The project making glass panels for inside 5 lifts in York Hospital is moving along now. Panel 1 is a bit of a test panel, and providing it is approved we will then be making another four. This is also a collaboration with Adrian Riley of Electric Angel Design.
A delivery is always an exciting time. Here our sandblasted and painted glass panel arrives from Creative Glass ready for installation. Adrian inspects!
The guys from Rubax Lifts start the installation. Those sucker things are great for lifting glass, although the sandblasted areas make them lose suction so they have to be quick – I was scared!
It’s always good to see a project installed. This first phase needs final approval in relation to use of the lift by people with visual impairments – the fact that we were using reflective glass and mirror was making some people nervous in this respect. We’re confident it will pass the test and are looking forward to making another 4 panels.
The panel is made up of a rear layer of mirror which is almost entirely obscured by sandblasted glass. The mirror adds light and luminosity to the panel. The front glass layer is sandblasted and painted on the back and is also sandblasted on the front giving depth and a multi-layered effect.
Each panel will be based round a species of tree, and this first one is cherry. The text isn’t necessarily meant to be read but gives interesting facts about the cherry tree – it’s origins, how it is propogated etc. The text weaves between the sandblasted layers and so is sharp in some areas and partially obscured in others.
The artwork went down well with folk at the hospital. Adrian and I are pleased with it too. The estates manager, who admitted he was originally opposed any art in the lifts declared it ‘not bad at all’ which apparently is praise indeed!
Yesterday was the first time I actually saw the etched paving, and I must say it looks great! I really like how the etched area shows the curvy bmps of the glass chips which is a nice contrast to the smoothness of the rest of the surface. They glint beautifully in the sunlight too. There have been lots of delays and hitches with this project – sometimes useful (giving a little extra time to do some silvering), sometimes frustrating (waiting for pay day). It is the groundwork preparation that has been slow, which was completely beyond our control. I think the extended snowy winter has had something to do with it. Luckily the health and safety specification problems turned out fine. As the glass strips ae so small no information about load bearing capacity was needed afterall. Saint Gobain Glass, who supplied the glass were extremely helpful though, and can work out load bearing specifications from a drawing. Very impressive.
Anyway, now it is finally happening. We’ve been assembling the recycled glass slabs (supplied by Enviroglass) like a giant jigsaw, which was both fun and good for the biceps! we’re on call all this week for jigsawing the next batch. Of course little hitches are still occuring. Today we found that the top section of the ‘U’ didn’t line up with the bottom section slightly, and there was a bit of a tense moment while we decided if it was far enough out to be worth replacing. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and was in the yes camp, but a broken slab meant we were ordering another one anyway so that was the clincher. We’re re-etching the misaligned U.
The railway public art project is being installed! see the project’s own blog for a full pictorial archive.
Silvering the glass strips that are to be inserted between etched paving slabs proved a little tricky. In the end, it was the rather low temperature of my studio (10 degrees C) that was the problem. A cosy 21 degrees was needed to make the chemical reactions work. A god excuse to whack up the heating! Angel Gilding supplied the silvering kit – it came all the way from the USA!
I could seriously get into this silvering idea. Attempting to silver very thin strips with not much in the way of time or materials to spare was rather stressful but it worked out ok. Square foot coverage of several thin strips is not the same as if they were all one sheet though, so I got through a lot of chemicals! It was fun though, and now they’re being cemented in place as I type. The long thin strips are silvered on 2 sides then embedded in the ground with only 1 clear edge visible. The intention is that the light enters and bounces around giving little strips of luminosity and depth in amongst recycled glass paving etched with signage text and a poem.
The installation of our Old Railway Line public art project has now been put back for a second time – until January! While things were pretty tight schedule-wise, and the first short delay was quite welcome, this does seem a long time to wait.
I’m now on with further research into health and safety issues to do with laying the glass strips into the ground. Our work has to be able to withstand vehicles driving over it, and the contractors need to have proof that the stuff we’re asking them to install complies with health and safety regulations and is fit for purpose. With the etched paving slabs the supplier provides that information. With strips of glass that I’ve water-jet cut and am soon to be silvering it doesn’t seem so straightforward. Hmmm… think I need to give my old tutor a ring – architectural glass artist Cate Watkinson of Watkinson Glass Associates.
Anyway, I had fun water-jet cutting the glass at the University of Sunderland’s Glass dept. (see picture)
A public art project on the Scarborough – Whitby Old Railway Line is my most recent project. Commissioned by Scarborough Borough Council and the Friends of the Old Railway Line this is a joint project with Adrian Riley of Electric Angel Design. The finished artwork will be ground based and will act as both signage and waymarker. Visually the artwork is inpsired by period railway typography with giant lettering and subtle glass inserts within paving made from recycled glass. Poetry by John Wedgewood Clarke is being etched into the surface. We went to the site with John and talked to users of the track in order to generate words and phrases that formed the raw material from which John has written the poem. Progress can be seen on the projects own blog http://www.railwayart.com/ This images shows the scale mock-up in progress.
The project has been a complicated one particularly regarding costings and sourcing materials and services and has taken many hours of sorting! It’s been a steep learning curve but fun nevertheless. It’s also been great working with Electric Angel. It has made me realise I much prefer working with other people. Partnership working here I come!