Glass, my first true love, I absolutely fell in love with the material, the heat and the difficulties that came along with it. My background as a trained glass blower from Orrefors Glass School is something I’m proud of. But the downside for me was a feeling of getting stuck in a technical loop where the training took over and I never found MYSELF in the material. So in the last couple of years I have forced myself to break free from technical norms by exploring other ways to work with glass. I´ve been searching for different keys that could open doors to a personal expression truer to myself. So I slumped, fused and cut window glass, casted hot glass in sand and added paint by airbrush.
During my bachelor I used my material investigations as a method to find an expression that could talk about what my words could not, unwillingly childlessness and infertility. In that work I came deeper into issues of identity, norms of one’s being and existentialism in general. It was a rehabilitation process for myself but also a longing for another way to talk about these very common problems in our society today that is still coated with shame.
When I was in the process during my bachelor I couldn’t really see that it actually was rehabilitating me, it was something that came later, now I can both feel and see in a way what it was. In the hot shop when I sand casted the glass and worked it with my whole body, much of me got transferred into the material. Emotions of anger, sadness, despair and confusion was pushed down in the glass by force and loaded the object. It became my anchor and mirror.
It’s common to use crafting as a method in rehabilitation. But now I’m wondering if glass, or any other crafted material, by observing it, touching it, or being surrounded by it could have rehabilitation purposes or affect. Can the glass work as an emotional catalyst to influence the atmosphere in a space? When you are in a period in life where things are tough almost everyone needs a place to rest and gain energy. For me that pause in life is together with my dog Fritjof in our daily walks in the forest. The church room has also been a place for me to go to, but with nagging feeling of not belonging. So how could a similar place look like, or be, for people in the urban society today?
My interest of rehabilitation spaces made by craft is something that I have enjoyed talking and discussing about with Kristina due to her profession as occupational therapist in palliative care, and how they use craft as a method for rehabilitation. And there a conflict lay between the making and being in. Can it be rehabilitative to see and explore already made handicraft or do you have to be the creator?
So when I came upon the book “Transmission of affect”, 2009 by late Professor in feminist theory, Teresa Brennan it confirmed some of my thoughts. Her book is dealing with the beliefs that emotions and energies of one person or group can be absorbed by, or can enter directly into another. She starts her book with a quote of the familiar phrase “have you ever felt the atmosphere in the room”? The transmission of affect whether it is grief, anger or happiness is social or psychological but the transmission can change the body, some small and brief but some can extend longer. “The atmosphere”, or the environment literally gets into the individual.
Can I then use the knowledge that I have gained from thoughts about the affect and actual transmissions, and how can I transfer this on to my work? As Emeritus Professor Margaret Wetherell explained it in the book Affect and emotions 2000 (a new social science understanding), affect does not need to be contained to the human body itself, it can be referred to objects and how they affect the surrounding and interact with the room.
By using all the qualities that glass has to offer, for example reflectivity with light, color and tactility to trigger our senses as sight and touch then maybe transmissions will occur and create a rehabilitate space?
Two of my previous works was a tent made in Tiffany technique (soldered tin with copper) and the window “Nebula”, with fused and hand painted glass. In The Tent I aimed for creating a room inside the room. I wanted to celebrate the child within, an investigation of changing ones seeing and movement by simply being inside a crafted object. With Nebula, I replace the ordinary window with something different and handmade. It’s not just a blank layer between you and the other side anymore, but emphasize that there is something in between.
With these work pieces I also wanted to put the craft in relation to a public space and investigate the old techniques like tiffany and painted glass that has a low status value in the Swedish glass tradition. I wanted to remove the hobby stamp and instead let them take place in a contemporary context and wash away the hierarchical norms.
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