Dale Chihuly – astounding glass art

I am surprised I was not aware of this artist until now.

The glass art pieces he creates, alone and in collaboration with others, are simply stunning. They are everything I am imagining my Harena Now work could be.

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©Chihuly. 2017. Ikebana Glass on Glass Painting, 40 x 30″

His website is an inspiration. The pieces he and his teams create from glass are awe-inspiring; intricate, eccentric and certainly show stopping.

I have been drawn, in particular, to his glass on glass work as it seems to be reminiscent of the results I get when I make my work with sand (click through to Vimeo to see how its made).

Chihuly Glass on Glass from Chihuly Studio on Vimeo.

Ethically, Harena Now exists to raise awareness about the human overuse of sand, particularly in the construction industry, and to encourage new ways of creating sustainability of this resource.

So how do I reconcile my own potential use of a resource that is not infinite. I want my final installations, made from my camera-less images that are made by sand and to be displayed at coastal locations, to be created in glass. I want them to be as stunning as Chihuly’s work and stop people in their tracks so that the underlying message can be shared. But I also need to be able to recycle them; to return them to sand.

One of the benefits of sand in the creation of glass is that it can be recycled, with certain restrictions, again and again.

According to the British Glass website:

Making new glass from recycled glass uses much less energy than using raw materials.  The energy saving from recycling just one bottle will power one of the following:

  • A computer for 25 minutes.
  • A colour TV for 20 minutes.
  • A washing machine for 10 minutes.

Every household in the UK uses on average 331 bottles and jars each year.  If the average household recycled all their glass, enough energy would be saved to power one of the following activities:

  • A computer for 5 days.
  • A colour TV for nearly 4.5 days or 210 episodes of Coronation Street.
  • A washing machine for 2.5 days.

Fab stats to encourage recycling.

But coloured glass cannot be mixed. So how will I recycle my coloured photographic glass work?

The famous Glass Beach in California, and now a beach in Russia, have become tourist spots despite years of glass being dumped on them. Not sure I will be simply leaving my work where I install it.

And there are bottle companies turning their bottles back into sand in seconds too.

beer-bottle-sand-1

And others who say their recycling techniques for glass that can’t be reused can create ‘sand’ for construction purposes.

The more I learn about how sand is used and how it is being recycled is fascinating. But I do need to know that if I am able to create my final work in the way I wish to that I can definitely recycle it back into sand that can be used to replenish beaches where needed. I will address this over the festive break.

References

Online

Baynes, Chris. 2017. ‘Stunning pictures show ‘glass beach’ where nature has transformed discarded booze bottles into kaleidoscopic gems’.  The Mirror. Available at: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/stunning-pictures-show-glass-beach-9723375 [accessed December 4, 2017]

Chihuly, Dale. Available at: https://www.chihuly.com/ [accessed December 4, 2017]

The Conversation. ‘The World is Facing a Global Sand Crisis’. Available at: https://theconversation.com/the-world-is-facing-a-global-sand-crisis-83557 [accessed December 4. 2017]

British Glass. ‘Glass is Infinitely Recyclable’. Available at: https://www.britglass.org.uk/infinitely-recyclable [accessed December 4, 2017]

Let’s Recycle. Available at: https://www.letsrecycle.com/prices/glass/ [accessed December 4, 2017]

Images:

Nudd, Tim. 2017. ‘Brewer Crushes Beer Bottles Into Sand to Save New Zealand’s Beaches in ‘Brewtroleum’ Sequel’. Ad Week. Available at: http://www.adweek.com/creativity/brewer-crushes-beer-bottles-into-sand-to-save-new-zealands-beaches-in-brewtroleum-sequel/#/ [accessed December 4, 2017]