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November 21, 2009

Visit to Glass Fabricator!

MTA Arts for Transit Panel Production

My trip to visit to Baton Rouge!

I headed off to Baton Rouge to begin my adventure in picking out glass colors for my MTA Arts for Transit panels, and meet my fabricator, Erskin Mitchell.

Erskin’s glass shop was located in the garden district of Baton Rouge. I had chosen him as my fabricator because of the truly fantastical work he did on another MTA artists work, Jung Hyang Kim, in the same medium, faceted glass. A one-inch glass, the whole panel is fused together using epoxy. I will have three large panels at the station with the ocean as the backdrop.

Erskin greeted me at the door of his house in the garden district of Baton Rouge. It was not at all the warehouse I had been envisioning. I had googled him the night before to see if I could find a photo of him, and I did, it was a wonderful article about the piece he did for another MTA artist. He welcomed me into his art filled house and introduced me to his wife. She is a film producer and just recently returned from a two-month shoot, a film about American soldiers during WWII and their French wives. Later, when they took me out for a true Louisiana dinner, she told me how the wives were stationed at camps named after cigarettes. At these camps they watched movies which was suppose to help them in understanding and become adjusted to American culture. The film then follows three of these women’s lives as they move to America with their new husbands.

Erskin’s wife also works at a rape crisis center, is a very powerful advocate against political corruption in New Orleans, and the couple takes in stray animals and children who need much love and care. This couple was such the dynamic duo! To Erskin’s calm and quiet nature, his wife was jolting with electrical output, having gone through all three of her jobs, one after another in the past week. Oh, but the stories…the animal stories were my favorites. About the pekingese they took in, whose eyes fall out.

Back to the glass studio. Erskin had my “cartoons” laid out on the table, these are life size drawings of the panels in black and white. I put out my colored images of the panels and we set about finding color schemes that would work. I was most interested in glass with imperfections, streaks going through that would resemble the ocean and the life teaming through it! I found a lot of really wonderful pieces in his collection, having told him beforehand that my interest lay there. The glass companies that make these pieces put them off as cast offs and are gotten for much less then their perfectly colored counterparts.

I felt like he understood the direction I wanted to take with the color, creating depth, using the darker colors to recede, light greens and blues along the surface to show the sunlight on the water. Then we dove into the colors to be used for the jellyfish, creature and egg masses. I left feeling that I was in wonderful hands and am excited to see how he brings my vision to life!