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Thursday, 30 August 2012

Glass Heap Challenge

I've been at the International Festival of Glass in Stourbridge near Birmingham. Since going to Pilchuck Glass School last summer I've been learning about the glass world. This festival is every 2 years and hosts a Biennale of contemporary British studio glass. I was lucky enough to take part in the first Glass Heap Challenge organised by artist Matt Durran.  In teams of three, seven teams attempted to make something from the discarded glass off cuts etc that had been donated to the project.

We named our team Accidental Assemblage and my team mates were glass artists Scott Benefield and Andrea Spencer. We'd all agreed that we couldn't plan much other than to bring some useful tools and materials - we wanted to do something different from our normal way of working and see what the scrap suggested. We chose these blue sheets with a hole missing and by overlaying them could create a stronger, denser sheet to play with. We added some lens type discs for variety. Somehow we decided to make a folding screen with glass hinges and a guttering system of bottles sawn in half lengthways - thanks to the Hungarian team's disc saw! the idea came from collecting rainwater.

The tiny orange blobs on the top corners were sugru, used to cover the sharp corners.

We found that if the water ran fast it could over-shoot the next bottle and if it dribbled it would under-shoot so we added a chain dribble guide inspired by a Japanese system.

We also needed to make a funnel from a bottle above right and we bought a bowl from a charity shop for water collection - we returned this to the same shop at the end of the Festival. Visitors to the show enjoyed pouring the water and the sound of it's journey made it more poetic than we'd planned.

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