"One, or any mixture, of the constituents into which light can be separated in a spectrum or rainbow, sometimes including (loosely) black and white." (oxforddictionaries.com)
Late last year I attended an amazing week-long glass course with the talented Australian fused glass artist Kirstie Rea at the helm.
It was so delicious (and well-earned, let me tell you!) to think, talk and absorb only fused glass for a whole week in a world where as much as I love my job, it does come second to being "Mum". There were only four of us the at the workshop, which made it intimate, focused, and incredible for learning.
Kirstie was a fantastic teacher, very ready to share her extensive knowledge and skills. The workshop was entitled "In Your Own Boots" and rather than material and technique, the focus was on development of concepts and how to bring this to realisation into our fused glass art.
After our incredible week, the final day Kirstie had one last little task for us. She laid out boxes of coloured scrap glass and we had half an hour to assemble a sculpture of "colour" - using whatever we liked from the scrap, plus glue or cellotape. We all dutifully did as we were bid, and at the end of our 30 minutes, there stood before us our four very different takes on "colour".
We all stood around discussing our "artwork" and how different each was in spite of being given the same concept. (My idea being that angle and hue, depth and darkness/lightness changes the way we see colour). We willing students thought that was that.
"Right" says Kirstie, "now we paint them black!"
We each took turns spray painting our creations, with instructions to stop when we though it was "black enough". This was such a great tool to highlight how much colour is enough to get your concept across.
As it turns out, sometimes a hint of colour is more effective than a lot of colour.
Having said that, I also think we should bear in mind the wise words of Danny Kaye...
Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint you can at it.
So. Where was I? Oh that's right... Dreaming about Wakalouie Waka's splashback.
As much as I love my job (I do), I love (and nee-eeed, just ask my husband) my sleep much, MUCH more. So this whole dreaming about splashbacks thing...
Had. To. Stop.
Action Stations! After a small and stressful, colourful but more-distasterous-than one-could-hope practice run... I had nailed the design (important), the uniquity (is that a word?) of the piece (important++) and the kiln schedule (super-mega-double-triple-extra-upsized-with-fries important) and we were away!
Both panels fused Bea-ut-i-fully. What is frustrating about this is that it is so hard to photograph! The photos do not do this splashback justice. In real life it is smooth but textured, colourful with unexpected depth, the leaf outlines resting leisurely on top are sparkly glass and look amazing under lighting.
In short, while not everyone's cup of tea - this piece is a triumph!
Of course then there was the installation...
We had arranged to have our family summer holiday in Taranaki for the install - a decision that did not disappoint! But, that being the case meant that when "S-Day" (Splashback Day) arrived, my entourage consisted of a husband, a one year old busy-body and a two year old sticky-beak... Needless to say Ms Waka (Yvette) and her husband Willie welcomed us wholeheartedly into their home.
What I found really challenging about this was that it was a very personal order from a complete stranger - about whom I knew very little. As I've already mentioned, Yvette was like a superstar of a first splashback customer, but designing to an unknown style, in a space that you've never laid eyes on in the flesh is unexpectedly difficult. Another struggle I had was that while I felt I was designing exactly what the customer wanted, it was something I wouldn't choose for my own kitchen, and having to be objective about that was surprisingly tricky.
By the time we'd polished off an amazing lunch (thanks again Superstar Splashback Lady) - during which we each took turns peeking at the newly-siliconed ensemble to ensure it was staying on the wall - Yvette was already delightedly talking about pimping her kitchen island with a fused glass inlay to match!
This was an amazing journey - and while I was eternally worried about how on earth I was going to pull it off, pull it off I did.
And I tell you what - whether or not it's to your taste, this splashback rose to the challenge, and looks spectacular in the context of Yvette's house. It fits in perfectly, both with the architecturally designed home, and with it's delightful occupants.
In short, it is the show stopper of a splashback the majestic Wakalouie Waka wanted.
I've been told all her visitors "pat" it.
And I can, once again, sleep at night.