TRACE

An Exploration of Sustainable Glass Art

GAS GREEN EXHIBITION

The new Green Exhibition, Trace: Showcasing Sustainable Glass Art, is an exciting venture to showcase the impact that artists can have on driving both the message and technologies that can move the arts into a future of sustainable practices.  We thank every artist who submitted work for this exhibition, every step by every artist moves us all to a better world.”

Mike Saroka, Board Member & Green Committee Co-Chair

Enjoy any of the pieces in this exhibition catalog? Many of the artworks featured are available for purchase. Follow the instructions below to bring a piece of this exhibition into your own home. Artwork available for sale includes a price in the caption.

STEP 1: EMAIL GLASS ART SOCIETY
Send an email to Jenna Green at [email protected] and include the artist’s name and title of work in the subject line. Please mention your location (country and zip code) and communication preference (email or phone.)

STEP 2: CONNECT WITH THE ARTIST
GAS will connect you with the artist via email or phone depending on your preference.

Winners

Abigail Reynolds

🌎 British 📍United Kingdom

I am an artist living and working in west Cornwall, UK. I have been using glass in sculpture for the past decade. In 2017 I was awarded a ‘Develop your Creative Practice’ grant from Arts Council England to further my work in glass. One strand of this was to create glass from materials in the landscape, which is the subject of ‘Flux’ the film I have submitted. I will be discussing the film with collections curation Samantha De Tillio at MAD Museum of Art and Design on 29th March 2021 as part of ‘Glass Meet the Future’. I studied English Literature at Oxford University and subsequently Fine Art as an MA at Goldsmiths College, London. In 2016 I was awarded the BMW Art Journey prize, to travel to lost libraries along the Silk Road. My book ‘Lost Libraries’ documenting this journey was published by Hatje Cantz in 2018. I have work in major public collections including the Government Art Collection, the Arts Council Collection, Yale University Art Gallery and New York Public Library. I have been selected for the current edition of the prestigious survey show (once every 5 years) of contemporary British Art ‘British Art Show 9’ touring the UK 2021-23.

I didn’t train in glass; I studied Literature and then Fine Art. I am interested in perception; how it is shaped and shared by communities. Glass in my work often points to the act of looking, especially the photographic look, as the glass lens is at the heart of every photograph. I use sheet glass in sculpture to support images and to implicate the space of looking. I came to the desire to make glass in Cornwall because the landscape here is persistently photographed. I wanted to find a way for the land to represent itself, materially.

Flux is the record of a single summer spent making glass from sand and seaweed on the far west Cornwall coast. For many centuries seaweed was gathered in Cornwall, burnt and sold to the glass industry as flux. The artist follows pre-Roman methods of glass making, using not only the seaweed but the sand from her local beaches. The work was conceived in response to contemporary conditions: global markets render material processes and labour invisible. Industry is at huge scale and automated, which detaches glass from place and from people. Glass can be a very distancing material; it is a material of screens. ‘Kelp’ as an artwork brings glass back to the hand, to intimacy and to understanding. For the record, one crucible of glass was melted. About ten percent of beach sand is fine enough to use for glass, and was taken directly off the beach, wasting nothing. Kelp is superabundant in the Atlantic and fast growing. I have submitted a heavily cut work here to conform to length limits. I would like the full video Flux (12.5 minutes) to be considered; it has space to expand on labour and place in glass making.

Abigail Reynolds, Flux, video (hand built furnace, plenty of research into forensic archaeology and manual labour.), 2020, 5 minute duration. Full video is 12.5 minutes.
(Photo: Abigail Reynolds)

Min Haeng Kang

🌎 Korean 📍USA

Min Haeng Kang was born in Korea. She recently received her MFA in Craft & Material Studies(glass area) from Virginia Commonwealth University in U.S.A. She received her BA, BFA in Korean Literature and Photography at SangMyung University in Korea and started studying glass in Japan. She graduated as an honor student at Toyama City Institute of Glass Art in Japan. She created her work at the Utatsuyama craft workshop in Japan for three years with scholarship and was awarded an honor researcher prize twice. She is the first person to receive the grand prize as a foreigner at the 69th annual Kanazawa Craft competition held in Kanazawa, a well-known ‘craft city’ in Japan, and the first Korean to receive the grand prize at the Triennial International Exhibition of Glass Kanazawa competition in Japan. She also received a silver prize and special prize at the Cheongju International Craft Biennale competition in Korea. Her work was included in the exhibition “COLOURS” at Hempel Glasmuseum in Denmark. She was chosen by French fashion designer Agnès b. to participate in the exhibition with her company in Tokyo. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Cheongju International Biennale Committee, the Toyama Glass Art Museum, the Notojima Glass Art Museum, the Utatsuyama Craft Workshop and Toyama City Institute of Glass Art, and can be found in catalogs that were produced for several of the exhibition mentioned above as well as in New Glass Review 34.

I began to aim at extending the scope of understanding of myself as a social being, contemplating the artist’s role in society and what meaning my own works and creative activities can have socially, and expressing these through my works. Feeling that too much material already exists in the world and is only focused on creating new things, I am working with trash in the hope that my creative actions can contemplate a cycle, not a one-sided consumption of resources.

My work “See As One-cell” is an expression of my constant awakening to the responsibility I have for mistakes made without awareness, which I realized one day. Through very delicate and time-consuming work I transform things that have been casually abandoned by a capitalist system that prioritizes efficient use of time, not the expansive potential of things. By rearranging waste into the forms of cells, I express things as beings with their own values and lives and make space for new neural pathways that allow us to move beyond human-centered thinking. I hope I can inspire people to ask questions about how we determine the value of that which we call “things”, and see all living and nonliving things as one unified whole. This small shift can make ripples, that produce actions, that work to undo some of the consequences of human selfishness.

Christopher Kerr-Ayer

🌎 American 📍USA

Christopher currently lives and works in Burnsville, NC. Alongside making his own work, he assists Kenny Pieper. Prior to moving to North Carolina, Chris worked for Devin Burgess at Borealis Studios in Greensboro, VT, and assisted and gaffed for Michael Egan at Green Mountain Glassworks in Granville, VT. He holds a BFA in Sculpture from Johnson State College in Johnson, VT, and has attended several residency programs including the Vermont Studio Center (VT), the STARworks Center for Glass (NC), and Residents Together (Boda, Sweden). Constantly moving between the artistic and functional qualities of glass, Chris is critical of glass as a material; how form, function, and material interact with one another. Inspired by antique, found, and everyday objects, Chris’s work explores the interaction between tool and toy.

My work talks about identity, focusing on the transition from innocence to adolescence, childhood to adulthood. My practice integrates castaway objects from second hand stores, dumps, and sidewalks; parts of identity we outgrow and cast away. I am fascinated with toys and tools, and attempt to blur the line between them. I am equally drawn to the form and function. I replicate the object in glass to divorce the form from its original use, while retaining its formal qualities. In this way I shift focus from the function to memory.

Challenging myself to make work without a furnace is important to me. It simultaneously sustains diversity in my practice, and is a more Eco-friendly method of making. Using found and ready-made objects allows me to see glass in a different way, while not contributing to the carbon footprint or waste stream. I regularly experiment with combining all types of glass, and have seen my work grow greatly since incorporating second hand and refuse materials. From functional ware to sculptural objects, I have been able to use almost every part of old bottles, cups, jars, wine glasses, and figurines within the processes I currently utilize.

Christopher Kerr-Ayer, Toy Wagon, Found, Sheet, and Sculpted Glass. Found Objects. Adhesive (Coldworked. Canework. Solid Sculpting. Fabrication), 2020, 6" x 8" x 12" (Photo: Brady Connelly)

Honorable Mentions

Gregory Alliss

🌎 American 📍Portugal

I am based in Scotland in the UK. I predominately work with kiln casting and cold-working techniques working with optical glass and recycled glass. I am interested in how over time traditional glass making techniques have influenced manufacturing processes for the industrial production of glass and in turn how industrial techniques can now be re-introduced into studio glass making. Glass art is not my first career which was in science and engineering. I had become increasingly curious about the techniques used to produce the contemporary glass art that I had been collecting. Working with glass initially became a hobby using my garage as a studio space. More recently I completed an MFA degree in Glass, at Edinburgh College of Art. Prior to the MFA self-taught, supplemented by following masterclasses at Corning Museum and Wolverhampton University. Studying for the MFA allowed me to explore glass in an advanced technical detail that was not possible as a solo hobbyist. During this time, my practice has developed both creatively and professionally. Currently studying for a PhD at Edinburgh College of Art, researching sustainability in kiln cast glass and wider glass studio practice.

Frustrating, unforgiving, time consuming, unwieldy and brittle! Fragile, colorful, shiny, transparent and mesmerizing. These two conflicting statements may both be used to describe glass art objects. One view, while making and one view is while looking at the same artwork. This contradiction is why glass is my material of choice. The duality of its perception makes it so puzzling. This puzzle is made more complex when you consider the material properties of glass that are also full of contradictions.  The challenge for me, is to master the idiosyncrasies and subtle nuances of glass to produce intriguing and pristine art works.

The submitted object is part of a body of work that explores the possibilities of ‘cradle’ to ‘cradle’ or ‘closed loop’ recycling for glass in the context of glass art studio practice. Sympathetic to the source material, which is recycled glass from old televisions, the making process capitalizes on material property to create depth of color and pattern within the glass. Using this type of glass was part of an investigation into both the production of glass from waste glass and from non-traditional raw materials. The aim of this investigation was to consider sustainable working techniques related to the creation of art objects and running of an art studio.

Gregory Alliss, Transparent Flow, glass (Kiln-Casting using recycled glass), 2019, 16cm x 11cm x 34 cm (Photo: Gregory Alliss)

James Lethbridge

🌎 British 📍Belgium

Initially following a career choice in production ceramics and gaining an in depth knowledge of processes, it was in 2003 that Lethbridge was lured to study glass. This was to be a life changing moment as this new medium soon became his material of choice. Enthralled by the transparency and liquid nature of molten glass, repetitive throwing made way for a more experimental making process. In 2005, Lethbridge applied to the Royal College of Art where he then developed his range of glass skills as well as greatly increasing his body of work, both aiding his confidence and belief in his chosen practice. Since graduating, Lethbridge has developed a reputation for his unique artworks, creating one-off sculptural and lighting pieces. With an inventive approach to glass making, Lethbridge’s pieces are instantly recognisable and highly desired. His glass pieces often incorporate a multitude of glass thorns, shards and tendrils. The act of repetitious making has stayed a constant for Lethbridge but now with entirely different end results. Angel Monzon, Vessel Gallery, London. Major Exhibitions: 2008. Design Basel. Basel, Switzerland. 2008. Perimeter Editions Ltd, Paris 2008. Design Art London, Berkeley Square represented by Perimeter Editions Ltd 2008. Design Miami. Florida, US 2009. Perimeter Editions Ltd, Paris, France. 2009. Same Difference, Corning Museum Of Glass, New York, US. 2013. Paris Art Fair, represented by Perimeter Edition Ltd 2013. International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF). New York. US. Represented by Bespoke Global. 2013. Eunique, Germany. With the European Museum of Modern Glass, Coburg. 2018. Collect 2018. Represented by Vessel Gallery 2018. Collect 2018. Represented by Vessel Gallery 2019. British Glass Biennale. 2019. Irish Glass Biennale, Dublin. 2019. Bulgarian Glass Biennale. 2021 International Kogei Award, Toyama Institute for Art and Design, Japan.

Through the study of botanical, biological and astrological sources of inspiration, my work exists as pieces of collected, abstracted, surreal and almost alien pieces of sculptural glass. Derived from many different points of reference, such as viruses, twisting vines and microscopic pollen, I explore form, space, material and texture, using only the purity and fluidity of hot transparent glass and light.

James Lethbridge Glass is a sculpture, vessel and chandelier, design and making business working within a contemporary baroque, botanical, surrealist aesthetic, established in 2007. To date, I have been increasingly utilising more and more found objects within my work in an effort to become a more ethical, sustainable glass working business. In combination with this I have been researching the use of hot waste glass. Utilising the hot glass blowing studio of Rombach’s Glass, I have produced a limited range of hot glass sculptures, in order to try to understand this misunderstood, underused material. This is in an effort to show that it can be aesthetically pleasing and to bring it, more into the mainstream design / art glass world, as a truly flexible material for the expression of concepts, skills and techniques.

James Lethbridge, Jovian Flower ii, Waste Glass, Borosilicate, UV Glue (Hot Glass Sculpting, Flameworking and UV bonding), 2020, 45cm x 25cm 25cm (Photo: James Lethbridge)

Jon Lewis

🌎 British 📍United Kingdom

Jon’s first introduction to glass making was in1989 at Wolverhampton University, he instantly fell in love with glass as a material. Taking a year out of his degree, Jon chose to spend a year to learn more from the ex factory glassmakers at brierley Hill, Stourbridge. After graduating from university, Jon worked as a hot glass technician at Stafford University before working as a glassblowing assistant in Oregon, USA. On returning to the UK, Jon co-founded Flux Glass Design in London in 1999, He now works from a glass studio in Harlow, Essex. Jon has worked and exhibited internationally within many disciplines of glass, from blown glass to prestigious architectural installations. . A theme of Jon’s work throughout the years has been the synthesis of glass with metal, corrosion, patination and texture. Blown glass vessels are coated by spark impregnation with iron and other metals. These works are evolving but they always have a window of pure transparent glass colour, a framed aperture within a metal shell. In a Parallel body of work, Jon has been combining glass with dichroic filters in many forms since1994. While working as a glass blowing assistant in Oregon Jon was introduced to dichroic thin film interference filters as a form of surface decoration on blown glass. The refractive transformation of light through convex and concave lenses and a diffused projection makes some of Jon’s dichroic glass works appear to glow from within in a myriad of colours. Jon has been involved in glass recycling in many forms over the years. Many things have been thrown into his furnace; Beer bottles, fluorescent tubes, windows and TV Screens. Jon has built many glass furnaces including biomass fuelled. He has been involved in live demonstrations of glass recycling at design festivals using a wood pellet fired furnace and melting glass recycled from the events. Jon continues to use recycled glass in much of his work as well as plans for future eco furnaces.

Televisions revolutionized communication culture in the 20 century, this is accelerated today with the agitative presence of mobile phones. We seem to look at life through a screen.

We are lucky as glassblowers that we can live with tools and techniques which haven’t changed much in a thousand years and generally avoid modern technologies.

Transceiver is a pair of twinned blown glass monoliths, made from television screens and coated in rusted iron. Each one has an aperture of coloured glass inviting you to view through.

I used to dig around in an old Victorian rubbish dump on farm land with my friends when I was about 10 years old. We would call it the old bottle tip, because all we would find below the ground was old glass bottles and remnants of ceramics. What we didn’t realise then was that before the industrial revolution most human rubbish was biodegradable and natural. This is apparent throughout history. The surviving remnants of human civilizations in history have mainly been stone structures, ceramic, glass, bronze and iron and shaped tools of stone or flint. From the last century we have produced countless synthesised new materials which will never degrade, bakelite was one of our first. For the Archaeologists of the future this Anthropocene epoch will be our legacy as the geology of manmade and natural becomes blurred. Cathode ray tube Televisions have become a worldwide problem in recent years for safe disposal. There is a very high lead content within the glass of the tube and also toxicity of other chemicals of their construction. If disposed of in landfill sites the lead and chemicals can leach out into the earth for hundreds of years contributing to worldwide pollution.

Jon Lewis, Transceiver, glass from melted cathode ray television screens, iron, cast iron bases (Blown glass, carved when cold, coated in iron by spark infusion process, rusted and patinated surface), 2021, 870mm H x 320mm W x 120mm D (Photo: Matthew Booth)

Gallery

Jurors

Juli Bolaños-Durman, Scotland

Emerging Costa Rican Artist & Designer based in Scotland with a background in Graphic Design, mixed-media and recent immersion into the glass material. This specific set of experiences give Juli a fresh and versatile vision when approaching research and the creative process by repurposing found glass and transforming them into precious artefacts that tell a story. Winner of Jerwood Makers Open 2017, the ELLE DECORATION British Design Awards 2015- ECO DESIGN Category, Awarded Exceptional Talent Visa endorsed by the Arts Council UK, Inches Carr Scottish Craft Award 2017, and her work is included in the collection of Museum of Contemporary Design and Applied Arts (MUDAC) Collection. Lausanne, CH. 2015,  the National Glass Centre Collection in Sunderland in 2020 & got  the Commission to develop a large-scale installation for the Royal Edinburgh Hospital (2017-Ongoing), UK.

Amber Cowan, USA

Amber Cowan’s sculptural glasswork is based around the use of recycled, upcycled, and second-life American pressed glass. She uses the processes of flameworking, hot-sculpting and glassblowing to create sculptures that overwhelm the viewer with ornate abstraction and viral accrual. Her pieces reference memory, domesticity and the loss of an industry through the re-use of common items from the aesthetic dustbin of American design. Cowan lives in Philadelphia where she received an MFA in Ceramics/Glass from Tyler School of Art and Architecture of Temple University. She has been a faculty member of the Tyler Glass department since 2010. Her work can be found in the permanent collections of The Museum of Arts and Design in NYC, The Corning Museum of Glass and The Toledo Museum of Art.

 

Candice-Elena Greer, United Kingdom

Candice-Elena Greer’s passion for the arts, glass and environment has evolved through the creative process and exchange of ideas as artist/ maker/curator and subsequent involvement with industrial glass recycling. From 2008-2019 she was Creative Director of her and her husband’s (CRT) cathode ray tube recycling business Nulife Glass. Assisting in the development of the electric furnace technology that extracts lead from CRT glass from R&D to full industrial scale and collaborating with artists to develop recycled glass products from TV and computer monitors.  As a graduate of West Surrey College of Art and Design with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art she worked at Peter Layton’s London Glassblowing Studio from 1994-2004 as glass blower’s assistant, glass artist and curator. Candice-Elena was curator of the inaugural British Glass Biennale 2004, 2006, 2008 and creative consultant in 2010. She was instrumental as creator and founder of Wearing Glass – an exhibition of contemporary jewellery and body adornment in 2000 and 2005 with accompanying published catalogues. She is a past chairman of the Contemporary Glass Society and Honorary Member. After 7 years working in the USA she is now living in Cheshire, United Kingdom.

Frederik Rombach

Frederik Rombach was born in Leuven, Belgium. At 4 years the family left for Johannesburg, South Africa where Frederik grew up until his 14th. Then the family moved to the Netherlands. Frederik went to school and college where he obtained his civil engineering degree. From his 17th year onwards Frederik left to travel and work, spending time living and working in San Diego California with renowned artist James Hubbell and his son Drew Hubbell. Frederik spent a year in Mexico travelling and working teaching english in exchange for spanish lessons. Returning to the Netherlands he studied architecture for a number of years in Amsterdam. During his studies his work shifted to theatre where he worked with composers and dancers a number of times, twice in collaboration with Paul Oomen for the prestigious Oerol festival. Frederik took on a number of small commissions for Alberts and van Huut in Amsterdam before moving to Arnhem where he joined the artists colony KW37. Here he lived and worked from a gypsy wagon for a number of years. Frederik moved to Antwerp where he opened a shop for his glass products. Throughout 5 years Frederik has been working on selling recycled glass products and realizing social artistic projects in the public domain with glass as well as mosaics. Now the time has come to move to working primarily with molten glass, to travel the world working with a specific set of tools, setting up collaborations and working on a social artistic level with as many people and craftsmen as possible, as well as delving into work with more personal thoughts.