Shattering impact

Shattering impact
Picking Daisies 2, by Layne Rowe, 2010. Photo by Layne Rowe

Somehow, a glass hand grenade suggests flesh-rending devastation better than a real one, while a glass trombone speaks of airy, zephyr-like tones more than a conventional instrument.

Breath Taking, a new touring exhibition by the Crafts Council, explores the lyrical quality of a material that is capable of suggesting concepts as polar as refined delicacy and brutal violence.

Among 16 new commissions being created for the show are Kate Williams’ replicas of wind instruments. These meticulous pieces are made using a small table-top flame rather than a furnace, and the high level of precision this process allows means that they can actually be played as instruments.

Layne Rowe’s glass grenade Picking Daisies 2 was also created for the exhibition. On first glance this is a highly successful piece that glints dangerously, but on close inspection the grenade is metaphorically defused – and perhaps aesthetically compromised – by a glass daisy.

The barely there aspect of glass is given expression in El Ultimo Grito’s piece, Apartments. The eye is fooled by this piece too, since from a distance it looks like a collection of science lab vessels.

As you approach, tiny staircases appear in the cavities – strangely calling to mind a ghostly version of the luxury hamster home system Rotastack.

Look forward to Breath Taking coming to a town near you during 2011, presenting a variety of thought-provoking glass works that tread a fine line between conceptual art and traditional craft.

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