Friday 10 May 2013

A New Way of Looking at Glass

Last autumn, I got accepted on to the AA2A Scheme at the University of Derby.  It's a residency programme, offered to several practising artists/makers over a range of educational establishments.  It's intended to help take time develop ideas and to offer the opportunity to use facilities we might not usually get access to.

I became eligible to apply last year and got accepted for a place on the scheme. Unfortunately, a few things happened in my personal life which meant I struggled to find the time to spend on the project (involvement means spending a certain amount of time on-site and being visible to and accessible for students), but finally about a month ago, I was able to spend a bit of time on it at last.

I'd wanted to explore new ways of 'seeing' glass, which fascinates me in all forms - not just because of it's beauty, and it's odd combination of fragility and strength but in other ways too; technically, it's an incrediblly versatile material which can be used for an amazing array of applications, and it can look so different - of course, quite often, with glass, it's about what we can see through it and what can or can't get through it - heat, light.

I used to do a lot of photography and used to enjoy developing my own films and printing from my  negatives.  Of course with the digital age, I don't go in the dark room any longer, so having the opportunity to use the facilities at the university was too good to pass up.

Glass does funny things to light - you can't always 'see' what it's doing, but expose traditional photo paper and it reveals where some of that light is actually going (this again appeals to the scientific side of me).

Take this image:

Copper wire and glass photogram

Remembering that this is photographic paper usually used with a negative - so the dark bits are where all light has got through, the lighter bits are where less has got through (still with me??).  Nothing unusual really, this is a round of glass with copper wire wrapped through the middle.  Of course, copper wire is solid, opaque, won't let light through.  But those dots?  They're air bubbles.  The solid white line around the edge - that's the curve of the glass.  These bubbles and curves are distorting (well, refracting) the light in such a way that it's not hitting the development paper.  I think it's fascinating.

Here's another one -you'll probably recognise the style/design, people say it's very 'me' - my textured glass.


There's absolutely loads more I've done - I spent a couple of sessions simply working out which glass works best, out of the different techniques I use for making - just working in black and white paper is fascinating and has endless options.

Just wait until you see what happens in colour...

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