Nature Reflected | Film Blog

19 April 2023

This May, The Scottish Gallery presents Nature Reflected, an exhibition featuring five glass artists who each celebrate the natural world.

The exhibition features engraved work by Katharine Coleman and Nancy Sutcliffe, alongside lampwork by Emma Bourke and constructed sculptural pieces by Juli Bolaños-Durman and Choi Keeryong.

KATHARINE COLEMAN

Katharine Coleman studied engraving techniques with Peter Dreiser 1984-6 and in 2009 she was awarded an MBE for services to glass engraving. She engraves on clear lead crystal forms, overlaid with coloured glass, blown to her design. Once blown and annealed, the top surface of the glass is cut and polished to allow one to see inside the piece, which is then engraved. The engraved decoration reflects and refracts onto the inner surface, creating an illusion of one body floating inside another. The inspiration for her work ranges from natural history to the modern urban landscapes.

‘Equisetum arvense or ‘horsetails’ is a beautiful plant species belonging to an ancient family of ferns that reproduce by spores rather than seeds, the last survivor of a genus, varieties of which were prolific in the understorey of the late Paleozoic forests, also abundant in coal deposits of the Carboniferous period; but this particular type first appeared in the Jurassic period. A true living fossil of great beauty, growing in clumps, which is why I chose this thick-walled vase that duplicates the outside stems inside.’

Find out more about Katharine’s process in the V&A film below.

CHOI KEERYONG

Originally from South Korea, Choi Keeryong came to Britain to complete a Master of Design at Edinburgh College of Art and in 2010, continued to embark on a PhD in Glass and Architectural Glass. Keeryong has exhibited widely across the UK whilst investigating the similarities and differences between cultural groups in terms of their aesthetic perceptions of visual experiences, particularly in relation to unfamiliar materials and surface imagery.

‘My artistic approach is inspired by my personal experiences of being in-between-ness in terms of my current cultural location.’

Choi shares more on his experience as Korean living in the UK as well as his creative practice and process in this short film from Craft Scotland below.

NANCY SUTCLIFFE

'I became a glass engraver after a career as a scientific and medical illustrator. I find I have come full circle, and my subject matter today is informed by that training in precision and attention to naturalistic detail. I use a hand held drill in much the same way as I used to use a pencil, though now using diamonds and stones I am able to carve deeply into the crystal bringing the illusion of 3D. The addition of gilding has become a characteristic of my current work – precious metal leaf in rich patterns inspired by my time living in the middle east.'

Nancy Sutcliffe is a graduate of North Staffordshire Polytechnic, Stoke-on-Trent, where she graduated in Design in 1979 and displayed an exceptional talent for drawing. Working as a medical and technical illustrator after graduating, and later as a freelance illustrator, it wasn’t until 1994 that she began working with glass – initially as a glass painter. In 2004 she attended a short engraving course at West Dean College taught by Tracey Sheppard, which in turn led Nancy to specialise in glass engraving. Engraving, gilding and painting are the key elements in her artistic practice, and she uses these techniques in various combinations to produce her work.

Enjoy this short film below of Nancy creating a drill engraved and gilded bee. 5 hours work in 3 minutes!

JULI BOLAÑOS-DURMAN

Juli Bolaños-Durman studied at Veritas University, San José before undertaking an MFA in glass at Edinburgh College of Art in 2011.

'The primary theme within my creative process is the exploration of preciousness and how intuitive play jumpstarts the creation of new ideas within the studio practice. Preciousness is not only the value or quality of the materials themselves but more so the journey of transformation they represent. I find myself favouring and treasuring objects that act as storytellers and constitute experiences that are a link to emotional connections.'

Juli’s eye for play and finding treasure in everything is highlighted in the film below, by Lukas Svoboda and Josef Valenta.

EMMA BOURKE

Based in Westport, Co. Mayo, Ireland, Emma Bourke graduated with a BDes Glass from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin in 2009.

She is interested in tangible relationships to history, mythology, and folklore. Her work pushes the technical boundaries of lampworking, and her new work is based on the definition of Biophilia; the innate human tendency to seek connections with nature. Emma has created enclosed gardens of wild plants that have many traditional and contemporary uses.

‘I’m interested in the symbiotic relationship between people and plants, from seed migration to cultivation to medicinal uses; from local to global contexts. Speedwell is a good example, while this pretty blue flower is said to be a ‘cure-all’ it is mainly used as an expectorant for respiratory problems, stomach ailments and skin irritants. I took a scientific approach when creating the petals and branches in glass, to scrutinise the physicality, scale and fragility of the original plant.’

Find out more about Emma’s process and inspirations in the Design & Crafts Council Ireland film below.

Visit us and explore the wonders of Nature Reflected from 4-27 May 2023.

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