Saturday Studio: Statom’s Stately Structures

Galeena Gephart, FWMoA High School Intern

For this Saturday Studio, we are basing this week’s project off of an exhibition that is currently displayed at the FWMoA, A Quest for More: Bold Visions in Glass Sculpture! Therman Statom is an artist from Winter Haven, Florida who uses various forms of glass to create unique pieces of art. Although he was born in Florida, he grew up in Washington, D.C. It was there that his love for art started when he befriended the (now fellow) artist Cady Noland (daughter of the Color Field painter Kenneth Noland).

Statom went to college at Rhode Island School of Design, where he found his love for glass blowing. He worked alongside artist Dale Chihuly, who helped him grow his talents. He then moved to Pratt to continue his studies, but found that they didn’t have a hot shop for him to practice in. To fill this creative void, Statom began painting and drawing on sheets of glass. From here, his work blossomed into a new, creative form. He uses sheets of glass, glass blowing, and found objects to make these masterpieces.

Inside of the piece above, the viewer can see random objects placed in seemingly no order. He finds these fun materials from meeting new people and going to different places. Inside of his work above, you can see painted birds, a man in a hat, a die, and even more strange objects. The viewer might question whether these objects mean something or if they are just random. Do they connect with the title, Winter Migration? Statom is widely known for his glass houses and ladders. If you look closely at the other house in the show, you’ll notice that the same figure appears in the other house, Maison des Cartes (House of Cards). It’s likely that this is a self-portrait, as Statom can be seen in photos wearing a similar hat.

Follow the simple steps below to build your own miniature house based on Statom’s work! Although Statom works with glass, we’ll be using recycled and found materials. You may even find, as we did, that you have materials around your home that mimic that translucency of glass!

While looking for inspiration on how to build your house, here are some questions to consider:

-What message do I want the viewer to understand?

-Do my objects mean something to me? 

-Does my house tell a story?

-Is there a specific theme that I want to design my house by?

-What colors or objects can I use to get across my message or story?

Supplies I Used: (feel free to use anything that seems fitting)

  1. Tacky Glue
  2. Old pieces of cardboard
  3. Tape (of any kind)
  4. Construction paper
  5. Scraps of old paper or magazine cut-outs
  6. Fun objects found around the house (or even outside!)
  7. Oil pastels or crayons
  8. Pipe cleaner
  9. Clear or colored transparency film
  10. Recycled artworks (these are drawings that were left in the Museum’s Learning Center!)

Recommended Supplies: (feel free to use anything that seems fitting)

  1. Clear plastic wrap (saran wrap)
  2. Fun objects found (Sticks, flowers, dice, pencils, etc)
  3. Any type of paper
  4. Paint or other mediums to make the house colorful!
  5. Hot glue gun (with adult supervision)

Process:

Since this is an open-ended project, here are some tips to construct your house:

-When putting the walls to the house together, lay a long “stripe” of glue down on the surface. Put your bottom of the walls on the glue and lean it against something solid so the walls will not fall while they are drying. 

-To attach objects to the walls, it is best to attach them after all the walls are up and firm. This way, the walls will not fall due to the weight of the objects.

-When the glue is drying, it helps greatly to push the object firmly against the glue and hold it there for a couple of seconds. 

-Find some cool objects to attach both inside and outside, or draw or paint on the walls! (Look back at Statom’s piece for inspiration.)

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