AL Heilman Art
July 06, 2020
Removing a rim off of a drop ring vessel is a skill everyone can learn. It is one that takes practice. I produce a number of drop ring vessels in my studio and you can see many of them on this website. This is a reproducible way to remove the rim off a drop ring that uses a wet tile saw. A wine bottle or any used glass bottle will work as a practice tool. Go slow and enjoy the process.
The first time I tried this, it was a disaster. Even after attending courses, I was still searching for a technique that worked for me the majority of the time. Originally, I was taught to score the outside, or inside of the vessel with a glass cutter and then to run the score by tapping with your finger or by tapping of the rim with a very small hammer. This often produced some surprising and crazy good/bad results. Next, I tried using a diamond saw on a dremel/foredom tool. This required 2 people. Someone had to keep the diamond wheel wet while balancing the vessel and the cutting saw. So after many failures and searching, I came up with this process.
After talking with other glass artists who shared their struggles, this video was born. I share my tricks, and a few of my photographs of the lake where my studio/home is located. Nature is a powerful stimulus for much of my work. A good video/blog does not replace a good course and instructor, with one on one instruction. I have given you the data so you can work this out, but do not be afraid to ask for help. It just takes practice. Then it becomes fun and meditative.
If you do 10 practice cuts over a week, you will have this down. I make a warm up cut on a bottle before cutting my actual finished drop vessel. Try a small vessel first before moving to a big vessel. This works with very thin rims or thick rims on large vessels.
Please use all the safety guidelines I have mentioned. Especially, only do this when you are rested and not at the end of a day or distracted. Eye and ear protection are a must.
Sometimes we all experience "heavy gravity days" where no matter how much we try things don't go well. This is not something to do on those days. Be rested and take your time. I must credit Pat Flynn, a good friend and goldsmith/metalsmith extraordinaire, with this term and concept. It is so true. It took me several years to recognize it, and to celebrate the wonderful flows of life.
I also use a dressing stone on my diamond saws blades and flat laps. It is simple and quick and gives me a much better cut. There is a good video from HIS Glassworks. It makes my diamond blades cut better and cleaner. Here is the link to that video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-jFJd07yTA
My last tip is to have the area clean where you stand and are using you saw. Remove the clutter. You need to be able to move around. A clean and sharp tool is a must. Use plenty of good light and have fun. Please share your experiences with this technique on my blog in the comment section.
Thank you for your time. I hope this helps.
July 06, 2020
July 06, 2020
July 06, 2020
One of my first creative steps was when I built a Soap Box Derby car. On my 3rd attempt I won the local Soap Box Derby in DeKalb, Illinois. That qualified me for the national race in Akron, Ohio. That was exciting, even though I lost. But, I learned that you have to pay careful attention to detail. On my first attempt, I had the steering cable wrapped backwards on the steering column and ended up hitting a hay bail at the end of the course!
I loved photography at an early age. As a teenager I built a darkroom. Photography is still is a passion of mine: I photograph daily in my creative process. I went to a university run lab school for Junior High. I used a binary computer with punch tapes as an entry tool…55 years ago. We had a wood and metal shop at the school. In High School I gravitated to the drafting classes and wood and metal shop: Learning to visualize and think in 3 dimensions is a gift from those classes. I have designed and built many homes, including my current lake home/studio. I seriously considered studying architecture in college, but medicine won me over.
I always believed that healing was my natural calling. When I was younger, I went to pharmacy school, then, to medical school. This led to my becoming an orthopedic spine surgeon: Over twenty-five-years, I helped many people, with broken and injured spines, stand up straight and regain function. But, being 6’8”, the years of my bending over an operating room table caught up with my genetic inheritance. Knowing a life’s journey never follows a straight line, my body challenged me to develop a new paradigm once I left the operating room.
I use the sunrises and sunsets as my palette and the changes in nature as my inspiration. This provides me an evocative and healing ethos. I count myself lucky to live my passion. My work communicates a feeling of peace, harmony and a profound respect for nature and humanity.
I also explore the social issues we face as humans and as a society. My work brings attention to the recognition and acceptance of the many wounds that have been present in our society for far too long. We all need to work together so that we have equal access to the law, education and healthcare no matter what our race or color. Examples of this work are three pieces: Black Lives Matter, Genes, and SOS: Our Guns or Our Children.
Black Lives Matter
Fused Glass with acrylic on canvas covered wooden panel. 30x30 x3
Fused Glass mounted on a Canvas covered wooden panel, Acrylic. 30x30x3
SOS: Our Guns or Our Children
30 x 30 x 3 Fused glass on canvas covered panel with acrylic and colored pencil.
One of the challenges I face every day is getting to and staying in the creative flow. I am not afraid of failure, experimenting and taking risks. Much of my work goes through an ugly or challenging phase, before the final finishes and additions. I have learned to push through, not stopping until I feel whole. Art, on my best days, is nirvana, peace and ecstasy. On bad days, it provides a meditative internal mind therapy. I have learned to use problems and roadblocks as a stimulus for creativity.
My work is sold online thru this website. During the Covid 19 pandemic I have closed my in-person galley due to health exposure risks. If you are interested in a work or a commission let me know, and we can facilitate the process. I appreciate your time spent visiting this website. Stay safe and wear a mask when around others.