2 March 2117

Calling all Scientists!

 Do you work in science or have an interest in science, or know a scientist working locally? I'm making a sculpture to represent the striving for scientific understanding.

The artwork will include a composition of hundreds of glass circles, each etched with a fragment of information relating to our understanding of nature.  

I’m after...
  • Images
  • Text
  • Diagrams
  • Formulae 
...that describe nature on any scale, from galaxies to subatomic particles.

These can be widely accepted theories, but I’d love to use ideas from work that is being carried out within the Science Vale

A couple of technical points:
  • I'm using an etch process to make the glass designs.  High-contrast monochrome images work best.
  • The biggest circles are only 5cm diameter, so succinct or representative info is ideal.
  • The quality of the etch is roughly equivalent to paperback book print, so design text should be at least 2mm tall, and very fine lines won't show.
  • JPEG images approx. 1000px would be good, and please indicate what each image is of. 
The best place to submit images is the facebook  page.

There are 600+ circles, so feel free to contribute as many images as you like.

Many thanks!


2 March 2017

Final design for "Reach" sculpture

I’ve made some changes to the Reach sculpture design...the original proposal had a sharp, hard-edged style. 

As I’ve been researching the science theme, I think it’ll be better to take a step on from simple straight-line geometry to something more interesting and relevant.  The refined design is still in keeping with the idea of radiating growth, but now has a curved form which is inspired by the shape of the expanding universe. 

The Big Bang is the origin, and the front edge represents our current point where the expansion is becoming ever more rapid.

The front will be covered in illuminated glass, etched with images, text, formulas and diagrams relating to scientific knowledge.  

These are now in a pattern of circles of varying sizes.  From a distance they make an interesting composition, a bit like a newspaper image viewed through a magnifying glass.

I’ve started making some glass test pieces using transfer-etching onto glass:

It's a balancing act in the kiln to get the layers to fuse together well and to not degrade the image by overheating it.  760°C seems to be the answer.

For the final sculpture I’ll need hundreds of  glass circle designs, and will be appealing to the Science Vale community to contribute!  

2 April 2016

Sketch designs

I've been working with GWP residents and UTC Oxfordshire students as part of my design process for new public artwork at Great Western Park.

From this foundation I've now produced three three initial sculpture designs.

Rather than make a piece that directly represents any one of the great scientific endeavours local to Didcot, the public artwork aims to celebrate the “Science Vale” as a whole.

As an alternative to etched metal, the front surface of the hand could be facets of plate glass, with sandblasted patterns of text and imagery.

Another option is for the surface to be made with thick cast glass panels. Original designs with diagrams, formulae etc. would be made in clay slabs, then reproduced in thick cast glass. Illuminated from within, these would create a spectacular and colourful effect.

Examples of cast glass artworks in my previous public artworks.

Stepping into the sculpture reveals a completely different experience. The top half of the sculpture is internally mirrored, creating a wonderful kaleidoscopic effect.Looking up into the tapering form creates the illusion of a massive globe, of which the sculpture is a fraction of the size, built up from colour with radiating lines of light.

Tapered kaleidoscope test models.

At night the nature of the internal reflections is changed, with a dark “globe”instead of light that responds to the viewer moving and shading the various light sources.

During my sessions at UTC Oxfordshire with students and residents, discussions arose of how the public artwork might represent science as an overall endeavour.

Models from sessions with students and residents at UTC Oxfordshire.

Personally, I find it hugely inspiring that scientists are improving human knowledge, and finding ways to apply this knowledge practically. Whilst any particular scientist or team will be focused on a particular task or theory, they are also part of a network of peers. This network extends internationally as specialisms and branches of science overlap, creating a global expansion of knowledge.

This concept of human understanding improving from the sum of many individual endeavours is what I seek to embody with this design.

Scientists use an array of tools to study nature, and this artwork is all about looking at things in different ways in order to discover their properties.

The idea for this artwork came about during my first session at UTC Oxfordshire, as one student tried different compositions with her crystal design.  Another participant’s study of a DNA molecule is also very much in keeping with the overall concept.

All the students’ artworks were inspired by local science centres, with particularly strong visual prompts from the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy and Diamond Light Source.

So those are my initial ideas, and if you have any comments or ideas, I would love to hear them.

All being well, over the next few weeks we will finalise a location and which will enable me to start working out a detailed sculpture design.

26 January 2016

Professor Brian Cox at UTC Oxfordshire Opening

Rachel Barbaresi and I attended the official opening of UTC Oxfordshire.  Although we'd already worked here with students and residents, it was still good to get "the official tour" and see some more of their shiny new facilities and equipment.

Their keynote speaker was Professor Brian Cox  who gave an inspiring talk on the universe, physics and engineering that resonated and sparked with both our arty projects at Great Western Park.

Pluto-particle-physics-dark-matter-expansion artwork anyone?

26 November 2015

Community engagement

So that’s my initial round of community engagement complete.  It’s been fascinating and inspiring, with amazing visits and wonderful creativity.  Thank you.

And a special thank you to UTC Oxfordshire for not only being so hospitable and supportive of my work with their students, but for also providing space for my sessions with GWP residents.

My job now is to develop sketch designs for a public art installation using the research and ideas from the work I’ve done at GWP over the past 6 months.

In the coming weeks I’ll share these initial ideas online for feedback, and I would hope to work with all the groups again as the final design evolves.

Thanks again for all your support and interest so far, and I’ll keep you posted.

19 November 2015

W.I. session: projected light

Today I worked with Rachel and the Great Western Park W.I. group at the Northern Neighbourhood Community Centre, building on the “Projected Light” theme.

Here are some photos of the evening:

 Some great ideas and good discussion too.

UTC Oxfordshire: digital projections

Earlier today I worked again with UTC Students, this time creating simple animations.  Up to this point we’d mostly used the digital projectors only as a light source.  The students now made digital animations to be projected into theatrical mist.  The mist highlights the projected rays of light, and animated lines and curves become 3D forms in space.  For example, a projected circle becomes a cone, a projected line appears as a wall of light.

Here’s a short example of a student’s animation:

The shapes in the mist are wonderful, but it’s magical when you stand inside the projected image facing towards the source –  like you’re in a colourful tunnel of light.  Straight lines appear as walls:

  Pixelated curves look like strings of light: