Why glitter: a response (not least for Elena)


Elena’s comment on my previous blog and responses from the artists’ statement writing peer support group have promoted me to examine my attraction to, and use of, glitter. Here are pretty much spontaneous thoughts and ideas around my relationship to my material of choice:

It is a material of the dis-enfranchised – children, drag-artistes, the poor

Reflects fractured image/multitude of images, collects images and light indiscriminately.
Does not attempt to collate, order images/light rather allows/celebrates individual aspects while simultaneously being a single surface – multi-facetted – literally.

distracts/attracts the eye
showy, flashy, brash, camp, cheap, aspirational, referential (jewels)

apes/mimics nature:


Ingenuity to produces something such as glitter – history

Glitter is a material of the poor and disenfranchised, despite occasional appearances as a seasonal trend, an ironic trace of kitch or a knowing nod to camp, its permanent home is amongst children, drag-artistes, second-rate cabaret venues, amateur dramatic groups.

It is the stuff that speaks to aspirations of glamour and riches in nameless suburban housing estates. Purchased in modest quantities in limited colours from newsagents, and since their demise supermarket chains and discount warehouses offering look-a-like brands at a fraction of the price.

It is the stuff of the slightly more expensive bargain boxes of fifty assorted Christmas cards whose envelopes have the quality of newspaper.

It is the stuff primary school teachers bring out to spread delight on rainy autumn afternoons.

It is the stuff left behind with tattered feathers of boas the morning after the excitement of Pride and hen-parties.

It is the stuff of ambition
… of resourcefulness
… of stoicism
… of desperate resistance to greyness
It defies adversity
It offers affordable hope
It gives relief from the tedious and the mundane


Glitter is the stars in the gutter* – it collapses distance and offers immediate, if fleeting, comfort to those of us who are too often denied it.


*We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars – Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere’s Fan.


[I wrote this post in early May but neglected to post it at the time as I was caught up in work, trips, and meetings … ]

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