And If you've been following the blog I’ve been updating or adding new editions from the Intro to Plasma Series, pulling out sections of the video podcast, expanding, and adding better visuals all repackaged into mini presentations for quick and easy access.
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American artist Paul Seide has developed a unique type of glass sculpture which utilizes scientific and electronic technology along with a highly developed artistic sense. His famous neon sculptures are activated by transmitted radio signals, which eliminates the need for messy and cumbersome electrodes. This allows him more freedom to investigate a greater range of illuminated shapes. Seide developed this technology after many years of experimentation. With his pioneering work in the field of neon he follows in the footsteps of his father, Charles, a pioneer in the development of acrylic paint.
Seide mastered his craft at the Egani Neon Glassblowing School in the Harlem section of Manhattan. The school was established in 1930. In its heyday it had been known as "the school for neon." By the time Seide enrolled the school was getting ready to close its doors. He was in fact, the last student in the facility, the only student in the class. Seide says "lt was me and 50 empty benches!"
I hope you enjoyed the podcast. Most of the time when I find readings, articles, and papers, I’m often sharing and discussing them with my contemporaries. While we gain some insight, I often feel like everyone else could benefit from hearing what we have to say. One of the leads from this discussion has been to reach out to my network for insight on those early neon and blown glass works from Dale Chihuley and Jamie Carpenter, and have an expanded discussion about them.
Thank you Zach Layhew for the conversation and lending a voice to this reading, you’ll likely hear from him and others in future readings, reactions, and discussion on Taming Lightning. So if have any readings,news, papers, and or past topics you’d like to expand on please let me know.
I've got various projects in mind, but I'd like to hear from you which you like to hear or see first. There are 3 projects listed, where you select your level of interest, and an extra box to submit your own requests. Please fill out the survey at the link below.
Additionally I’d like to thank Beverly Copeland of Glass Focus for her time providing some insight on the newsletter and what she is upto today.
Feel free to share, comment, and subscribe.
As always Be Safe, Be Healthy, and Be Strong, and I’ll See you next time.
-Percy Echols II, Taming Lightning
Featuring art works by:
Hello Lightning Tamers!
Today's post was brought to you by Wayne Strattman for phosphorus powders! In my most recent collaborative series with Daria Sandburgh called Cumulus Gone Nimbus, one of the consistent struggles with the small vessels is creating colorful effects with gases alone. Other modifiers such as colored glass, well I’m not quite ready to use in flameworking (I tend to waste more than I make), but in observing other artists like Mundy Hepburn and Harriet Schwarzrock, I am curious to explore the use of phosphor powders in clear glass as well as with colored glass, to look deeper into prep and applications.
Thanks to Wayne Strattman, I can share with you several methods of applying phosphors as well as a local distributor through Wayne himself or internationally through Neon Product in the Netherlands.
I hope to follow up on UV lights and some content showing the process for adding these phosphors, pros and cons of applications, cleaning, and others that come to mind.
Thank you for your support,
-Percy Echols II | Taming Lightning
Distributor in the Netherlands for phosphors and other neon products, very responsive customer service.
A USER’S GUIDE TO PHOSPHORS FOR PLASMA ART
Phosphors are chemicals, usually applied in the form of powders or powders in a liquid vehicle that translate ultraviolet light made in a plasma discharge into visible light to reveal a variety of colors.
Phosphors were first developed in the 19th century when various natural elements were put in Geissler tubes. After the air was partially evacuated and under the action of a high voltage discharge the elements would glow. The ultraviolet light produced caused the rocks to fluoresce.
When powdered these “rocks” became our first phosphors.
Phosphor technology research progressed through the last century to produce a rainbow of colors.
Phosphors have many technical properties and requirements that fill textbooks but here are some basics for the plasma artist.
Phosphors can be used in 2 basic modes:
Here are 6 common ways to apply phosphors to glass. (note: In all cases the raw phosphors should be finely ground to powder using a mortar and pestle or equivalent. They come already milled to size but may clump together so need to be reduced to powder either when mixing with a liquid vehicle or for dry dust coating.)
Interesting combinations of phosphor colors can be made with the body colors of the plasma gas itself. For example, a xenon blue plasma combined with a contrasting color like red, green or other color can give a rich multicolored display.
*Avoid breathing airborne dust from phosphor powders. Wear a properly rated respirator mask and work in a well ventilated area when mixing/grinding the dry phosphor powders.
*See color chart specifying particle size. Small particle size does not require the use of a binder and will stick by itself using the explosive coating method or can be painted on with alcohol. Larger particle size will require binder to stick. There is no visible difference with such small particle sizes but it makes a difference when choosing a method of application.)
*Isopropyl alcohol can be used as a vehicle to mix with the phosphor powder for painting. It will work best to use 100% Isopropyl alcohol with no water in it.
*Most phosphors appear white until activated under UV light.
*Contact us with any additional questions
Hello Lightning Tamers!
You've probably heard it said "Vacuum don't suck" and continued on your day without a second thought. I often come back to statements like this with questions like this, the video I'm sharing with you today "Does Vaccuum suck?"
This session will be streamed from the Pittsburgh Glass Center where I will lead us step-by-step on pumping, filling, and lighting a glass vessel for Plasma.
From my podcast, Taming Lightning, and the collaborative video series with GEEX, Intro to Plasma, we’ll touch on a variety of interconnected topics: from the Elements of Plasma venn diagram, to Structural Guidelines for Vessel Crafting, Examples of Aesthetic considerations on the influence of vessel geometry (internal shape of the vessel ) and optical influences of surface attributes(color of glass, translucency, and use of phosphors).
If you’re interested in trying to make work for plasma, this session will give you a hint of what is involved in this unique light and glass medium in which collaboration with facilities and artists are likely to be part of this process.
Check out Chapter 2: Taking Shape and Chapter 3: It’s Lit: Chemistry of Collaboration from the Intro to Plasma series, as we would love to hear of any questions you have that I can address!
-Percy Echols II | Taming Lightning
I'll use my self as an example, it took me 3 years to figure out how to finish the Plasma Moose in collaboration with Chris Ahalt. Granted I was barely 6mo into with filling or making plasma sculpture at PGC, but it would have been simpler to finish if I had talked about how we would like to display the work.(which was different from how Robert Mickelsen and I approached the capacitive coupled design with his illuminated lady(see slides below). Long story short, I had combine different approaches from other artists along with 3D printing to find my answer.
Anyways, if you find the this helpful or if you have some things you'd like me to follow up on from the Intro to Plasma Serie, pleas leave a comment below!
-Percy Echols II | Taming Lightning
*Both glass vessel and envelope are used interchangeably within the context of plasma sculpture.
This is essentially a vacuum sealable form made of glass.
In the process of making a plasma lamp, this is where the “cooking” starts, you can add a little bits of a gas as one would “season to taste” when cooking.
This Includes a combination of noble gases: helium, neon , argon, krypton, and xenon, and or other gases such as Oxygen and Nitrogen.
The use of Phosphors and Glass color will influence your decisions for Gas Mixtures.
An Electrode is a conductor that carries the electrical charge from the Transformer to illuminate the Gas Mixture.
It’s important to use electrodes that matches your glass composition as they can be purchased for soda lime and borosilicate glass.
The Transformer supplies High Voltage and High Frequency Electricity to the Electrode, and excites the Gas Mixture.
You’ll want to choose the appropriate transformer for the scale of your vessel.
Build & Assembly
Your Build & Assembly are the considerations made when determining where and how you present your finished work.
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.