Heart of Glass
I guess I’ve mentioned it before, my day job is working for Finnish artist Tuula Lehtinen - while I consider myself a printer and take great pride in the nice editions we’ve produced over the last two years, I also enjoy the variation that comes with the job - we’re currently working on a larger public commission with a wonderful medium that Tuula is using quite a lot: Italian smalti from Orsoni, a factory in Venice that produces smalti, glass tiles for mosaics since more than 200 years.
These glass tiles come in over 2000 colours, many of them custom made - in the shop we use about 180 different shades. Pictured above - the cutting block on which I break some of the larger tiles into square tiles for detailed work, a some of our colour palettes (with Tuula’s birthday cake in the middle - should have photographed it while the cake was uncut, but we were too greedy and it was also way too delicious..), and, since I can’t write about the current project just yet, the final two pictures show “Leila’s Garden”, a 2005 mosaic commission Tuula and her team made in Tampere’s Pikkupalatsi.
There’s printmaking in these projects too, instead of projecting / tracing Tuula’s sketches we use large format digital printing on thin concrete boards, but that’s not what this post about - it’s the colours of the smalti, so awesome. And here’s your reward for reading all this way: a link to the Orsoni Colour Library - one of the most awesome places in the world, if you love colours - a part of their foundry where the sheets of glass are stored before they get broken into the small tiles you’ve seen in my photos.
photogelatine-aquatint, aquatint, etching, photo etching, photoglyphique engraving
Plate size: 50x25cm
This is what I’ve been working on recently, one of six prints from Tuula’s “Viipuri” series. Viipuri, also known as Vyborg was Finland’s second largest city, until it fell into Russian hands during the Winter War. The artist’s mother was among the many Finns that fled westwards. and these prints are based on Tuula visiting Viipuri together with her mum for the first time since 1939.
Nerd side info: printed with Charbonnel Aqua Wash inks on white Hahnemühle paper, from five steelfaced copper plates.
Tuula’s flickr for studio insights and tons of works:
Learn about Vyborg:
Very sad and melancholy tango about missing Monrepos, a park in Viipuri: