Trusting the Body. Colour pattern making in glass inspired by Lithyalin glass formula.

The glass quality that I work to achieve is opaque or translucent glass with its surface covered with crystals and resembling polished semi-precious minerals, veined with a spectrum of dark contrasting hues. Therefore, my methodology is based on exploration of the technological potential of glass to realise my formal aims. My research in coloured glass concerns the possibility of depicting glass flow by means of the multi-coloured patterns' arrangement.

For the Ancient Egyptians glass was 'iner en wedeh' or 'aat wedhet' - 'stone of the kind that flows’ - liquefiable and brittle, glass is familiar with metals, ceramics and stones as it displays the nature of all of them. In crystals, for instance, different layers of colour reflect nothing more than the course of growth; the happening of time. I consider the progression of folding in glass comparable to chromatic mineral growth under stress. In my view, the glass material allows reconsideration of the processes similar to that of the crystals’ formation but in a limited amount of time.

I constantly search for the appropriate practical modes of gesture in order to ‘align’ my body with the movement of the glass flow and my formal aim is to make the object's topography mirror the repertoire of artistic gestures. Apart from fundamental blowing practice, where glass flow is examined directly, the original contribution of this project lies in the application of traditional engraving techniques in which sandstone wheels play a decisive role. During long hours of carving, layer by layer, I discover new motifs and the sculpture's dimensions become illusive, as I follow or work against the object's outlines. These suggest new perspectives of shape, which show the coloured, folded character of the glass flow. This highly mechanical method is in fact close to the activity of painting, as successive approaches to colour build the object's theme.

In our materialist and digital age, awareness of the many sensory dimensions of objects relies on the experience of self primarily as a haptic continuum rather than cerebral recollection. The evolution of the human brain may be linked with the development of the hand as a precision instrument, which extends sensory processes of thinking. With this in mind, to enhance visual and multisensory experience I create hand-sized sculptures, perceived and apprehended through touch in motion.
The main trajectory of my research into glass is colour, which takes control over form and therefore speaks for itself. Molecular solution is colourless – not matter as such – but size and shape, or perhaps particles' motion are the cause and carrier of colour. The Lithyalin colouring glass technique invented by Friedrich Egermann in 1828 is the principal inspiration that pushed my research further. This dichroic phenomenon where olive green facets alternate with those of old rose when held up to the light was first identified in the Lycurgus Cup, probably made in Rome in the IV century AD and currently displayed in the British Museum in London.

The idea that colour may be perceived integrally as a dimensional constituent of form requires the application of 'haptic vision' which was common to ancient Egyptian cognition. In the Ancient Egypt colour was almost synonymous with the idea of substance. Therefore, the subject is enlarged with the research enquiry into the nature of light and colour, and their singular material existence in the glass matrix. Whereas contemporary thinking perceives, the preciousness of gems to be linked to their transparency, which gained value successively with the spread of stained glass, in the Early Middle Ages in Europe all matter was thought to incorporate light. Initially, within this Early Christian tradition, a new light - nova lux, a new notion of luminosity initially found its embodiment through glass mosaics.

At first I focused on a simple method of fusion for glasses with different viscosities, which relates to pâte-de-verre principles developed by the French Art Nouveau artists including Emile Gallé and Almeric Walter (Argy-Rousseau, Décorchemont and the brothers Daum). Subsequently I based my research on recent scientific data concerning colouring formulas of Ancient Egyptian glass production, using raw materials to obtain two background hues for my patterned structures: crimson red ‘dsr’ and indigo ‘hsbd’ vailed with black ‘km’.

My research develops in discourse with my chosen sources (old masters, glassmakers and philosophers) through art-historical study, and through practice, by aspiring to extend their technological investigation. My enquiry draws on the philosophical concepts of Gilles Deleuze in particular those found in The Fold. Leibniz and the Baroque, 1993. Using resemblance as a model, which ‘is equated with what resembles, not with what is resembled’, I apply the idea of ‘the portrait’ in the process of transforming, the material. Unusually, pieces of glass have been passed on to me over the time I have been working with this series of sculptures by the person portrayed. Historically a portrait described a depiction in a wider sense and constituted an intimate relationship of an art object with its subject.