24 October 2007

100 years of Glass at Central St Martins

This three-person presentation on the development of stained glass romped through a century at the art school showing the teachers, their pupils and their work, beginning with Christopher Whall (whose book I had kept trying to read while at IGC). Quite interesting, but I thought they could have taken more of a bird's-eye view of the changes in styles and usage over the century and asked, 'Whither stained glass now?' - which did sort of come up in the questions afterwards. It emerged that architects in the UK are very unadventurous when it comes to commissioning glass as part of the building. Health & safety issues, and the high cost, being factors.
picture shows plan for Lethaby's building in Southampton Row which will give way to a new build in St Pancras in 2011

23 October 2007


What have we here: prosthetic devices for a hip replacement, knee replacement (the one like a nutcracker), shoulder replacement and I don't know what the one with the green tip is for. Heavy (titanium alloy) and rather sculptural. The hospital has loaned them to me my research so I have drawn them and am thinking. But I feel this leads me into cast glass which is just not my thing and it is important to find one's own voice in a new medium and explore that more fully. If the atrium demands a sculptural overhead piece, then perhaps I am just not the person to do it.

22 October 2007

Public Art seminar

I have just joined Craft Central which is a very useful organisation (that I didn't hear about through MA channels) and have come home from a very good seminar on public art. Apparently I should be charging a design fee -- but I kind of knew that and every situation is different and needs to be played out in its own way. However, useful to have a model brief and a model contract, which they gave us and which will be good to use as a template.

I can't really justify this picture of our own hand-gathered chanterelles mushrooms on glass grounds (though everything can count as inspiration) but it's what we'll be having for supper tonight. And jolly nice too.

19 October 2007

International Ceramics Symposium

Really terrible picture of a very engaging South African potter at work during the demonstrations at the Borrowing Heritage symposium which I dropped in on this week as it was being held at the Farnham college. Not many speakers actually did talk about cross-fertilisation - though one bemoaned the loss of his own heritage (in Uganda) due to Westernisation. But I found all the shapes and techniques personally inspiring. These incised traditional patterns, for example, would work in glass too - though a great deal harder to achieve, because in pottery you can rub out your mistakes and grave the lines again.
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13 October 2007

Guild of Glass Engravers AGM

There are always engraving glasses on sale at these occasions including these really quite nice reproductions of 18th century twists by the Roman Glassmakers. But they were just a bit too light in weight and yellow in colour - and after all I do have the real thing. However, I did fall for 2 Whitefriars lead crystal goblets blown for Laurence Whistler which won't be avaliable again as these were the last ones.
Interesting talks on verre églomisé -- the word is eponomystic deriving from Mr Glom (?sp) of whose technique (though not original) it was said things were Glom - ized -- sandblasting and stipple engraving. Chats with engraver pals. A good day out.

11 October 2007

Origin Craft Fair

Seen at Origin (2nd week) - collected for its resonances with the 'Why is a wine glass not a shoe' project (now abandoned). These witty wire shoes are by Cathy Miles.

I also quite liked this chandelier by GlassStorm. Quite liked. But at least everything at Origin was well made. It rather fell within what out first Theoretical Discourse lecture was about - has our society got its priorities right in its admiration of 'Art' above 'Craft'? Because 'Art' invests 'Meaning' in an object, the Frieze clientele ascribe a monetary value to match the alleged intellectual content (as in queuing up 2 hours to have a £20-note defaced in schoolboy fashion because it will then be saleable on the open market for about £200); whereas 'Craft' - Art's poor relation - betrays the labourer's hands and is therefore working class in the design hierarchy.

Frieze Art Fair Private View

The Frieze PV last night was entertaining - including such highlights as one of the Chapman brothers (busy defacing a £20-note) insulting me for the outfit I was wearing (was it my garish felt ring he didn't like?), and Jeffrey Archer and I exchanging, 'Call me old fashioned, but...'-type remarks. But there it is; I don't think this show should be called Frieze, but 'The What is Art Show'. Because the skills ineptitude on show generally is astonishing.
I've picked out 3 glass exhibits. Top: a pretty bead wall piece (no attribution nearby, but it was at least well made) but what is it and so what? (ergo, the title does add to the piece); bottom: broken bottles (no label again), yeah, yeah - postmodernist statement about the society we live in; right Rebecca Warren piece called 'Husband No. 7' with neon bulb, which I picked out as it rather matched my comments about the fair last year about all the wires and workings showing. I don't know if this is wit or just plain messy. If Grandchild No. 13 finds Husband No. 7 while clearing out the attic, I think they might bundle the lump of wood and trail of flex in a skip.

08 October 2007

Champagne cages

The pictures don't show it, but these are quite sculptural - glasses blown into champagne cages. They blow out where the cage divisions are to look like buxom bums. I remember trying this a year or so ago and didn't have enough control to do it. Still don't, but I'm getting nearer.

03 October 2007

Visioning Meeting no. 3

I presented a first idea to the team responsible for the RNOH interior today. I'm really not sure what they all thought. On the one hand, it seemed a solution to a problem with the half-way lobby wall that they had identified; on the other hand, that meant my piece would not fill the double-height atrium. Which disappointed those who want wow-factor (or so I thought). The architects are apparently expecting a quote for a 'treatment' for the outside and pavement areas in a few days so we decided to wait for that and see. Also, there is to be a glass 'something' in the residential courtyard. So glass is featuring in this new building quite a bit. I hope it is just a question of marrying up various schemes.