I made these jewelry display cases for Donna Karan’s Urban Zen store in Hollywood. I used brass framing which I changed black with a patina. They are simple, strong and earthy stylish. They are not my design, but I am still excited about working with this store!
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALEXA GRAY
In 2006, I lived in New York. I had the great opportunity to build a commission for Deity Nightclub in Brooklyn. They wanted goddesses with an element of erotica. The windows were 4 feet by 6 feet and there were 6 of them. The owners agreed on the drawings and said, “You don’t have to run all the glass samples by me. Just do what you want.” This was a dream commission.
The goddesses I chose were “Shekinah- Jewish goddess Tree of Life” and “Nut- Egyptian Goddess of the Night Sky.” (pronounced Noot) Shekinah is portrayed as young, with braids in her hair. She is also an element of the land, and rooted. Shekinah has a green flame on her forehead, a kind of third eye. The tree extends to each side of Shekinah.
Nut is portrayed as older with gray dreadlocks and reclining on the clouds. She is an element of the sky and boundless. The stars are opaque and reflect off their surface. They have a sparkle with interior lights, and a metallic finish. There are clouds that extend on each side of Nut.
This window was installed in a burnt-out and abandoned building in Portland, OR in 2008. I used some of the salvaged glass from the burnt out building. The glass was melted by the fire, covered in graffiti, and broken. I also used french mouth blown glass- the pinks and red. I wanted to combine dirty, discarded glass with the finest and most expensive glass, to show the value and interest in each. I installed it, and it lasted several weeks before someone uninstalled it for their own home. (which was a fine outcome for me).
It was fun to put stained glass in a completely unexpected location, and highlight the decaying beauty of a building like this. I love the sunlight on the broken safety glass panels. Directly inspired by graffiti artists, it was an act of sharing my work with passersby. An urban surprise art element. A softness of colored light and attention to life giving qualities in contrast to cement and decay and barbed wire. I am so appreciative of urban places- the diversity of ideas and peoples. I am also appreciative of the quiet places in a city. These are quite often the decaying building neighborhoods- Warehouses, vacant lots. Of course, I love urban parks and woods, too. Both have their calm.
The image on the glass is the word “Bolt” surrounded but two lightning bolts. Then there is a suitcase with a rocketship on it. (another concept of bolt- getting out of town). It is a very scrappy piece. The suitcase is made using the graffiti spray painted glass pieces. The arch above the suitcase is the burnt and melted glass.
I found this t.v. on the side of the street in Brooklyn, NY. It was gross. But it was the exact look I had been keeping an eye out for, so it was worth cleaning. The pattern on the t.v. is your everyday chain link fence. Participation? Observation? Engagement? Off limits?
I made this piece using hundreds of salvaged lenses. When positioned against a landscape (featured here in front of New York Bay), the horizon line splits. No longer a steady, straight, constant, resting place, the horizon line becomes activated and splayed.
This lens sculpture lived in front of my front window for a long time. It was amazing to see a bird fly by, become a flock, and fly solo out the other side. This piece really energized whatever I was looking at.
Stained glass for the east bay.
This red tail hawk window is a memory from my time in NY.
I was walking down a small dirt path in Prospect Park, when a huge red tail hawk swooped over my head carrying a beefy rat in its talons. It was a victory for nature in that bustling city. It was a relief, exciting. It was a reminder that nature is there, tucked in the treetops of the city park. Wild and powerful.
So, for years I had that image in my head and finally was able to build it. So, that little animal in the hawks talons is a rat, though some have said an armadillo. And I’m fine with that too.