Rock Blossoms – Glassy Ideas Emerging from Fertile Ground

Glass is the first man made material, combining sand (silica, SiO2), soda (Na2O, as a flux) and lime (CaO, as chemical stabiliser) with fire, creating a medium with new properties – amorphous, transparent and recyclable.

Alchemists had a symbol for glass – infinity over an inverted cross – which can translate to an infinite resurrection. This is to say that the broken bottle can be melted down and blown out as a bottle again and again…

The raw materials for glass production are near limitless as the main constituent, sand or silica, makes up most of the Earth’s surface. It’s the crust we stand on, in which plants grow, the basins in which our oceans ebb and flow.

Glass is possibly the fundamental substance catapulting human knowledge and understanding of the world we inhabit, currently and well into the future.

You are most probably reading these words on a glass screen…

Rock Blossoms

Rocks and stones, in particular sandstone from the Magaliesberg complex, have become a key part in my work. These “natural readymades” are symbolic of Earth, our planet, place of origin and home. I love the visual gravity associated with stone, something that earths us (I couldn’t resist) and a random uniqueness, as not one stone is the same as another, yet all are familiar.

Erosion through natural processes crumble boulders into stones and stone into sand. It is this sand which, through our ingenuity (or blind luck as Pliny wants us to believe), we turned into the most versatile material known to man – glass.

Apart from contemporary industrial uses such as touchscreen smartphones, fibre-optic communication and skyscraper windows we still use age old techniques where hands shape glass into sculptural objects of intrigue and beauty.

Rock Bulb

Rock Blossoms are a tribute to the rich history of glass and its origins. I am intentionally appropriating detritus of naturally formed readymades, such as sandstone, and combine them with hand shaped and cut glass motifs to tell a story of growth, of ideas that are shaping themselves from fertile ground steeped in history and geology.

Chrystal Bloom #2
Crystal Bloom

For the exhibition In the Forests of the Night at Circa on Jellicoe I was afforded an opportunity to explore this concept further. The context of a botanically inspired show opened possibilities to combine blown glass with my forte of cold work (cut and polished glass) into sculptural delights emerging from stone…

It is exciting to continue on this path, developing ideas rooted in fertile ground, growing…

We come from the Earth and we will return to the Earth. It’s this short blip of a moment we have on this Earth which should be used to its fullest, to grow and be beautiful for each other and with each other.

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