I headed down to Sunderland for the first time to go to the Contemporary Glass Society conference. it was definitely a worthwhile visit to the National Glass Center, which I had not been to visit before, in the demo sessions on Saturday afternoon I got to see the water jet cutter in action, and demos in the hotshot and print studios, which were quite interesting. Above is an Erwin Eisch drawing being cut on the water jet, and below is a demo of bringing warmer cut sheet glass into the hotshop for a blowing demo.
The conference was called “Glass Skills”and was about the relationship between art and technique in glass. The first morning’s lectures each focused on one side of the debate, Markku Salo spoke about his development through a traditional Scandinavian factory based career. He was followed by Geoff, who spoke about his approach to using glass. Markku spoke about his love of the material, and his interest in pushing it’s boundaries to see what could be done with glass itself, his career is deeply attached to the material of glass. Geoff’s practice, on the other hand, only makes use of glass when it as a material serves the narrative that he is exploring in a particular project. Conversations of skill and meaning are interesting, and I should at some point make an effort to write about my own feelings about the issue, since it keeps coming up.
The Pecha Kucha event was an interesting exposure to a variety of CGS members work, and the panel on architectural glass that I went to was informative.
Luke Jerram closed the conference, and was fascinating, speaking about his reasons for making the glass viruses, which were fascinating, and telling us about a number of his other projects, from placing pianos in many different cities for the public to play, to creating a sky orchestra on hot air balloons. It was an inspiring and thought provoking way to end the weekend.