Jewels of Summer Artists
Expressions in glass, silk, paint, and ink
Judith Hilmer, Richard Mole, and Lynda Schwemmer
More painting than print, the block prints of Judith Hilmer fall into the category of “varied editions.” No two are ever exactly alike, and some are radically different from their classmates. Only a few are worked on at a given time, and a press is never used. Each print receives hours of individual attention and many layers of ink.
Buena Vista artist Lynda Schwemmer discovered the ancient art of silk painting studying under New Mexico artist Diana Leyba. Lynda became fascinated with the rich colors combined with the luxurious feel of the silk fabrics. She found that many of the techniques that she had used in
watercolor painting translated wonderfully to the new medium.
Lynda shows her work at a number of galleries in Colorado–mainly in the Arkansas Valley. She is also an experienced teacher who has shared her silk workshop with many students who usually are excited to find out just how enjoyable silk painting can be.
Painting silk starts with white silk fabric stretched tightly on a frame. Special silk dyes are applied to add the desired colors. If applied in a loose, “watercolor” manner, the dyes will disperse like grape juice on a tablecloth-and sometimes this is exactly the effect desired. More often though, the artist will limit the flow of the dyes using barrier resist techniques such as molten wax or gutta. Basic shapes are laid down and painted, and everything must dry between applications. At this point the artist can choose from a wide variety of techniques to add interest and texture to the design-this is done layer by layer. One of Lynda’s silk pieces typically takes a day or two to complete-depending on its complexity. The finished silk piece must then be steamed to set its color, and finally, washed and ironed. The resulting silk is hand-washable, and can be used as wearable art, or framed as wall art.
Glass blowing and casting glass came into R. Mole’s life in a strong way. In 1983 he was introduced to hot glass forming. Since 1992, he has worked with Charlie Miner at Tesuque Glassworks. It is a very exciting medium, and there are an infinite number of choices and challenges to try in glass alone!
Currently, he is blowing primarily functional items in hot glass. He also combines cast glass with bronze mostly for the lamps. Mole loves to spend time in his studio, working on commissions using glass, bronze, and stone. His fountains, lamps, and glassware are on display at Lumina Gallery-Taos NM, and the Crucible Gallery-Ashville NC, and in Tesuque at Shidoni Gallery north of Santa Fe, as well as the Gallery of the Spanish Peaks Arts Council in La Veta, Colorado.
R. Mole is seen regularly at the Tesuque Glassworks blowing and casting glass. Mole uses a full range of materials to create sculpture including stone, glass, bronze and other metal. His work has shown from Hawaii to New York as well as the mid and southwestern United States.
“Blown glass is a favorite medium of mine but I also like the challenge of casting it. The lost wax process I use for cast glass starts the same as for the bronzes. First I make a rubber mold from my original sculpture. From the rubber mold I make a wax model for the final mold which is made with a special high fire plaster. The plaster is poured over the wax model in a wood box. After the plaster is hardened the wax can be melted out with steam. After the plaster mold has dried for a week it’s loaded with glass in the form of powdered lead crystal then kiln baked for one to two weeks. Once the glass and plaster have cooled the plaster can be crumbled away from the glass. The piece is cleaned up with diamond cutters and polishers before it it finished.” – Richard Mole