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Spiral Mosaic Mandala by Margaret Almon

M is for Mauve: A to Z Challenge 2014

Spiral Mosaic Mandala by Margaret Almon
Spiral Mosaic Mandala by Margaret Almon. Mother of pearl, dichroic, stained glass, gold smalti, on slate, 7 inches.

 

When I saw Simon Garfield’s book on the color mauve, I checked it out of the library immediately.  I wasn’t a mauve enthusiast, but the idea of a whole book about one color was intriguing. William Perkin(1838-1907) was experimenting with coal tar, in hopes of finding a cure for malaria, but instead noticed an intense purple color in his beaker. Perkin pursued the manufacture of mauve, a world awash in shifting purple pinks.

Methyl Orange
Methyl Orange via Rubashkyn.

Because it is also Orange Tuesday, I will mention another coal tar dye called Methyl Orange.  It changes color, from red in acid, to yellow in base.

Helix Nebula Mandala by Margaret Almon.

D is for Dichroic: A to Z Challenge 2014

atoz [2014] - BANNER - 910

Helix Nebula Mandala by Margaret Almon.
Helix Nebula Mandala by Margaret Almon.

Dichroic glass is a dazzler, with the ability to show off two different colors, and from which the name comes: Di(two) Chroic(Color).  A thin coating of metal is applied to glass in a vacuum chamber and involving lasers.  The process started out as a project of NASA for protecting equipment on spacecraft, and coatings on astronaut helmets.  In a poetic turn, a NASA Technical Report refers to it as Chameleon Glass.  The coating interferes with the normal transmission of light, and two colors emerge, one from transmitted light and one from reflected light.

My interpretation of this effect in my Helix Nebula Mandala is that the dichroic glass in the center above mostly is transmitted green, whereas the photo below, taken at a different angle, shows reflected magenta.

Helix Nebula Mandala by Margaret Almon
Helix Nebula Mandala(from a difference angle) by Margaret Almon

 Coatings by Sandberg arose from a coatings engineer observing Murray Schwartz, engineer and artist, taking out of spec dichroic mirrors from the trash to make sculpture.  Talking with Schwartz, Jerry Sandberg realized there were artists who would adore working with dichroic glass, and he started his coatings company specifically for the art market.

 

Kokomo Opalescent Glass Factory

Kokomo Stained Glass: Indiana Treasure

Kokomo Opalescent Glass Factory
Sheet of Art Glass in Progress by the Kokomo Opalescent Glass Factory

 

This photo from Kokomo Opalescent Glass Factory caught my eye ~ a sheet of molten orange waiting to become art glass. There is something satisfying about all glass starting out orange. When I was researching stained glass factories in the United States, I discovered that Kokomo was first, founded in 1888, in Kokomo, IN.  Even as Tiffany created his own glass, he also bought glass from Kokomo.

Sunset Mandala by Margaret Almon
Sunset Mandala by Margaret Almon, stained glass, gold smalti and dichroic on slate, 7 inches.

Read more about Stained Glass Factories in the USA

Marigold Mandala by Margaret Almon.

Diwali: Glowing Orange Light in the Darkness

Diwali via Sarch on Flickr
Diwali via Sarch on Flickr

The folks at Painted Paisley were sharing some of their beautiful suits for Diwali, and I wanted to know more about this celebration.  As I discovered, Diwali is a festival of lights celebrated in India and in other countries by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains.  Diwali is the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance.

Rangoli via Chirag Gupta on Flickr
Rangoli via Chirag Gupta on Flickr

Rangoli are part of the celebration, and the Sanskrit word means a creative expression in art using color. Women often create them on the floor, or  at the doorway to welcome guests and the Goddess Lakshmi. Rangoli remind me of mandalas, and the vibrant color resonates with what inspires me in art.

 

Rangoli in Thick Salt via Sameer Naik
Rangoli in Thick Salt via Sameer Naik on Flickr

Diyas, clay oil lamps, are lit as an expression of this triumph of light over darkness at Diwali.

Stained Glass Night Light by Wayne Stratz.
Stained Glass Night Light by Wayne Stratz.

The lamps made me think of Stratoz’s stained glass night light.

Marigold Mandala by Margaret Almon.
Marigold Mandala by Margaret Almon.

The color orange is woven throughout Diwali, from glowing orange lights, to rangoli composed of marigolds, to Diwali sweets like carrot halwa and jalebi, to deep orange sarees.

 

Orsoni Gold Smalti: From Cartellina to Incorporation

Orsoni Gold smalti in orange. Photo by Margaret Almon.
Orsoni Gold smalti in orange. Photo by Margaret Almon.

The cartellina is a veil of blown glass which protects the gold leaf laid on a glass chunk, making a delicate sandwich.  The cartellina, overlaying each of these pieces from the Orsoni Foundry,  is variegated from yellow to red orange, like flame.  Incorporate is the first word that comes to me when I contemplate using gold smalti in my work: unite into one body.

Fire Spiral Mandala by Margaret Almon. Glass, gold smalti, dichroic on slate, 7 inches.
Fire Spiral Mandala by Margaret Almon. Glass, gold smalti, dichroic on slate, 7 inches.

Mosaics from the Source:  Orsoni Smalti Veneziana  Great photo essay by James Martin on the process of making smalti.