Podcasting and interviews are very new skillsets to me, but luckily I’ve been able progress with the time and funding available to me. I’m plan on releasing a podcast episode monthly with the first being release on the last week of May or first week of June. Stay tuned for informational posts in between.
For the podcast, I have a growing list of guests, so I don’t see it running out soon. In this group we’ll have Artists, Makers, and Researchers offering their own unique knowledge and experience in use of Rare Gases. Each episode will feature an interview segment followed by a discussion in plasma, neon, or research unique to them, while future episodes may contain reoccurring guests with a focus on the discussion, with a quick introduction.
Now, the podcast is backbone for the project. In Future blog content, I will include video, images, and studio visits that would eventually be compiled into a Handbook or practical guide for Plasma Light Sculpture. The focus on plasma was due very little published information on it. I hope with the first podcast to talk about the differences between plasma and traditional neon.
Interactives are moments where your choices help shape Taming Lightning. It may seem arbitrary but a good podcast begins with some tasty tunes as the intro. Below are few songs that are free for use. Please use the form below to cast your vote.
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Taming Lightning is a reserach project following my Journey as an Emerging Artist, to learn and share knowledge about the phenomenon of ionized Gases in Plasma and Neon Light through interviews and discussions with Artists, Makers, and Researchers.
Updates will also include documentation on in progress works and idea, Sharing of Classes I find taught by Artists and Makers, as well as future plasma classes at Pittsburgh Glass Center where I'm researching and developing opportunities.
My Neon Experience:
Student work from Interactive Light, Pilchuck Glass School 2014
My history in Neon and Plasma began when I took a class at Pilchuck Glass School in 2014, called Interactive Light with Patrick Collentine. In this workshop we explored creating air tight vessels using Furnace glassblowing and Torch work using borosilicate. The course was a laboratry for creating shapes and surfaces to explore in plasma neon.
From that course I was striken by the plasma bug, and searched for a way continued to work in it for my BFA exhibtion at Illinios State Universty. I ended up working with a local Neon and Sign making studio Super Signs in Bloomington, IL, where we investigated plasma. Unfortunatey neither of us had any experience to make any dazzaling light work, but we did produce some interesting glowing pieces. Eventually our schedules no long lined up as their Neon Technician had various installations and repairs to fulfill.
Flash forward to 2016, I had applied to Pittsburgh Glass Center Studio Technician Apprentiscehsip Program. Within the first two months of my apprenticeship, we received at 2 seperate donations from retired neon sign workers. This include a working vacuum pump, manifold (plumbing for filling tubes and vessels), diffusion pump, hand torches, bombardier (trad neon) and more. Which I later discovered that behind the scenes a big hand in receiving the donation was Brian Engel, Studio Coordinator, and Chris Clarke, Operations Manager. Both were interested in having a neon and plasma sometime in the future.
It's an art and knowledge that isn't widely known, but I felt that I could definetly get things running with a little guidance. My first steps were to take pictures of all the equipment, and send them to my mentor Pat Collentine. Sorting through the equipment, and talking with Operations Manager, I was given permission to build a mobile Plasma Lab, a cart for vacuuming and filling vessels for plasma. I say plasma, due the dangers of using a bombardier in traditional neon, which is used to send high voltage through the tube for processing.
Now while I'm waiting for our gas order to come in, I'll be recording interivews and discussions in with Artists, Makers, and Research, and writing posts about the process, and some techniques and tricks I've learned so far.
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Stay tuned, and thank you for visiting.
Image: Return to Hieroglyphics by James Akers
Welcome to Taming Lightning, I'm Percy Echols II. I'm the creator and host of Taming Lightning, as well as the emerging plasma tech at Pittsburgh Glass Center, where I'm researching and developing a space to explore Plasma and Neon Light as an Artist Medium.