Thursday, July 4, 2013

Mermaid Sea Creature Fused Glass Sgraffito Frit Painting

A fused glass mermaid stares out to the blue horizon where the ocean meets the sky.

fused glass mermaid ocean water sea sgraffito sgrafitti frit painting finished sunlight flutterbyfoto flutterbybutterfly
Fused Glass Mermaid Sgraffito Frit Painting

This sketch was originally completed during my freshman year at USMMA, the Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York.  I drew this mermaid for a mural to show class spirit.  When I look at her I remember how I felt more than twenty years ago.  I return to that time and place, almost watching as I painted the mural on cream colored concrete block walls with an edge dressing brush.

Mermaid Drawing Merchant Marine Academy Kings Point Mural Sharon Ackerman Warren
A Mermaid Sketch

After all this time I decided to create the mermaid in a sgraffito technique.  Watching the Bullseye Glass education videos on working with powders and drawing on glass were a good place to start.  I tried the techniques presented in the videos but finally settled on doing it my own way.  I used CMC gum to trace the image and then sifted the the black powder onto the glass.  Using a wax carver's set my father-in-law sent, I proceeded to spend many hours moving tiny granules of glass back and forth.

fused glass mermaid sgraffito sgrafitti frit painting tools flutterbyfoto flutterbybutterfly
Mermaid Sgrafitto Frit Painting with Tools

After firing, I thought the mermaid looked kind of plain so I added a clear glass frame and lots more glass powder.  I started by adding more pattern and movement to the water and some depth to the sky.  Next came, highlights to the hair and sparkle to her tail.  Lastly, I built up the sky and finished off with a sifting of clear frit.  I stopped including photos because the image becomes completely obscured by the glass powders.  She is built upside down with the final layer becoming the back. 

fused glass mermaid sgraffito sgrafitti frit painting layers creation process evolution construction
Fused Glass Mermaid Creation

The mermaid tail is my favorite part of the whole piece.  The Bullseye aventurine green glass frit sparkles against the jade and almost disappears as it enters the water.

frit painting fused glass mermaid tail water sea ocean rock flutterbyfoto flutterbybutterfly
Fused Glass Mermaid Tail

My finished mermaid.  She will always be tied to the memory of when I drew her originally.

fused glass mermaid sgraffito sgrafitti frit painting finished
Finished