I was very privileged to be selected along with 11 other local artists, to be involved in the National Glass Centre’s Artist Exchange project in conjunction with Sunderland Culture, this November 2021.There were four different series of workshops including screen printing, flameworking, glass casting and stained glass making. I selected Screen Printing on Glass with glass artist Jade Tapson as I thought that it would fit more with my art
The two day course was extremely intense with many processes and at times I found it very difficult. The first piece I created was a simple glass square panel printed with black enamel. I unwittingly chose a complex dense pattern and my printing was uneven. However, given the choice to wash it off and start again or keep it, I decided to keep my original print attempt, as this seemed more true to the process. Also, there were areas of dark and light which looked like clouds, as well as reminding me of a simple kimono design. On firing, the piece was faulted but it got me thinking and became the inspiration for my Kintsugi audio art and photography project.
Kintsugi – Kintsugi (金継ぎ, “golden joinery”), also known as kintsukuroi (金繕い, “golden repair”) – is an old Japanese technique for repairing objects, which consists of mending the areas of breakage with lacquer mixed, or dusted, with gold powder. Instead of throwing away broken or damaged ceramics, this art gives a second chance to bowls, cups, or vases, which are embellished by this meticulous work. Kintsugi is similar to the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, an embracing of the flawed or imperfect and so one afternoon I used a gold glass pen to highlight the flaws not to hide but to illuminate them. The resulting Kintsugi piece is also flawed as I didn’t use the right materials and my pen needed to be thinner but it does embody this idea of Zen – to see the beauty of things although imperfect.
Whilst at the glass centre I had access to the workshops and corridors, and being primarily an audio artist I recorded as much as I could. General ambiences, glass blowing, machinery, furnaces as well as many of the processes of creating a screen print. From my hours of recordings, I edited short samples and on the theme of Kintsugi, I reimagined an audio scene of an old very busy Japanese glass workshop with a festival outside. I wanted to keep the workshop sounds fairly unprocessed, so I was lucky to find some rhythmic samples of glass cutting, photographic emulsion application, drying box, washing the screens, and glass filing and shaping that seemed to fit.
Many thanks to Jade Tapson whose two days gave me such inspiration both in sound and image. I am creating a Kintsugi part two on the theme of the concept of wabi sabi as a metaphor of resilience – the experience of trauma, to be damaged and then be reborn, more beautiful, and stronger.
Also I am thinking about creating a totally different audio piece about seaweed using glass centre sounds and my own shoreline sounds based on the larger glass panel.
Thanks also go to t-man95 for Oriental Flute sample and Heigh-hoo for nihon_bashi both on Freesound and released under the Creative Commons 0 License.