A travel bursary from A-N helped fund an experience that de-stabilised my art practice, opening new and surprising directions while introducing me to some wonderful people and experiences.
Because of the award, I was able to participate in a six-week Fellowship at the Creative Glass Center of America (CGCA), in Millville, New Jersey. The list of previous Fellows is a roster of significant artists in the field, and it was an honour to have been chosen.
While there I developed no fewer than four new directions for my work, which have forced me to re-define who I am as an artist and maker. To this point, my work has centered around creating illuminated one-off three dimensional images by enamelling onto multiple layers of glass. It is complex, subtle, time-consuming hand made work. During the Fellowship I worked with digital production, repetition, and unusual surfaces, from Kleenex box holders to mobile phones.
My proposal for the Fellowship was to explore and create contemporary memento mori (remember you will die) images, exploring 21st century notions of existence and non-existence. The goal was to do this in a setting where I could critically engage with colleagues, the curatorial staff of the related Museum of American Glass, and especially Hank Adams, CGCA’s renowned Creative Director.
CGCA is a curious beast. It is a centre of excellence for the nurturing and creation of art made with glass, with highly skilled staff working with Fellows and visiting artists to realise a wide range of works. It’s set within a Disneyland-inspired mock historic village celebrating the region’s industrial heritage. These different components intersect in curious ways.
I arrived in the swampy heat of late August and met my fellow Fellows. Our experience, paths, explorations and approaches to working with glass were radically different from one another. Our conversations and struggles helped flesh out the experience.