharp spots with DIAMOND wheels to create finished and smooth edges from where the glass broke off the pipe.
Hand stitched and embroidered a character of David St. Jacques to fit inside and wear the Dress Up Suit. Can you see the resemblance? Time to fabricate in the hot glass studio...